Wisconsin primary election 2022 coverage: Vos calls Gableman 'an embarrassment', democratic socialist elected in Milwaukee suburb

·13 min read

Wisconsinites are heading to the polls Aug. 9 for the 2022 partisan primary election. On the ballot are primary races for governor, senator and congress as well as some county-wide races. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Follow along here for live coverage all day.

RELATED: 2022 Wisconsin election results

Mark Chambers and Jerel Ballard advance in Milwaukee District 2 race

Mark Chambers Jr. and Jerel Ballard will go head-to-head in November for the Milwaukee District 2 aldermanic seat vacated by Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

The pair survived Tuesday’s special primary election while Keyellia Morries came in third place.

Chambers received 983 votes to Ballard’s 371 in the race for the northwest side district.

-- Alison Dirr

Socialism set to make a return to the Wisconsin statehouse

Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy has conceded his race in the 10th Assembly District to democratic socialist Darrin Madison, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that with only Milwaukee absentee ballots remaining he doesn’t see a path forward.

Madison is currently leading by 1,056 votes with only the Milwaukee absentee ballots left to count.

Madison received the support of U.S. Rep Gwen Moore, State Sen. Chris Larson, and the current seat holder State Rep. David Bowen, among others. Bowen told the crowd at the Madison event that Kennedy conceded.

For Kennedy, it is another failed bid for office after previously attempting to run for Milwaukee County Executive and Wisconsin’s 5th congressional district.

“The residents of Glendale did support me overwhelmingly in this race, like they have in past races and I'm looking forward to continuing to serve them … until 2024,” Kennedy said.

Madison’s fellow democratic socialist Ryan Clancy won his election in the 19th Assembly District. Clancy ran unopposed and both Madison and Clancy don’t have a Republican opponent, so it is all but certain they will win in November, making them the first open socialists in the state legislature in decades.

“I'm committed to fighting against capitalism to ensure that we are fighting for equity for working class citizens,” Madison told the Journal Sentinel.

— Drake Bentley

Robin Vos calls Michael Gableman 'an embarrassment'

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who narrowly won a primary Tuesday night, called Michael Gableman, the man he hired to investigate the 2020 presidential election, “an embarrassment.”

Despite Vos hiring Gableman well over a year ago and paying him over $11,000 a month, the former Wisconsin Supreme Court judge endorsed Vos’ primary challenger Adam Steen in the District 63 assembly race just as former President Donald Trump did.

Gableman turned on Vos and backed Steen and not Vos, who said he wouldn't decertify the results of the 2020 election.

Vos said Tuesday that the Republican-led assembly will meet soon to decide whether Gableman will continue with the investigation.

Vos has continued to renew Gableman's contract even though the review has not revealed any evidence of significant fraud or new facts related to the election not previously known.

The probe has surpassed $1 million in costs.

Opposing parties buy satirical websites for Barnes, Johnson

Both Democrats and Republicans were quick to post satirical websites criticizing the two finalists for the U.S. Senate.

First, the state Republican Party posted that it had bought mandelabarnesforsenate.com, featuring a picture of Barnes holding up a controversial "Abolish ICE" T-shirt. Barnes has said he does not want to eliminate the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, despite the photo.

Not long after, Democrats pointed out that they had bought senatorronjohnson.com. The section under "Ron's story" begins, "Hello, all. I'm pathological liar, Ron Johnson. Where do we begin?!" Yeah, you get the idea. In case you're wondering, only 91 days till the general election.

--Daniel Bice 

Milwaukee's outstanding absentee ballots will all be counted tonight

Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson expects the 28,143 outstanding absentee ballots from the city of Milwaukee will be tallied in an hour or so. The city counts its absentee ballots at a central count location and reports them all at once.

Absentee ballots from other municipalities also remained outstanding about 9:15 p.m.

Which Milwaukee County communities have reported their absentee ballot results can be found here.

Christenson’s office is also livestreaming election results here.

--Alison Dirr

Donovan defeats Karst in 84th Assembly District primary

Bob Donovan, who was crushed in his bid for Milwaukee mayor earlier this year, has defeated Milwaukee County Republican Party Chairman David Karst in the Republican primary for the 84th Assembly District. With 28 of 33 precincts counted, Donovan had nearly 75% of the vote while Karst trailed with 19%. Donovan owns houses in Milwaukee and Greenfield. He ran for Milwaukee mayor using his Milwaukee address, and he used the address for his Greenfield condo for the Assembly contest. Donovan will take on Democratic candidate Lu Ann Bird in the November general election.

--Daniel Bice

Dem candidates in the Western Wisconsin House race await results

The Democrats vying to take over retiring Congressman Ron Kind’s seat in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District picked similar watch party venues.

State Sen. Brad Pfaff, Kind’s endorsed candidate, is hosting supporters at Bodega Brew Pub in La Crosse. Deb McGrath, whose father previously represented the district in Congress, is at Houligans Steak & Seafood Pub in Eau Claire. And Rebecca Cooke, who boasts the most labor endorsements in the race, is at Labor Temple union hall in Eau Claire.

Earlier in the day, Pfaff voted in Onalaska and Cooke delivered coffee and donuts to union workers.

McGrath in a Twitter post recalled spending election nights with her father, Al Baldus.

“Today, as voters across the district turn out, I’m remembering the election days we spent as a family nearly 50 years ago — knocking on doors in the morning before coming together over a pot of stew.”

Shortly after polls closed, Pfaff thanked his challengers for running “an issue-focused campaign.”

“Regardless of the results, it’s been great getting to know each of you, and I’m looking forward to making sure we keep Derrick Van Orden as far away from Congress as possible!,” he said in a tweet.

--Lawrence Andrea

Ron Johnson blasts Mandela Barnes

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson wasted little time in blasting his likely Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

Even before the Democratic race was officially called, Johnson issued a statement in which he criticized Barnes, the media and Democratic elites “who want to ‘fundamentally transform’ America.

Johnson declared: “Unfortunately, now we all know what that means: Open borders, forty year high inflation, record gas prices, rising crime, the indoctrination of our children, and a baby formula shortage. Regardless of how Mandela Barnes and his allies in the mainstream media attempt to paint his views, Wisconsinites should not believe a word they say. The Lieutenant Governor will support all the destructive policies of President Biden and his enablers in Congress. This is a contest between radical left socialism versus freedom and prosperity. It will also pit the lies and distortions of Democrats and the media versus the truth.”

-- Bill Glauber

Family friends among early arrivals at Barnes victory party

Rhonda Crosby has known Mandela Barnes his entire life.

“He’s a hard worker, a go-getter,” said Crosby, a friend of the Barnes family who was among the early arrivals at the Barnes victory party.

Crosby and others who have known the family for years were excited to see Barnes achieve a milestone: an expected Democratic primary victory to earn a place in the Nov. 8 general election against Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

“He knows what he wants and knows what needs to be done,” said Wynfred Brown, another longtime friend of the Barnes family.

Cynthia Finnie agreed, praising Barnes and his parents, whom she called “very supportive.”

— Bill Glauber

It's still 2020 at Kleefisch HQ

Much of the Republican primary for governor has revolved around 2020 and Election Night in 2022 is no different.

Campaign officials for Rebecca Kleefisch accidentally labeled press credentials Aug. 9, 2020 — an honest mistake but a reminder that we are still living in 2020 politics.

East side Milwaukee polling place has been 'steady, with little pockets of busy'

Mario Johnson with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has been a poll worker at the Riverview Apartments, 1300 E Kane Pl., on Milwaukee's east side for five years. He says turnout Tuesday has been about the same for previous elections, saying traffic has been "steady, with little pockets of busy" since 7 a.m.

One voter, Ashley Wiesmann, said she had to register to vote, which "took a little bit of time, but not bad," adding that the most important issue to her is women's reproductive rights. She said she will be returning to the polls in November.

— Drake Bentley

Barnes poised for victory party at The Cooperage

The stage is set at the Cooperage for Mandela Barnes' poised win of the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
The stage is set at the Cooperage for Mandela Barnes' poised win of the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.

It should be an early night for Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who will officially gain the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

With his three top rivals pulling out of the race in the last week of July and endorsing his candidacy, Barnes won’t have to wait long to be declared the winner after the polls close at 8 p.m.

And Barnes is likely to take the stage quickly at his victory party at The Cooperage in Walker’s Point.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is expected to introduce Barnes, who will quickly plunge into the fall campaign against Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

The Barnes-Johnson race is among the most closely watched this fall, with control of the U.S. Senate at stake.

Earlier Tuesday, Barnes voted at GreenTree Preparatory Academy and then spent several hours at the Wisconsin State Fair.

— Bill Glauber

Turnout at Brookfield East a 'little heavier than expected'

Afternoon practice for marching band and football are in full swing at Brookfield East High School. Inside, one administrator said that turnout has been robust.

Stacey Buerosse and her husband, both of Brookfield, voted in the Democratic primary. There are fewer marquee primary races on the Democratic ballot, but Buerosse said supporting public education was her top issue.

— Isaac Yu

New Berlin sees steady stream of voters

More than 1,200 ballots have already been cast at New Berlin Public Library by mid-afternoon, about on-par with previous primaries. In a change from last year, mail-in ballots are being processed here and at each of six other polling sites in this Republican-friendly suburb, rather than at a central location.

Linda Szolwinski of New Berlin showed up at the library to vote for Michels, citing his business background and ability to self-finance his campaign. She said she believes Michels would be the most competitive candidate to face Evers in November.

— Isaac Yu

Kleefisch, Michels weigh in on FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago

Wisconsin Republican governor candidates Rebecca Kleefisch and Tim Michels expressed anger over news Monday that FBI agents searched the residence of former President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago.

In an interview with reporters after voting Tuesday, Kleefisch said she found the search "shocking and unprecedented."

"I'm following it the same as you all this morning," Kleefisch said. "I have not seen any new developments. I remain shocked by what I saw and what I'm hearing. I sure hope the president and his family are OK."

Michels, who was endorsed by Trump, said in a tweet Monday night, that the search was a "political witch hunt."

"Republicans in Wisconsin are far too familiar with overzealous prosecutors. Elections have consequences. Vote."

Michels tweeted again Tuesday after voting.

"We woke up this morning to stakes even higher than we ever thought. Do we want a government of the people or a government targeting the people? Your vote today is the first step in fighting back. That’s what I just did."

— Corrinne Hess

Some Wauwatosa voters moved to different polling places

There were no lines to vote at the Wauwatosa City Hall Tuesday mid-morning. Voters shuffled in and out within a few minutes. However, some of the Wauwatosa wards changed since the last election and a few people had to go to a different polling place to cast their votes.

Lainey Seyler

Voters begin to trickle in at Oak Creek polling site

At American Legion Post 434 on South Shepard Avenue in Oak Creek, residents trickled in after the polls opened. More than 20 ballots were cast in the first hour of voting. The polling site was slightly understaffed with only one person to handle new registrations. Poll workers are expecting a low turnout but higher than the spring elections.

Ricardo Torres

Here's what you need to vote and where to go

You must bring identification to register and to vote. An ID must include a photo unless it was issued under religious exemption. Eligible forms of ID include:

  • Wisconsin driver's license, unexpired or expired.

  • Wisconsin DOT-issued ID card, unexpired or expired.

  • Military ID card, unexpired or expired.

  • U.S. passport, unexpired or expired.

  • ID issued by federally recognized Indian tribe, unexpired or expired.

  • Limited types of student ID.

  • Current veteran's ID

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters must vote at the polling location assigned based on their residential address. You can use the Wisconsin Election Commission's website at myvote.wi.gov and input your address to find your polling location. There are 180 polling locations in the city of Milwaukee, with dozens of others in Milwaukee County.

If you have already requested and received an absentee ballot but were unable to mail it, you can drop off the ballot curbside at City Hall between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Staff will be on the corner of Market Street and Kilbourn Avenue.

Ballots can also be submitted at the absentee voting central processing location between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. at 1901 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Each voter is required to turn in their own ballot unless they require assistance due to a disability. Find more information about resources for voters with disabilities through Disability Rights Wisconsin at https://disabilityvote.org/.

Isaac Yu and Alison Dirr

Who's on the ballot?

The highest profile primaries are for U.S. Senate and for Governor. Gov. Tony Evers is the Democratic incumbent and Sen. Ron Johnson is the Republican incumbent. There are also competitive races for attorney general, secretary of state, lieutenant governor and treasurer.

Wisconsin's seven congressional representatives are also on the ballot as well as the state assembly and some state senate seats. There are also handful of county races throughout the state.

More: How, where and when you can vote for Wisconsin’s August primary election and who is on the ballot

Contact Lainey Seyler at (414) 224-2863 or lainey.seyler@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lainey_seyler.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin primary election 2022: Robin Vos hammers Michael Gableman