The Dean campaign made its last stand in Wisconsin. "Wisconsin voters have a history of bucking conventional wisdom and electing underdog candidates," stated a February 10 2004 memo from Dean Wisconsin State Director Michael Tate. By the time the February 17 primary arrived, Dean, the erstwhile frontrunner, was a decided underdog after a string of losses. The campaign had been organizing in Wisconsin since August, and put significant resources into the state in the closing weeks, but Dean finished third and withdrew the next day. Sen. John Kerry, riding on electability and endorsements, wrapped up another victory, finishing first in most of the state's 72 counties. In Milwaukee County, the most populous county, Kerry finished 18,517 votes ahead of Edwards out of 189,135 votes cast. In Dane County (Madison) Kerry finished 4,217 votes ahead out of 125,363 votes cast. Sen. John Edwards, benefitting from the endorsements of the Capital Times (Feb. 14, 2004) and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Feb. 16, 2004), came in a strong second, finishing ahead in a dozen counties, the largest of which were Waukesha, Sheboygan, and LaCrosse. (Kerry and Edwards tied in Clark county). Gen. Wesley Clark, who withdrew on February 11, had built up a strong organization in the state chaired by Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton.
Copyright © 2004 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.