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William Penterman wins special election for 37th Assembly District
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SPECIAL ELECTION | 37th Assembly District

William Penterman wins special election for 37th Assembly District

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Republican William Penterman is slated to join the GOP-led state Assembly based on unofficial results from Tuesday’s special election to fill the 37th Assembly District’s vacant seat.

In another special election held Tuesday, Timothy Rockwell narrowly beat out Kristen Morris to represent Sun Prairie-area residents on the Dane County Board.

Penterman, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, received a total of 3,742 votes, according to unofficial results from the counties of Dane, Dodge, Columbia and Jefferson. Democratic candidate Pete Adams, 46, received 3,063 votes and Independent Stephen Ratzlaff Jr., 50, brought in 112 votes.

Penterman’s victory follows the 25-year-old’s narrow win over seven other Republicans in last month’s special primary.

Penterman, who previously worked as an aide to state Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, in a Facebook post shortly after all precincts reported Tuesday attributed his victory to a strong grassroots campaign that included knocking on more than 12,000 doors over the relatively short campaign.

“The results of today’s election are in, and it is clear that my friends and neighbors in the 37th Assembly District have chosen me to be their next representative in Madison,” Penterman said in the post. “This is a job I will not take lightly, for the task of defending liberty never ends.”

Votes are unofficial until formally canvassed. Once votes are certified and Penterman is sworn into office, he will bring the state Assembly’s Republican majority to 61 members, compared with 38 Democratic members.

Penterman raised more than $28,000 in campaign funds as of June 28, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks campaign finances. Adams, who served one term on the Columbus City Council before his loss earlier this year, raised roughly $5,100.

The 37th Assembly District was left vacant earlier this year when former Rep. John Jagler, R-Watertown, was elected to the state’s 13th Senate District, which was previously held by former Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who was elected to Congress last fall.

Jagler had held the Assembly seat since 2013.

The 37th Assembly District includes portions of Dane, Dodge, Jefferson and Columbia counties and part of Columbus, Waterloo and Watertown, and the villages of DeForest, Lowell and Reeseville.

Dane County Board

Rockwell earned 52.4% of the vote compared to Morris’ 47.5%, making him county board supervisor for the 19th District, according to preliminary results. A total of 1,164 people voted.

Former Sup. Teran Peterson, who previously represented the district, resigned from the board in April because she planned to move out of the district, leaving her seat open on the 37-member county board.

Rockwell, 31, is vice president of American Extractions, a biotechnology company based in Wisconsin. Rockwell also started a nonprofit with his wife called Celebrate Recovery, which focuses on supporting individuals recovering from substance abuse.

Morris, 37, is a stay-at-home mother with two daughters. Morris said one of her daughters has “extreme special needs.” Morris also does a lot of volunteer work for the Sun Prairie School District, including serving as vice president of the parent association for her daughter’s school.

Rockwell said he ran for the seat because he wants to make Sun Prairie a great place for him to raise his son, who was born 11 months ago.

“My goal is to make sure that District 19 and Dane County as a whole remains the best place to live, work and thrive,” Rockwell said.

State Journal reporter Emily Hamer contributed to this report.

Year in review: The top Madison-area stories of 2020

It started out well enough. The Badgers were making a late-in-coming run at the Final Four. Hometown insurance behemoth American Family announced it was boosting its starting minimum wage to $20 an hour. Madison East Siders welcomed a new Pinney branch library.

The first two and a half months of the year feel like a different era, when news of a strange new virus infecting people in China was safely tucked away in the back pages of the newspaper and the heart-breaking images of a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a 46-year-old Black man had yet to go viral.

Then came March and successive waves of closures, cancellations, lockdowns, furloughs, layoffs, infections and deaths. If the subsequent uprisings over the killing of George Floyd weren't enough to remind America that it has plenty of work to do to overcome racism, the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha tragically emphasized the point. And a divisive presidential election carried the tone of the year at the end.

While it may not be a year to look back on with particular fondness, 2020 no doubt is one to remember. Here's a look back at some of the top stories in the Madison area as they occurred.

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It marked the fourth consecutive loss in the Rose Bowl for UW, and the first time since 2013 that the program lost its final two games of the year.

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Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said Sunday the victim who officers found in an apartment at 1905 McKenna Blvd. shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday was a 20-year-old African American male.

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With the Green Bay defense failing to lay a hand on 49ers running back Raheem Mostert for much of the first half and the Aaron Rodgers-led offense committing two turnovers and failing to convert a third down yet again during a scoreless first 30 minutes, the Packers dug themselves a 27-0 halftime deficit on their way to a demoralizing 37-20 loss.

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Gutierrez, superintendent of the school district in Seguin, Texas, was announced Friday as the Madison School Board's pick to lead the district.

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The person returned to Dane County Regional Airport after a trip to Beijing Jan. 30 and went directly to UW Hospital's emergency room, officials said.

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This weekend's performances at the Alliant Energy Center will be the last with elephants in Dane County as a contract between the circus and the venue expires. 

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Tony Evers said he vetoed the legislation, which uses surplus revenue, because it doesn't invest in the state's schools. 

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Despite no Wisconsin cheeses finishing in the final top three, state producers dominated the competition, earning 45 gold medals out of 132 categories.

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This decision is unprecedented for Wisconsin's largest university and taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

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The closure order, to take effect no later than 5 p.m. on March 18, affects nearly 1 million Wisconsin children in grades K-12 in public and private schools.

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One was a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County; the other was a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County.

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David A. Kahl, 53, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

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Tony Evers’ “safer at home” order represents a shift from the governor's position last week, when he said he did not plan on issuing such an order.

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Most voting locations saw few lines and smooth operations. But other places, notably Milwaukee, experienced significant delays, chaos and conditions that made it impossible for some voters to cast a ballot.

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Jill Karofsky's win over Dan Kelly cuts the court's conservative majority to 4-3, giving liberals a chance to take back control in 2023.

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The U.S. Air Force announced the final selection of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing, capping more than three years of study and deep community division over the planes, which come with the promise of jobs and new construction but also noise and pollution.

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While applauded as a good first step, Democratic members, as well as public safety and health officials, have criticized the bill for not allocating more state funding to respond to the pandemic.

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For 30 years, "Ms. Milele" was the publisher of UMOJA magazine and a prominent leader in Madison's black community. She was "short in stature but mighty in force." 

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Free community testing for COVID-19 started at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on Monday morning.

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Gov. Tony Evers and legislative Republicans will need to work quickly to come up with a replacement plan.

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The Vilas Zoo, Goodman Pool, beaches and movie theaters are among the places not opening yet.

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There were signs early Sunday that the violence was spreading into other parts of the city.

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"It’s clear they have important process issues to work out," the candidate said.

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School Board President Gloria Reyes said the decision to pull police from Madison's four main high schools is effective immediately. 

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The Madison School Board chose Carlton Jenkins, a superintendent of a suburban Twin Cities school district, over another finalist for the job. He starts Aug. 4.

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As a Dane County public health order requiring face coverings in all indoor spaces outside the home took effect Monday, businesses offered mixed views on mandates, though for many retailers it was business as (the new) usual.

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There was no update on the second victim from the shooting at Schroeder Road and Chapel Hill Road Saturday night. 

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Travis M. Christianson, 44, is tentatively charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

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Republican President Donald Trump also has caused controversy for saying he might deliver acceptance speech at White House.

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The girl was in a car that was struck by gunfire late Tuesday morning on East Washington Avenue.

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The conference decided — after meetings between presidents and athletic directors, and outcry from players, coaches, politicians and fans — to cancel the fall sports season and will attempt to move football to the spring semester.

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"The video that came out of Kenosha is absolutely horrific. I don’t understand how people can watch it and not be here," one Madison protester said. 

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The fifth-seeded Heat finished off an upset of the NBA’s best regular-season team Tuesday, topping the Milwaukee Bucks 103-94 in Game 5 of their East semifinal series — while Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league’s reigning MVP, couldn’t play because of a sprained right ankle.

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UW-Madison is pausing in-person instruction for at least two weeks and quarantining more than 2,200 students living in two dorms.

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Police are not recommending charges against Althea Bernstein, saying there is a difference between someone trying to deceive law enforcement and not being able to corroborate a report of a crime.

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The alternate care facility at State Fair Park in West Allis may begin taking patients Thursday.

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A small crowd Downtown Saturday morning before the race was called turned into hundreds of people honking horns, cheering and waving signs after Biden was declared the winner, while some Trump supporters turned out in protest.

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"We understand the eyes of the world will be on these Wisconsin counties over the next few weeks,"  Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe said.

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St. Mary's and Meriter expect to get vaccine soon.

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The flurry of activity caps off a tumultuous post-election saga in Wisconsin that has now concluded.

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A look back at the year 2020 through the lens of Wisconsin State Journal photographers John Hart, Amber Arnold and Steve Apps

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