Gubernatorial candidates seeking a rematch have now lost 5 of 7 contests in Wisconsin history

scottwalker10.JPGRepublican Governor Scott Walker’s win over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin recall election Tuesday continues several trends in Badger State gubernatorial elections.

The contest marked the seventh major party gubernatorial rematch in Wisconsin history with the winner of the first contest successfully fending off the challenger five times against just two losses.

Walker defeated Barrett by a 53.2 to 46.3 percent margin.

The last time a candidate sought such a rematch and won was in 1942 when Progressive Orland Loomis defeated one-term Republican incumbent Julius Heil after loing to the GOPer two years prior. (Loomis never took office, dying shortly after Election Day).

With Walker’s victory, incumbent governors have now been reelected at a rate of 74.5 percent in Wisconsin – winning 35 contests and losing just 12 times over the last 160+ years since statehood.

The 6.9-point decision Tuesday means Wisconsin now joins Rhode Island (five), Minnesota (four), and Iowa (four) as the only states with at least four consecutive gubernatorial races decided by single digits.

Wisconsin’s inaugural Barrett vs. Walker matchup in 2010 was decided by 5.8 points after Democrat Jim Doyle won his two terms by 3.7 points in 2002 and 7.4 points in 2006.

Walker won 60 counties en route to his victory on Tuesday – up one from 59 in his 2010 win.

The third candidate on the ballot, independent Hari Trivedi, was a non-factor in the race – failing to eclipse one percent of the vote.

Only two independent candidates for governor in Badger State history have ever won more than 1 percent – and both were former major party officeholders.

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