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Tony Evers Elected Governor Of Wisconsin

Democrat Tony Evers will become Wisconsin's new governor. Former President Barack Obama rallied Democrats for Evers, who's shown here at that rally.

Updated 2:10 p.m.: Gov. Scott Walker has conceded the election to Tony Evers.

He initially refused to concede because of the close margin and questions about more than 40,000 ballots in Milwaukee that were tallied in the eleventh hour.

In a statement, the Walker campaign said it determined that "any change in the result would not be significant enough to determine the outcome of the election, despite its close margin and questions about how the city of Milwaukee executed its election night operations."

Walker offered his support for Evers during the transition. 

Original story about 2 a.m.:

Democrat Tony Evers will become Wisconsin's new governor. He unseated two-term Republican Scott Walker. Leading up to the race, polls predicted a neck-and-neck race. The polls proved right, as Evers won by just more than 1 percentage point.

The contest was so close that it seemed sure to result in a recount, until late in the night. In fact, some Evers supporters left the Orpheum Theater in Madison as the night dragged on with no clear winner.

In the end, it came down to Milwaukee. Around midnight, there were about 45,000 absentee ballots still left uncounted, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. When those were tallied, Evers was ahead by about 29,000 votes.

When Evers took the stage to give his victory speech, he asked the crowd: "Was this close enough for you?"

Evers told his supporters their message was heard — that Wisconsin is ready for a change. "I’m proud to say we ran a positive campaign focused on the issues that matter most. Better schools, better roads, more affordable health care. That includes protections for pre-existing conditions."

>>What An Evers Win Might Mean For Schools

Evers’ running mate, Milwaukee native Mandela Barnes, will become the state's first African-American lieutenant governor. He told supporters that Evers' leadership will "bring equality back to Wisconsin."

In unofficial election results, Evers holds a 1.1 percent lead over Walker. In order for a recount to happen, the two candidates would need a less-than-1-percent gap in votes.

But the governor is not ready to give up. His running mate, Rebecca Kleefisch, addressed the crowd at the Walker campaign party, saying "I am here this morning to tell you that the fight is not over."

Kleefisch made her comments before Evers inched over the 1 percent lead. "This race is a dead heat. It is truly too close to call. We are preparing for the likelihood of a recount in the state of Wisconsin."

Even if a recount isn’t allowed, Walker’s campaign said it was waiting for election results to be certified and for military ballots to be tallied. The governor is not yet conceding defeat.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
Emily is an editor and project leader for WUWM.
Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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