Deja vu all over again

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff


Leibham-Grothman too close to call in 6th Congressional race, recount could be possible; Vorpagel wins tight three-way GOP 27th Assembly race Leibham-Grothman too close to call in 6th Congressional race, recount could be possible; Vorpagel wins tight three-way GOP 27th Assembly race Joe Leibham is getting used to close races.

The Sheboygan Republican, who survived a recount to win his state Senate seat in 2002, closed his 6th Congressional District Republican primary race with state Sen. Glenn Grothman to recount-thin status Tuesday, trailing by only 215 votes out of more than 60,000 votes in unofficial totals.

In the 27th Assembly District, Tyler Vorpagel – a former aid to Rep. Tom Petri – emerged a narrow winner in a three-way Republican race with Sheboygan Alderman Darryl Carlson and former Plymouth Alderperson Jackie Jarvis.

Vorpagel tallied 2,533 votes in the district, which includes the northern half of Sheboygan County and a slice of southern Manitowoc County.

Carlson was 264 votes behind him at 2,269 and Jarvis totaled 2,112. Vorpagel had 36.6 percent of the unofficial vote total to 32.8 percent for Carlson and 30.6 percent for Jarvis.

Vorpagel will face Democrat Scott Grover Heining of Plymouth in the Nov. 4 general election. The seat opened when incumbent Republican Steve Kestell of Elkhart Lake announced he would not run for re-election.

In the 26th Assembly District, which includes the city of Sheboygan Falls, the southern part of the city of Sheboygan, and the towns of Holland, Lima, Sherman and Wilson, Oostburg banker and former Village Board and School Board member Terry Katsma overwhelmed Job Hou- Seye of Sheboygan in the Republican primary with 5,851 votes to 685.

Katsma will face Democrat Terry Van Akkeren, who held the seat from 2003 to 2011.

In the 59th Assembly District, which includes the towns of Greenbush, Lyndon, Mitchell, Russell and Scott in Sheboygan County, Kewaskum businessman Jesse Kremer won a four-way Republican primary race.


Voting was steady but not too heavy Tuesday at Plymouth’s City Hall in the primary election to set the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner Voting was steady but not too heavy Tuesday at Plymouth’s City Hall in the primary election to set the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner Kremer got 39 percent of the vote (2,387 votes) to finish ahead of Calumet County Supervisor Ralph Prescott of Chilton (1,477 votes, 24 percent), Kewaskum School Board President Timothy Ramthun (1,467 votes, 24 percent) and Hartford School Board member Bill Savage (854 votes, 14 percent).

No Democrat filed to run for the seat, which is being vacated by incumbent Republican Daniel LeMahieu, so Kremer should win the seat in November.

Leibham gave up the 9th District Senate seat he won in 2002 after a recount confirmed his victory over Democrat Jim Baumgart to run for the House seat that opened when Petri, the Fond du Lac Republican, declined to run for re-election. Petri first won the seat in 1979 in a special election and had won re-election in the Republican-leaning district every two years since then.

Grothman, 20th District state senator, moved from West Bend to Campbellsport earlier this year to mount a challenge to Petri.

Grothman held a lead of 4,000 to 5,000 votes through much of late Tuesday night, which led the Associated Press to declare him the winner of the race around 11 p.m.

But that was with less than 90 percent of the vote counted, and with a large number of Manitowoc and Sheboygan County votes still uncounted.

Those were areas which Leibham had represented in the state Senate for three terms, and his strength there enabled him to pull to within 215 total votes of Grothman, with Grothman at 23,241 votes and Leibham at 23,026.

That translated to 36.17 percent of the vote for Grothman and

35.84 percent for Leibham. That falls below the .5 percent threshold under state law which allows a candidate to seek a recall at no cost to the candidate.

The Associated Press retracted its declaration of Grothman as winner of the race shortly after noon Wednesday.

State Rep. Duey Stroebel of Saukville finished third in the field with 15,867 and Tom Denow of Oshkosh finished fourth with 2,115 votes.

Vote counts do not become official until reviewed and certified by the Boards of Canvassers in the various counties, which will take place later this week or early next week.

After that, a recount would begin. Leibham had not indicated by Wednesday morning if he would ask for a recount.

Whoever eventually wins the Republican nod will face Democrat Mark Harris of Oshkosh, the Winnebago County county executive, in November.


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