Thursday, May 10, 2012

Plumbing Wisconsin electoral history

Craig Gilbert reported in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
"It has been 60 years since a candidate for governor got as many votes in a Wisconsin primary as Republican Scott Walker did Tuesday.

"And it’s been 60 years since turnout in a gubernatorial primary was as high as it was Tuesday."
Those sixty-year-old numbers are striking.
"In 1952, Gov. Walter Kohler got 699,082 votes running unopposed in a Republican primary. (He would defeat future Sen. Bill Proxmire in the general election that year).

"Kohler’s vote total represented 31% of the state’s voting-age population at the time. Walker’s vote Tuesday [626,538] represents 14.4% of the state’s 2011 voting-age population.

"Wisconsin’s overall turnout Tuesday was 1,316,736, or 30.3% of the state’s 2011 voting-age population."
Also in 1952, incumbant Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy won his primary with 515,481 votes, 67.89% of 759,273 cast. (Using these and Mr. Gilbert's figures, that Republican Senate primary vote represented almost 34% of the voting-age population.) Kohler defeated Proxmire for Governor again in 1954, but lost to him in the 1957 special election for the remainder of McCarthy's Senate term.

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