DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - Boosted by victories in Brown and Manitowoc counties, state Representative Andre Jacque defeated De Pere businessman Alex Renard in a Republican primary for a special election.
Jacque won the party nomination for state Senate District 1 by a vote of 4,369 to Renard's 4,039... a difference of 330 votes.
Jacque has served in the state Assembly since 2010.
His opponent was a political newcomer. Renard touted his experience with business, calling himself a job creator, and he had the backing of several of Jacques' peers in the state legislature, including five current and two former Assembly representatives.
Jacque said he was extremely grateful for the win. He says it came down to his record and work on legislation in the Assembly that resonated with voters in northeast Wisconsin.
"I'm humbled to be able to continue forward and have the support of my constituents. It's not about me, it's about the people of the district. And we had a lot thrown at us, a lot of expenditures, independent groups. It feels good," Jacque reacted.
Renard won in Calumet, Door, Kewaunee and Outagamie counties, but the votes weren't enough to overcome Jacque's larger margins in Brown and Manitowoc counties.
County Renard Jacque
Brown 812 1,305
Calumet 636 449
Door 1,090 791
Kewaunee 702 468
Manitowoc 382 1,072
Outagamie 417 284
Renard issued a statement Tuesday night, "I am humbled by the outpouring of support I received over the last two months by my friends and neighbors across Wisconsin’s 1st State Senate District. I am proud of the campaign we ran and would like to congratulate Rep. Jacque on his victory and wish him luck in the June 12th election."
Jacque will face Democrat Caleb Frostman, who was unopposed. Frostman was director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation. He resigned to run for the state office.
There was also a Republican primary for state Assembly District 42, which was won handily by Lodi businessman Jon Plumer, who had 72 percent of the vote with two-thirds of the precincts reporting.
The Assembly district includes parts of Dodge, Fond du Lac and Green Lake counties, as well as Dane, Columbia and Marquette.
Being that this special election was called on short notice, voter turnout in the primary was low.
The special election is to fill a vacancy when two state lawmakers left to work in Gov. Scott Walker's administration at the end of 2017.
The governor resisted calls to hold a special election, arguing the elections are expensive when the Legislature was looking at a short calendar this year and the seats are up for election in November. A judge ordered the governor to schedule the special elections as required by law.
Soon after the primary race was called, the State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC) released a statement calling Frostman "the clear frontrunner" in the June election.
SSDC Executive Director Jenni Dye wrote, "Caleb has shown he has what it takes to create economic opportunities and good, family-supporting jobs in his community. From protecting clean drinking water to expanding job training programs, voters know they can trust Caleb to fight for their interests and represent their values in the State Senate."
The eventual winner of the special elections will have to run again for their respective seat in the Legislature in November.