Wisconsin Spring 2021 Primary Updates

Wisconsin Elections Commisison Administrator Meagan Wolfe says it is a smooth election so far.

By Will Kenneally

February 16, 2021

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Vote sign

A sign points to a polling location Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in downtown Madison. (Courtesy: Angela Major / WPR)

10:00 p.m. Final Race Calls

The Associated Press made two final race calls, projecting the general election for state superintendent will be between Jill Underly and Deborah Kerr. Each garnered roughly 27% of the vote in the seven-way nonpartisan primary.

In the special election to replace retiring Rep. John Nygren, the AP projects Elijah Behnke will win the Republican primary with 45% of the vote.

See the full results at WisconsinVote.org/election-results.

9:00 p.m. Race Called in 13th Senate District Primary

The Associated Press projects Rep. John Jagler, R-Watertown, will win the Republican primary to replace former Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who was elected to Congress in 2020.

Fitzgerald, the Republican incumbent, won the district since 2010 by double-digit margins, meaning Jagler will likely become the next senator from the conservative district.

Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly maintain their leads in the primary race for state superintendent with two-thirds of the vote counted.

8:30 p.m. Initial Results

In the race for state superintendent, Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly pulled ahead in the seven-way primary with a little more than a third of the vote in, sitting at 32% and 24% of the vote respectively. Though the race is officially non-partisan, Kerr received the backing of conservatives like former Gov. Scott Walker, and Underly received support from elected Democrats.

In the Republican primary race to replace former Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, state Rep. John Jagler had a 20-point lead over former state Rep. Don Pridemore with close to half the vote reporting.

With a third of the votes in, business owner Elijah Behnke had a 25-point lead in the Republican primary race to replace retiring Rep. John Nygren.

Follow the latest results at WisconsinVote.org/election-results/.

3:00 p.m. “Smooth Election Day”

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said Tuesday’s election was running smoothly.

Despite freezing temperatures and significant snowfall in parts of the state, all polls were able to open this morning as expected,” she said during a midday news conference.

Wolfe expected turnout to be down significantly from presidential elections which can see upwards of 70% turnout. Tuesday’s vote is likely to generate around 10% turnout, according to Wolfe.

In Madison, the city’s clerk wrote on Twitter that a little more than 6% of eligible voters had cast their ballots by 11 Tuesday morning.

The only statewide contest on the ballot this spring is for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The seven-way primary will narrow the field of nonpartisan candidates to two, who will vie for the constitutional office in April.

Tuesday also has two legislative special elections for Assembly District 89, vacated by retiring Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, and Senate District 13, left by former Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who was elected to Congress in November.

As absentee voting continues to be an option Wisconsinites turn to during the pandemic, Wolfe said fewer than half had been returned—127,000 out of 318,000 issued—by midday Tuesday. This includes 9,000 Wisconsinites who early-voted.

She encouraged voters who had not yet returned their ballots to do so by hand to their polling place or municipality’s central count location. Voters can check the Wisconsin Elections Commission website for information on other local options for returning absentee ballots. Ballots must be returned by the time the polls close at 8 p.m.

This story will be updated throughout the day. For more information on candidates and election results, visit WisconsinVote.org.

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