Tony Evers has defeated Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), depriving him of a third term and delivering a long-awaited victory for the state’s Democrats, who unsuccessfully tried to recall the controversial incumbent in 2012.
The state superintendent of public instruction, Evers was seen as a safe but unexciting candidate whose resume would be just enough to oust the incumbent based on both his and the president’s dwindling popularity. Trump narrowly won the state by less than one percentage point in 2016.
The son of a Baptist pastor, Walker rode the tea party wave to power in 2010 and had an unsuccessful tilt at the presidential nomination in 2016. But it was his efforts at endearing himself to the GOP base that damaged his popularity among moderates and proved costly.
Walker was hammered for his budget cuts, his opposition to unions and an economy that Democrats said lagged behind the rest of the nation. Evers, a cancer survivor, also accused the Republican of opposing Obamacare.
In a contest that one state newspaper, Madison’s Capitol Times, deemed a “bland on bland” race, Evers’s victory owed more to Walker’s controversial record in the governor’s mansion than his own.