WAUKESHA, Wis. -- Wisconsin could make history tonight by electing Rep. Tammy Baldwin as the first openly gay senator, but many folks here are making little of the possible milestone.

“I wasn’t even aware of that,” said Owen Couch, a mechanic from Waukesha, when asked whether Baldwin’s being gay was a factor in the close race. Couch had just cast his ballot for Baldwin’s GOP opponent, former Gov. Tommy Thompson, and said he typically votes for Republicans, no matter the candidate, because they’re closest to his way of thinking.

Another Thompson voter, Elliot  Schultz, seemed similarly unconcerned. “I didn’t hear anything about that,” he said. “I mean, I guess I knew she was gay, but nobody really cares.” Schultz, who’s a cook, prefers Thompson’s economic plans.

Thompson could be gay, he says, and it wouldn’t make a difference in his opinion of him. 

Even Baldwin’s supporters note that the issue just hasn’t come up much.  “And I take that as a good sign,” says Kelly Webber, an IT worker who says she voted for “Tammy.” (The candidates are almost universally referred to as “Tammy” and “Tommy”). “Maybe we’re just moving past all that.”

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