This turned out about how I expected. I’m happy to see that the two candidates whom I prefer were the top two vote-getters. The race is shaping up a lot like several of the previous races. Without the candidates necessarily intending it, the race is splitting into a conservative ticket (Marquardt and Schmidt) and a liberal ticket (Larson and Donath). Unfortunately, Miller was left as the odd man out without a constituency backing him. I hope it doesn’t dissuade him from trying again in the future because he has a lot to offer.
Given that Miller is a conservative guy, I would have to expect most of his supporters will to go Marquardt and Schmidt. BUT, the general election will be an entirely different ball game. At 18.25%, voter turnout was higher in this race than it was in many other areas of the state, but it was still quite low. The April 5th general election ballot will also include the presidential primary. The last presidential primary election saw a turnout of 40% in Washington County, but that election wasn’t nearly as dramatic as it is this year – particularly on the Democratic side. That fact, coupled with the general election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, will likely push turnout even higher. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a turnout of 50%-60% in this county. If that’s the case, then less than half of the people who will vote in the general election voted in the primary.
In Washington County, high turnout elections favor candidates who identify as conservatives. Whichever candidates can fix themselves in the electorate’s mind as a conservative will likely win a school board seat. We’ll see how it goes.