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Democrat Wins Wisconsin State Senate Race In Trump Country

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Voters exercised their judgment this week in several special elections held around the country. To learn more, we asked our member station partners to send in audio postcards. We'll start with Wisconsin Public Radio's Rich Kremer.

RICH KREMER, BYLINE: Before negotiations over a federal shutdown stole headlines, pundits had their eyes on a race in northwestern Wisconsin. The 10th state Senate district runs along the border with Minnesota and features a blend of rural farmland and sprawling Twin Cities suburbs. In the village of Baldwin, Laurie Malyuk voted for Democrat Patty Schachtner, a relative novice, over Republican State Representative Adam Jarchow. Malyuk said she was responding to a sense of chaos in Madison and Washington, and she sees her vote as part of something stretching far beyond the 10th state senate district - a Democratic wave.

LAURIE MALYUK: Based on all of the special elections that we've had since the presidential election, I see it happening, and I hope that it continues.

LEE PARKS: I don't see any wave coming.

KREMER: That's Pastor Lee Parks of the Village of Somerset.

PARKS: All that is media hype. I'll call it fake news. President Trump is doing everything he said he was going to do, but the media is saying that he's only gotten one thing done. He's gotten dozens of things done in this last year.

KREMER: In 2016, Trump won this part of Wisconsin by 17 percentage points. Duane Russet of Baldwin voted GOP in Tuesday's race, just as he did in 2016.

DUANE RUSSET: You know, I voted for Trump, but I think he's an idiot. You know, and the thing he says - you know, I think he's probably really smart, but he just - he should keep his mouth shut. Will I vote for him again the next time? I don't know. We've got a couple more years to see.

KREMER: In the end, Democrat Patty Schachtner won by nine. Governor Scott Walker called it a wake-up call for Republicans in Wisconsin. For NPR News, I'm Rich Kremer. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.