Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin.
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An open seat in the state Senate appeared to remain in Democratic control after a former legislator led his Republican opponent Tuesday at the polls in western Wisconsin. With one county’s results outstanding, Eau Claire resident Jeff Smith was poised to capture the Senate District 31 seat vacated by Kathleen Vinehout during her unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign. Smith led Plum City farmer Mel Pittman on the strength of results in Eau Claire County, where he won 22,288 to 14,070.
Shannon Zimmerman was well on his way to gaining his second term in the Assembly Tuesday, according to a sizeable chunk of St. Croix County election results. The River Falls Republican led Democrat Barry Hammarback 56-44 percent with 81 percent of the county’s precincts reporting in the race for Assembly District 30. Results from Pierce County, where only River Falls is in District 30, had yet to come in as of 9:15 p.m.
HUDSON, Wis. — The White House threw its weight behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election bid Saturday, Nov. 3, in a campaign rally highlighted by Vice President Mike Pence. The former Indiana governor framed Walker’s previous eight years as a comeback for the Badger State, which has seen unemployment shrink to a historic low in that time.
Democrats, led by gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, campaigned in Hudson Thursday as state and national races entered the home stretch toward Election Day. Evers, who serves as Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction, was joined by a slate of Democrats, including Assembly District 30 candidate Barry Hammarback, attorney general candidate Josh Kaul, lieutenant general candidate Mandela Barnes and Christopher Coons, who stumped for Tammy Baldwin, a fellow U.S. senator.
Vice President Mike Pence will be campaigning in support of several Wisconsin Republican candidates Saturday in Hudson, while Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers plans a Thursday visit to the city in the final run-up to Election Day. Pence is scheduled to appear at an event at Valley Cartage, where Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and state Sen. Leah Vukmir are all expected to attend, said St. Croix County Republican Party Chairman Scott Nordstrand.
The man who drove a stolen pickup on an off-road pursuit with law enforcement last summer pleaded guilty Tuesday to four charges stemming from the crime spree. Cassidy Muecke pleaded guilty Oct. 30 to burglary, driving a vehicle without owner's consent, OWI-fourth offense and second-degree recklessly endangering safety. Nine other counts stemming from the incidents — spanning May 29-30 — were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
A jury trial was set this week for a Pierce County sheriff's deputy who pleaded not guilty to child-sex charges. Allen J. Wojcik, 31, entered the pleas Monday, Oct. 29, to four felony charges against him alleging sexual assault of a child. The Spring Valley man, now living in River Falls, had been placed on paid administrative leave from the sheriff's office amid an investigation into the case.
A former Woodville gas station manager faces felony charges in St. Croix County Circuit Court after allegedly embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from her former employers. A criminal complaint against Cindy M. Meyer alleges she stole about $37,600 from the BP gas station while she was employed there from 2014 to February 2018. The 40-year-old Woodville woman's first court appearance is set for Nov. 15 on two felony theft charges. According to the complaint:
A Prescott man accused of sexually assaulting and stabbing a woman earlier this year allegedly violated his bond conditions Oct. 19 by driving her in his car, which authorities say he then used to flee police into Minnesota. Jason J. Kulla, 46, was charged with two felonies — bail jumping and fleeing an officer — after being arrested Thursday, Oct. 25. He made his initial court appearance Monday, where Pierce County Court Commissioner Jorv Gavic set Kulla's cash bail at $100,000.
State Sen. Leah Vukmir downplayed polling that showed her trailing by double digits in the race for U.S. Senate, saying she expects a visit Wednesday by President Donald Trump to give her more steam as Election Day nears. Vukmir, of Brookfield, met with supporters Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Hop and Barrel in Hudson, where she was joined by fellow Republican Sean Duffy, a congressman from Hayward. A Marquette University Law School poll conducted earlier in October showed Democrat incumbent Tammy Baldwin with a 10-point lead over Vukmir ahead of the Nov. 6 election.