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The man whose Senate seat is up for grabs this election year is urging whoever succeeds him, regardless of political party, to support community health clinics for low-income people.
There was no shortage of “good jobs” to staff when Sen. Kohl visited the Lake Superior Community Health Center. “Community health centers are really important. They provide enormous services at either prices that are affordable or at no cost to people who otherwise wouldn’t get served,” the senator said.
Lake Superior Community Health Center Director Mavis Brehm says there are few health centers like this one in the Midwest, and he thanks Kohl for his help. “We’re very happy for the dollars that have come to both to Wisconsin."
Kohl is retiring after 24 years in the upper chamber. He says whoever succeeds him in January, Democrat or Republican, they should realize the importance of these health centers. “There’s no doubt that whoever is in office in the...

State Rep. Mark Pocan defeated a crowded field of fellow Democrats Tuesday in the primary for the 2nd Congressional District seat.
It was good night for Mark Pocan, on what was also his 48th birthday. The longtime state representative from Madison soundly defeated three Democratic challengers to win his party's primary. Pocan said, "I am extremely honored tonight to be the Democratic nominee for the 2nd Congressional District. I am really proud that we ran a positive campaign based on our progressive values and on accomplishing real results."
Pocan defeated entrepreneur Dennis Hall, attorney Matt Silverman, and his fellow state representative Kelda Helen Roys in the race to replace Tammy Baldwin, who left the seat to run for the U.S. Senate.
The race became a little heated between Roys and Pocan, with some Democrats accusing Roys of going negative. She said Tuesday night after her defeat that the party is united. "You know politics ain't bean bags,...

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson has won the Republican Senate primary in Wisconsin, setting up a November contest against Democrat Tammy Baldwin.
Thompson only won about one-third of the Republican ballots, but that was enough to defeat second place finisher Eric Hovde by about 18,000 votes. At a noisy victory gathering, Thompson told reporters he is in the Senate contest to help ease the burden of the national debt on future generations. He said, "I don't need anything on my record. I've done all that. I want to save this country."
Some Republicans say it was spending choices made by Thompson as governor, and later as federal Health and Human Services secretary, that added to the government red ink. Now Thompson is trying to align himself with much younger GOP leaders like Congressman Paul Ryan, who say they share the debt concerns.
As Thompson tries to win in November, he also will need help from older Republican voters,...

It’s Tommy versus Tammy, an alliterative race for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin this fall. Marquette University political scientist Amber Wichowski speaks with WPR's Terry Bell about the GOP primary results.

Former prosecutor Susan Sommer defeated UW geology professor Lisa Theo Tuesday for the right to take on Republican Assemblyman Tom Tiffany in a crucial northwoods state Senate district.
Attorney Susan Sommer defeated Lisa Theo by more than 20 points to become the Democrat's standard bearer in an effort to hang on to a district that may determine control of the state Senate. The district's boundaries have been redrawn to make it more Republican, which should favor Assemblyman Tom Tiffany according to political pundits. Democrat Sommer disagrees, “There are many people, and they're not just Democrats, who do not think that Tom Tiffany would be the best person to represent us. The partisan politics is dividing our state and it's polarizing our communities. It's such a disservice.”
At a tavern outside Tomahawk, Lisa Theo's supporters watched the returns come in. Theo lost despite snagging most of the endorsements from Democratic groups and labor unions. She agreed with Sommer that...

Talk of the Nation

The Republican ticket is complete now that Mitt Romney chose Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. NPR's Ken Rudin and Sergio Bustos, of The Miami Herald, discuss what the Ryan pick means for the presidential race.

Morning Edition

Renee Montagne talks with documentary maker Brad Lichtenstein about his new film As Goes Janesville. It is an up close look at wrenching changes the Wisconsin town has been through since GM closed a plant there. Janesville is the hometown of Rep. Paul Ryan, who is GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate.

Former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin in November, in a race to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Herb Kohl. Thompson defeated Eric Hovde by a margin of roughly 34-to-31%, with Mark Neumann and Jeff Fitzgerald finishing third and fourth, respectively.
In his victory speech, Thompson said that his win shows that Wisconsin is, "on a roll," and that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan told him that, "we are going to take our state back and take the country back." This past Saturday, Ryan was chosen to be the running mate of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
In his concession speech, Hovde congratulated Thompson and threw his support to the former governor. He also told supporters that his own brief political career was over.
Baldwin did not face a challenger in yesterday's election.

Municipal clerks and election observers say it has been very quiet at polling places across the state Tuesday. Still, there have been some issues at the polls.
Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board predicts a 20 percent voter turnout Tuesday. In contrast, turnout could be around 70 percent for the upcoming presidential election.
GAB spokesman Reid Magney says turnout is low because there is only one statewide race, the Republican U.S. Senate primary. “It’s a very hotly contested primary, that will probably increase turnout among Republicans and Independents who are interested in that race. On the flipside, it’s happening on August 14th, which is still in summer. People are on vacation. Students aren’t back at college yet, so that may bring it down somewhat," Magney says.
This is the first election that features the state’s new legislative and congressional lines. About 75 voters in Marinette County’s Town of Beaver received the wrong ballots because of redistricting confusion.

State officials are recommending that voters double-check which district they live in before heading to the polls. Tuesday’s primary is the first election where the state’s new congressional and state legislative lines will be put into effect. The state legislature redraws the district lines every 10 years.
Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney says some elected officials that people have been used to voting for or against for years, may not be on the ballot anymore because of redistricting, “It’s good to have empowered voters. It’s good to know what’s going to be on the ballot when you get there so you’re not surprised. You can think about who you want to vote for. It’s incumbent to voters to know what district they’re in and who’s going to be on the ballot.”
Voters can confirm their state legislative and congressional districts through their municipal clerk. Voting information can also be found on the GAB’s Wisconsin Voter Public Access...

Wisconsin voters have to choose one party in Tuesday’s primary.
Here’s just one scenario, a voter cannot vote in the Republican U.S. Senate primary and in the Democratic Congressional race. If they do, the polling place scanner will spit the ballot back out. The voter then has three tries to get it right.
Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney says under state law, voters must choose candidates of one party, “The primary is held for the benefit of the party to choose its nominee. If you’re an independent voter, you can choose either one of those, but you have to choose one.”
If a voter chooses the party preference on the ballot, that party choice will override all votes. For example, if a voter selects the “Republican” party preference, but then votes for a Democratic candidate, the Democratic vote will be ignored.
Wisconsin has an open primary system, meaning Democrats can vote for Republicans and vice...

The three Republican Senate front-runners are stumping the state Monday, with polls showing a statistical dead heat leading into Tuesday's primary. The candidates’ paths crossed in Wausau Monday afternoon.
How tight is the Republican Senate race? About as tight as the candidates' schedules. Tommy Thompson, Eric Hovde and Mark Neumann all arrived at the Wausau airport within twenty minutes of each other. All three tried to tie themselves to Wisconsin favorite son Paul Ryan. Thompson was at the rally Sunday when Mitt Romney introduced his vice presidential pick. “Yesterday when Paul Ryan shouted out to me as being the leader in welfare reform and the crowd went wild.”
Neumann said he worked with Paul Ryan in Congress. “I worked with Paul Ryan 18 years ago. I was a member of Congress, and he was working in D.C. He helped us write the plan that led to a balanced budget the last time.”
Hovde said Paul Ryan is...

Democrats say they are enthused about winning the race in Wisconsin's First Congressional District, especially now that incumbent Republican Paul Ryan is also running for vice president of the United States.
While First District Democratic candidate Rob Zerban says he would prefer that Rep. Ryan drop out of the House race, Zerban acknowledges the state constitution allows Ryan to run for both Congress and vice president. Zerban told a rally on Saturday that he thinks he can win the House contest.
Zerban says Ryan will be running a national campaign and will not spend much or any time in the first district trying to win the House race. Zerban also believes more first district residents will hear about flaws in Ryan's high-profile plan to cut the federal budget.
The liberal group, One Wisconsin Now, says Ryan should pick just one contest, as long as he is also collecting his Congressional salary. Ryan for Congress spokesperson Kevin Seifert...

Janesville Representative Paul Ryan may be a celebrity in the world of Republican politics, but a recent poll suggests he is not all that well-known in his home state of Wisconsin.

Despite all the national attention Ryan has received for his proposed budget in recent years, a July Marquette University poll found 35 percent of Wisconsin voters did not know enough about Ryan to offer an opinion.

Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says it is not unusual for a representative to be unknown outside of his district, “So I think that 35 percent that can't say whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view is not particularly high. But it is an important reminder that even someone as important as Rep. Ryan is certainly not a household name throughout the state.”

Franklin says the choice of a running mate can historically mean a difference of one to three percent in that person's home state. In a close election,...

Paul Ryan was in Iowa Monday, while Mitt Romney was campaigning in Florida. On Sunday, the presumptive Republican presidential ticket was together drawing a large and mostly friendly crowd to a rally in Waukesha.
It was Congressman Ryan's first appearance in Wisconsin since being announced Saturday as Mitt Romney's running mate. Ryan suggests that Wisconsin republicans are fired up enough to help Romney win this fall. Ryan says look at Governor Walker's recall victory in June. “We saved Wisconsin that day, and on November the 6th, we Wisconson-ites will help save America that day.”
Romney praised Ryan throughout his speech, but Romney had unkind words for President Obama and for a heckler who interrupted Romney, “This group here is respectful of other people rights to be heard and you ought to find yourself different place to be disruptive.”
Before the event, the Romney and Ryan visit drew about a dozen protestors to a nearby roadside. Brookfield teacher...

President Obama and GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan were in Iowa, where they told supporters that the general election would give voters a stark choice between two visions of the nation's future. With Mitt Romney in Florida and Joe Biden in North Carolina, all four candidates worked to energize supporters in key swing states.

Now that Paul Ryan has been named Mitt Romney's running mate, some Janesville residents are happy to see their city in the spotlight. That includes those people who do not necessarily care for Ryan's politics.
It is not too hard to find Ryan supporters in Janesville who cannot wait to vote for a Romney-Ryan ticket. Art Smeester fits into that category, “I think it's great, I think he's a great guy.”
What Smeester is really excited about is the exposure being given to Paul Ryan's hometown. “I have never heard Janesville mentioned on national TV before, but I heard it about a half-dozen times this morning,” Smeester said.
Tom Bramorski is a self-described independent voter. He says he hopes it helps the region's economy. “Well, I think it's a great thing for Janesville. Hopefully there will be some rejuvenation of local industry and good publicity nationwide for this region.”
That is not to say Ryan will...

WPT Presents

Zac Schultz profiles Republican U.S. Senate Primary candidate Tommy Thompson.

WPT Presents

Zac Schultz profiles Republican U.S. Senate Primary candidate Mark Neumann.

WPT Presents

Zac Schultz profiles Republican U.S. Senate Primary candidate Eric Hovde.