By Ariele Vaccaro
During the midterm election held on November 4, Republicans swept the country for gubernatorial and U.S. Senate seats.
Campaign efforts made by notable Democratic figures, like former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, might not have been enough to mobilize the Democratic base.
Jefferson County District Attorney (D.A.) Susan Happ is one who may have benefited from stronger turnout.
Happ with 45.4 percent votes lost the race for Wisconsin Attorney General (A.G.) to Waukesha County D.A., Brad Schimel by nearly 145,000 votes. Schimel with 51.6 percent of the votes will be replacing incumbent Republican A.G., J.B. Van Hollen.
Fairly early in the night, Happ conceded. At that time, the gap was wide – 56 to 41 percent.
What would have been a victory party in her lifelong residence at Jefferson County, she assured attendees that her campaign ran the best race it could.
“If we came up a little short tonight, it wasn’t because of any shortage of effort or enthusiasm,” said Happ during her concession speech.
Expressed disappointment, Happ admitted the race was a “long-shot.”
“We came together to wage an uphill battle against a well-funded opponent who started the election with a big financial advantage,” Happ said.
The wife and mother closed with an encouraging line. After assuring her supporters tomorrow would simply be another day, Happ said with a slight smile, “We’ll see what’s next.”
Back in Milwaukee, local supporters for both Happ and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke flocked to Lakefront Brewery to watch the election results stack up.
U.S. Representative for the Milwaukee area, Gwen Moore attended the festivities.
Early on, she could sense where the outcome was headed for both Happ and Burke, who lost to incumbent Governor Scott Walker.
“You don’t fight this battle if you’re guaranteed a result,” said Moore.
People gathered around a projection screen that televised a constant feed of election news. At about 10 p.m., Happ took the stage to offer her concession. The brewery fell from a hum of lively chatter and clinking beer glasses to utter silence as Happ’s speech poured through the speakers.
Lauro Bonilla is a local union president.
He works on generators and has been doing so for two decades.
The Milwaukee resident of 30 years heard Happ’s speech at the brewery and left shortly after Burke’s concession speech.
“There’s nothing we can do sometimes,” he said of Happ’s race.
However, he felt that Happ might have stepped away too quickly.
“I think it’s too early yet,” said Bonilla.
Either way, Happ lost to Schimel who celebrated his victory in Waukesha. Schimel attributed the win to having “the best team, the best message, and the best volunteers that [he] could have asked for.”
Schimel emphasized the first priority would be to alleviate the prevalence of deadly drug use by prosecuting dealers who he called “public enemy number one.”
Happ will continue to serve as Jefferson County D.A..