Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
This week, I take a look at the Germantown results of the November 6 election. For this discussion, I combine the results of the village and the town of Germantown. The voter participation this year was very high. Of the 13,028 registered voters, 12,524 ballots were cast, for a 96 % turn-out. This is a typical Germantown turn-out for a presidential election. During the 2008 and 2004 Presidential elections, 85 % and 98 % of registered voters cast ballots.
Turn-out in our village is generally much lower in off-year elections. In November 2010, when the top races were for Governor and US Senate, just 66 % of registered voters cast ballots. During the low-interest school board/county supervisor elections of April 2012, we only had a turn-out of 41 %
This year, the Romney/Ryan ticket carried 68.17 % of the presidential ballots cast in Germantown, while 30.93 % of voters selected Obama/Biden. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 0.48 %, Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 0.18 %, and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode gained 0.06 %. Nineteen people (0.15%) wrote-in various names (pets, children, cartoon characters, etc.) for President.
Barack Obama received a somewhat smaller percentage of the Germantown vote this year than he got in 2008 (30.93 % for 2012 vs 35.47 % for 2008). This trend was reflected in the state-wide results, in which Obama carried Wisconsin by only 6.7% in 2012, down from his his 13.9 % victory margin in 2008.
However, even this year's election saw the Democratic presidential candidate get a larger percentage of the Germantown vote than John Kerry received in 2004 (29.9 %) and Al Gore got in 2000 (29.7 %). It is unclear whether the gradual small increase in Democratic votes over the last four presidential elections is part of a long-term trend.
The 30.9 % of Germantown votes collected by Obama makes us redder than 48 out of 50 states. Only Utah (24.9 % Obama) and Wyoming (28.0 % Obama) went more solidly for Romney this election. We voted less Democratic than crimson red Idaho (32.6 % Obama) and Oklahoma (33.2 % Obama).
With 29.4% voting for Obama, Washington County once again gained the dubious distinction of being the reddest county in the state, nosing-out Waukesha (32.2 % Obama) and Ozaukee Counties (34.3 % Obama) for that title.
Progressives should not be too despondent, however. Still, about one person in three in Germantown voted for Obama. And it could be worse. At 30.9% Obama, we are slightly more Democratic than Washington County overall, which went 29.4 % for the President. And we look like a mini-Madison compared to Richfield, in which only 24.3 % voted for Obama.
In the Senate race, Tommy Thompson carried Germantown with 67.4 % of the vote. Tammy Baldwin garnered 30.2 %, doing a little worse than Obama in our village. This compared to a statewide win for Baldwin with 51.5 % of the vote to Thompson's 45.9%. Baldwin's 5.9% statewide victory margin was also slightly less than Obama's 6.7 % win.
Two other candidates were also in the Senate race- Libertarian Joseph Kexel with 1.86 % of the G-Town vote and Independent Nimrod Y.U. Allen III (is this for real?) with 0.28 %. There were 0.23 % write-in votes. One percent of the people who voted in the Presidential race did not vote for Senator, only a slight drop-off in enthusiasm for this race.
The contest for US Representative went as expected. Congressman-for-life James Sensenbrenner won both his entire district, with 67.9 % of the vote, and Germantown, with 73.9 %. His opponent was Kohler Corporation IT guy, Dave Heaster. Dave ran a fairly invisible campaign, yet still reaped 32.1% of the district vote and 26.0% of Germantown. So a Democratic candidate who is unknown to the electorate, and who does not have an active campaign, starts out with over 1 in 4 of Germantown votes before doing anything. Write-ins constituted 0.1 % of the electorate. There was a drop-off of 4.5 % of voters between the Presidential race and the Congressional race..
Alberta Darling ran unopposed for her now safe, redistricted Wisconsin Senate seat. She got 96.2 % of the Germantown vote. A very late and under-publicized write-in campaign by Democrat Beth Lueck yielded 3.8% in write-ins. Because this seat was uncontested, many people did not bother voting. There was a 17% drop-off in voter participation between this race and the Presidential one.
Thank you for indulging me in this excursion into political geekdom. I promise to get back to my usual partisan rantings next week.