68th Assembly: Bernier wins another term
Nov 07, 2012 (The Leader-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
State Rep. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie won a second two-year term in the 68th Assembly District, defeating challenger Democrat Judy Smriga of Thorp 11,887 to 11,057.
The 68th Assembly District includes portions of Chippewa, Clark, Eau Claire, Jackson and Trempealeau counties.
Bernier -- the former Chippewa County clerk and a former Lake Hallie Village Board member -- was ahead of Smriga in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, according to unofficial returns.
Officials in Clark, Jackson and Trempealeau counties reported final unofficial numbers. Bernier, 56, bested Smriga, 67, in Clark and Jackson counties 2,069 to 1,742 and 291 to 238, respectively. Smriga won Trempealeau County 671 to 575.
"I'm not one to get too hysterical," said Bernier, who had worked a number of elections over the years in her job as county clerk. "I'm just glad to still be in the ball game."
Bernier spent election night traveling to meet with Republicans in Clark, Chippewa and Eau Claire counties.
"I'm just trying to make my way through the heartland," she said from the road.
Smriga couldn't be reached for comment.
In the days leading up to the election, incumbent and challenger knocked on doors, trying to get their messages out to voters in the newly defined 68th Assembly District. Two years ago, the district consisted of portions of Chippewa and Eau Claire counties.
"I tried my best to get to all the areas and do doors," said Bernier, who got out to new portions in the district right away. "If you want to win, you have to work for it. That means you have to get out, talk to people and get to know them."
Two years ago, Bernier defeated incumbent Kristen Dexter by less than 100 votes.
During the 2012 campaign, she said if she was re-elected, job creation, paying down debt and simplifying the tax code were among her priorities.
O'Brien can be reached at 715-830-5838, 800-236-7077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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