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Wisconsin Primary Now Too Close to Call

Joe Leibham's late election night surge means the race is now too close to call. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)
Joe Leibham's late election night surge means the race is now too close to call. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

The Associated Press has rescinded its call in Wisconsin’s 6th District GOP primary after announcing that state Sen. Glenn Grothman won the GOP race  last night.  

The race is now too close to call , with Grothman garnering 36.2% of the votes and State Sen. Joe Leibham with 35.8% of the votes. Just 214 votes separate the contenders.  

After the AP called the race for Grothman a few hours after the polls closed last night, observers noted that the votes were still not counted in Leibham’s base of Sheboygan.  Grothman issued a victory statement after he was declared the winner and state Rep. Duey Stroebel, the third-place candidate, conceded the race. But there was no word yet from the Leibham camp as Grothman celebrated his victory.  

Votes were tallied in Sheboygan late into the night, narrowing Grothman’s lead and putting Leibham within striking distance.  

Leibham issued a one sentence statement at 3:30 a.m. ET and said, “Out of respect to the voters of the 6th Congressional District, I believe we need to allow the election officials to finish counting and double checking all of the votes cast in Tuesday’s election.”  

Now that the race is too close to call, election officials and campaigns are scrambling to verify the vote totals.  

”We may not know [the winner] until the middle of next week,” a Wisconsin GOP operative told CQ Roll Call Wednesday. Absentee ballots in Wisconsin need to be postmarked by election night and delivered to the polling place by the close of business Friday, meaning some of those votes have not been counted yet.  

So with absentee ballots still out and varying vote tabulations in the precincts, the operative said that many questions must be answered before a recount is even considered.  

“We have to monitor them over the next couple days way before we talk about the ‘R’ word,” the operative said.  

So as Wisconsin Republicans keep their eyes peeled on the election results, the Democrat in the 6th district race has started his fundraising pitch.  

Mark Harris, Winnebago county executive, faces an uphill climb in the solidly Republican district, but he issued a fundraising letter Wednesday afternoon highlighting his differences with Grothman and Leibham. He began the letter with the caveat, “And while we may not know who exactly our opponent is at this moment…”  

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