Republican William Penterman won the special election for 37th Assembly District in a commanding fashion Tuesday with 54.6% of the vote.
Unofficial results show Penterman received 3,742 votes. Democrat Pete Adams, 46, also of Columbus, received 3,063 votes and independent Stephen Ratzlaff Jr., 50, of DeForest garnered 112 votes.
Penterman, 25, narrowly won the Republican primary by 16 votes. There were eight Republican candidates.
He credited his win Tuesday to “outworking everyone else” when he was collecting signatures for his nomination papers.
“The past three months has been a journey of a lifetime. I have met so many great patriots and individuals concerned about the future of our state and country,” Penterman said. “After personally knocking on more than 12,000 doors throughout the campaign, I can certainly say that the people of the 37th Assembly District want strong, conservative leadership in Madison. From rebuilding our economy following the coronavirus pandemic to protecting our civil liberties from government overreach and encroachment, I can’t wait to get to work representing them in the Legislature.”
Penterman is a U.S. Army Reserve member who previously worked as an aide to Republican Rep. Ron Tusler of Appleton.
He said the one issue that came up frequently when he was out canvassing, was the additional $300 unemployment insurance benefit.
“It’s frustrating for those business owners, who are looking for employees now, but can’t find them,” Penterman said. “They are the ones working and picking up the additional slack because they can’t find the workers to help them. It was good to have that benefit during the pandemic, but we’re getting beyond that now. It’s time for us to get back to work.”
The vacancy was created when John Jagler won his own special election in April to the State Senate.
The 37th Assembly District is bordered on the west by DeForest, on the east by Oconomowoc, the north by Columbus and the south by Waterloo and Watertown.
Republicans hold a 60-38 majority in the Assembly.