Republican Tom Tiffany will be northern Wisconsin’s next representative in Congress after defeating Democrat Tricia Zunker in a special election on Tuesday.
Tiffany, a state Senator from Minocqua, beat Zunker by about 14 points.
He said his first priority will be helping America rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been through difficult times,” Tiffany said. “We know how to go out and turn things around, and we will do that again. I will dedicate myself to get America back up on her feet again.”
Tiffany will replace fellow Republican Sean Duffy, who resigned from Congress last year, citing family reasons. He will need to run for reelection in November.
“I will do my very best to represent everybody in the 7th Congressional District out in Washington, D.C.,” Tiffany said.
Tuesday’s election was the second this spring including in-person voting during the COVID-19 health emergency. In April, voters cast ballots in a Presidential primary, state Supreme Court race, and local elections.
A Democrat has not been elected in the district since 2008, when Dave Obey won the last of his 20 terms in Congress, but Zunker, the Wausau School Board President, saw reasons for optimism.
“We laid the groundwork for a Democratic win in November,” she said. “We came this close because our message of affordable healthcare, help for small businesses and farmers, and protection of the environment resonated throughout this district.”
More than 110,000 voters requested absentee ballots in the sprawling district, the largest in the state geographically.
In many areas, voter turnout was higher than in April.