Republican Glenn Grothman wins 6th Congressional District seat formerly held by Tom Petri

OSHKOSH/FOND DU LAC (WITI/AP) -- Conservative Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman has won Wisconsin's only open U.S. House seat and will succeed the more moderate Tom Petri.

Grothman had been the favorite to win in the Republican-leaning district. He defeated Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a fiscally conservative Democrat, in Tuesday's election.

Grothman has made a name for himself in the Wisconsin Senate with outspoken attacks on affirmative action, abortion and welfare benefits. He offended the retiring Petri earlier this year by remarking during a July 31st debate that he would be insulted if people said he was like the more moderate Republican.

The 59-year-old Grothman worked as a lawyer and tax preparer before running for public office. He lives in Campbellsport.

Grothman issued this statement following his General Election victory:

“Since last April, we have been building a strong grassroots team across the 6th District to share our message of conservative values with voters. I am humbled by the support of so many in our district and I am eager to serve the families, job creators, seniors, students, and small business entrepreneurs I have met along the campaign trail. While I am disappointed in the negative campaigning that took place in this race, I am not one to hold a grudge. I look forward to solving the challenges of Winnebago County and the entire district with the input of County Executive Mark Harris.”

The 6th Congressional District stretches from the North Shore suburbs of Milwaukee up to Manitowoc, through Oshkosh and over to the Wisconsin Dells.

With the exception of two years, the 6th Congressional District seat has been held by a Republican since 1939. Democrat Mark Harris hoped to change that.

Harris' Election Night party was held at the Becket's Restaurant in Oshkosh. He portrayed himself as a moderate, and he said he hoped that would help to attract voters.

Harris voted on Tuesday morning, and then spent the day campaigning at UW-Oshkosh.

He said his Election Night rally was a way to thank his supporters for their work during this campaign.

"Win or lose, I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people for all their efforts and I sure do appreciate it. I think we ran an excellent race in a district that nobody thought we could win. I'm proud of the race we ran. I'm proud of all the newspaper endorsements we gathered and I'm still county executive. I go back -- and who knows? Someday there might be another race. This is all part of the democratic process. And if you believe in the process, you have to accept both defeat and you have to accept victories as they come. This was a defeat -- but it's part of the process. The public has its way and that's the way it's supposed to be," Harris said.

Grothman spent Election Night at the Holiday Inn in Fond du Lac.

"We are encouraged by the results so far. We have a long night ahead, but we are glad that voters are flocking to Glenn's message of smaller government, limited government and conservative values, and we hope that they'll choose to send him to Washington," Grothman campaign spokesman Andy Post said earlier Tuesday.

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