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Duffy, Westlund face off after low turnout primary

Superior Telegram

Voters decided overwhelmingly that it’s Duffy vs. Westlund in November’s 7th District Congressional race.

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, handily defeated his Superior rival, Don Raihala, with about 88 percent of the Republican vote. In Douglas County, the incumbent took 90 percent of the vote — only 75 of the 784 Republican votes cast in Douglas County went to the Superior property manager.

The former Ashland County District Attorney now faces a challenge from former Ashland City Councilor Kelly Westlund, who garnered 77 percent of the Democratic vote over same-party challenger Mike Krsiean of St. Joseph in St. Croix County.

“I just want to say thank you for your support, your words of encouragement, your activism, and of course, your votes,” Westlund said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “… we hit an important milestone, but we’re not done yet. Our work is just beginning.”

“Ouch” Raihala said Wednesday, after reviewing the results of this year’s primary against the primary held four years ago — in 2010, more than 30,000 additional voters cast ballots in the Republican primary compared to Tuesday. “Ouch for Sean too … Primaries always have low turnouts, but this is pretty ugly by any standard.”

While the majority of votes cast districtwide were cast for Republican candidates, fewer votes were cast Tuesday for either party than those cast in the Republican primary alone in 2010.

Statewide, turnout was projected to be about 15 percent but may have been as low as 10 percent based on unofficial vote totals, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In Douglas County, almost 19 percent of voters exercised their right. Slightly more than 80 percent cast ballots for Democrats, which had more challenged races.

Throughout the 7th District, nearly 56 percent of the vote was delivered to the Republican candidates for Congress.