Parties settle Congress, governor's races in Wisconsin, 3 other states

By Susan McFarland
Voters will choose the successor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in November. Tuesday, Wisconsin voters will determine the two major parties' nominees in the race. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Voters will choose the successor to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in November. Tuesday, Wisconsin voters will determine the two major parties' nominees in the race. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Democratic and Republican races in a couple of key battleground states will be settled Tuesday, with just 84 days remaining until the midterm elections.

Democrats are pushing for a strong lineup to try and overtake 23 Republican seats for a majority in the House, and Republicans are backing nominees in districts they hope to capture or hold to keep control of Congress.


Primaries will be held in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont Tuesday.


A head-to-head GOP Senate primary is on between state Sen. Leah Vukmir and Marine Corps veteran Kevin Nicholson. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November. Vukmir's chances, though, might be affected by a video that recently emerged showing him critical of President Donald Trump.

Tuesday's primary will also decide which Democrat will be on the ballot for the seat of retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan.


Ironworker Randy Bryce raised more than $6 million and won endorsement of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His primary opponent, teacher and Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers, has criticized him for multiple past arrests, including a DUI, and his delinquency on child support payments.

Republicans favor businessman Bryan Steil, who is endorsed by Ryan, in the race. Also on the ballot is Paul Nehlen, a conservative activist who was banned by Twitter for posting racially insensitive tweets.

Eight candidates are in the Democratic gubernatorial primary vying to oust GOP Gov. Scott Walker. School superintendent Tony Evers had led in most public polls. Others include former state Rep. Kelda Roys and Mahlon Mitchell, president of the state's Professional Firefighters Association, who would be the state's first black governor.

Wisconsin, which typically votes Democratic in presidential elections, was one of the surprise states that voted for Trump in the 2016 campaign.


Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, appointed earlier this year to replace Sen. Al Franken after he resigned over a sexual misconduct scandal, is now running for a full term. She is favored to win in a battle that includes former White House ethics counsel Richard Painter.


The GOP has endorsed state Sen. Karin Housley, who's married to Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley, in the race.

Republicans are also eyeing open district seats in the House. State Rep. Ilhan Omar and former state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher are considered the Democratic front-runners in a district being vacated by Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison.

Both parties are also vying for the open gubernatorial seat. For the GOP, former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is trying to make a comeback. He will face Jeff Johnson, who has the endorsement of the state Republican Party.

The Democrats will settle a five-way race, with polls showing former Rep. Tim Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson in the lead.


Democrats are hoping to hold onto the House seat being vacated by Rep. Elizabeth Esty in January. Voters will choose the party's nominee from a race that includes Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, and candidate Mary Glassman, who has the endorsement of the state party.

The Republican Party is endorsing former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos in his race against retired psychology professor Ruby Corby O'Neill and businessman Rich DuPont.


An open gubernatorial seat could give Republicans an opportunity to gain state leadership in a typically Democratic state. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, endorsed by the Connecticut Republican Party, faces businessmen Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman.

For Democrats, candidate Ned Lamont, who defeated then-Sen. Joe Lieberman in the 2006 primary, faces Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim.


Two years after making noise in the 2016 presidential race, Sen. Bernie Sanders is running for re-election in November -- but will again run as an independent, not a Democrat. Activist and candidate Folasade Adeluola may instead carry the party's nomination. Four Republicans hope to make the ballot, of whom the favorite may be businessman Rocky De La Fuente.

Democrats are also hoping to take over the statehouse now occupied by Republican Gov. Phil Scott. The party will choose from businesswoman Christine Hallquist, activist James Ehlers and former Sanders staffer Brenda Siegel.

Hallquist would be the first transgender person nominated for governor by a major party, if she wins Tuesday's vote.

Latest Headlines