Republican turnout soared in the Badger State this presidential primary, making Tuesday’s contest the most competitive in state history and home to the second biggest surge in GOP turnout across the nation this cycle.
A new Smart Politics report found that Wisconsin GOP primary voter turnout surged more than 75 percent this primary cycle, up from 410,607 voters in 2008 to over 715,000 Tuesday. That escalation marks the second largest increase in GOP primary voting across the states that have held contests so far. Only Mississippi recorded a bigger increase in turnout from 2008.
Romney edged Santorum by just 4.9 points Tuesday night with 98 percent of precincts reporting, marking the closest contest in the history of the Badger State’s GOP presidential primary.
Recall fever may provide one explanation for Wisconsin’s historic voter turnout. The campaign to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker over union protests and budget reforms has been dominating the state’s political landscape in recent months, threatening to overshadow the GOP presidential candidates. The recall election is set to take place June 5.