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Obama wins Wisconsin, Baldwin wins US Senate race

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 1:01 am •  Published: November 7, 2012
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Wisconsin was among a shrinking number of battleground states in the waning weeks of the campaign, leading to multiple visits by the candidates and their surrogates. While Obama brought Springsteen, and Bob Dylan predicted his landslide at a Monday concert, Ryan tailgated with Green Bay Packers fans Sunday and stopped in Milwaukee on Monday night.

The only other statewide race was for Kohl's U.S. Senate seat, which Democrats have held since 1957.

With temperatures in the 30s and light flurries falling, 34-year-old warehouse clerk Chris Pfeifer emerged from his Madison polling station inside a library that's part of a suburban strip mall. Pfeifer voted for Baldwin.

"She's been a really good representative for the district," Pfeifer said. "I think Tommy's had his chance already."

Pfeifer described the Senate campaign as "vicious" and said he was glad it was over.

Dave Zeman, a 60-year-old doctor from Madison, voted for Thompson, saying he agreed more with his policies than with Baldwin's.

"I do think his ad is pretty close, that Tammy Baldwin is arguably more liberal than Nancy Pelosi," Zeman said, referring to one of the numerous attack ads in the race attempting to label Baldwin as a liberal extremist.

Ryan and his four fellow Republican congressmen in Wisconsin — Jim Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble — all easily won re-election Tuesday. Two Democratic incumbents also won re-election, and Pocan won in Baldwin's seat to keep it under Democratic control.

In the Legislature, Republicans looked well on their way to reclaiming the majority in the state Senate and with it complete control of state government.

Republicans needed to oust at least one Democratic incumbent or win an open seat in far northeastern Wisconsin and protect four GOP incumbents. According to returns tabulated by The Associated Press, the GOP captured the open seat and three of the four incumbents had won their races as of late Tuesday evening.

The GOP was widely expected to retain control of the state Assembly, where Republicans held a 59-39-1 edge going into Election Day. The GOP already controls the governor's office; if it captures the Senate and holds the Assembly it will have free rein of state government.

Those wins, coupled with Ryan's ascendance as Romney's running mate, provided some solace for sullen Republicans. But juxtaposing those with losses at the top of the ticket left them searching for answers.

"It's a paradox," said Darling, who herself survived a recall election last year. "I'm baffled."

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Associated Press writers Todd Richmond in Sun Prairie, Philip Elliot in Janesville and Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

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Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sbauerAP .