Politicos predicted it would be a blowout. They were right.
The political atmosphere surrounding Wisconsin brought more than 184,000 to the polls in Dane County, something Rep. Joe Parisi called a big factor in his victory.
Parisi, who gathered approximately 70 percent of the vote against Sup. Eileen Bruskewitz, said he felt thankful for the groundwork former County Executive Kathleen Falk is leaving behind from her 14 years of service.
“Tonight voters from across Dane County sent a clear message that we don’t do things the Scott Walker way in Dane County,” said Parisi, whose opponent was widely seen as a more conservative choice. “We do things the Dane County way.”
Parisi said much of his campaign has been devoted to fighting against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill at the county level, which he said has deeply polarized voters in Wisconsin during an election cycle that drew a historic number of voters to the polls Tuesday.
“Who would have known that the day after the primary someone was going to introduce a little thing called the budget repair bill,” Parisi said. “During that time my campaign staff kept the campaign running strong.”
Parisi’s movements against Walker were welcomed by overwhelming cheer from the crowd who echoed the victor’s cries of “doing things the Dane County way, not the Scott Walker way.”
Early on in the evening, Parisi said he was confident the race would go his way, greeting an enthusiastic news with preliminary news.
“The results are coming in, and it looks like I have a new job,” Parisi said.
After walking away with more than 70 percent of the vote, including all precincts in the Dane County area, Parisi said he has a lot of work to do in the coming months, including finding ways to boost the economy given the restrictions he said Walker’s repair bill would place on county spending.
Parisi said one of his primary goals in the coming weeks would be establishing an office at the county level that would advance economic development by working directly with industries – a function of the county executive’s office he said was essential.
Bruskewitz, who made a name for herself keeping liberals on the County Board in check, fell short of the executive seat but said her campaign has been positive.
“It’s been a great campaign and there are many people that think that fiscal responsibility and creating jobs are important things to do, but this whole thing with collective bargaining really overshadowed so many things,” Bruskewitz said.
Affected by the unpopularity of the budget repair bill, Bruskewitz said her opponent ran a campaign with “very little substance” regarding the race itself, instead focusing on an attack of the governor.
“Unfortunately this really wasn’t a county executive race,” Bruskewitz said. “This was a race between Governor Walker and the Legislature.”
Despite the unprecedented activism seen throughout Wisconsin in retaliation to Walker’s controversial measure, Bruskewitz defended her support of the governor, saying Walker was the only candidate capable of fixing the state’s economic crisis.