In a high profile central Wisconsin assembly race last night, a popular conservative talk show host was defeated by a soft spoken grade school teacher.
The chant, "Mandy! Mandy!" went up at Wausau's Labor Temple for the 85th Assembly District winner: sixth-grade teacher Mandy Wright, the unlikely candidate who beat Republican Pat Snyder, a conservative radio firebrand with thousands of listeners. Wright's soft voice was almost drowned out as she told the loud, boisterous crowd, "This is what democracy looks like."
Mandy Wright was a novice who had never entertained political ambitions until this year. She won by knocking on doors and talking to voters one-on-one.
"There are very serious issues confronting our community, and I have met many of those issues individually face to face," she said. "And I know that we need to focus on finding good jobs for people here."
Now Pat Snyder is out of a job. His radio show has been filled by another host. Last night, he admitted that his highly partisan on-air role may have been more of a liability than an asset.
"I think Mandy's message got out a little bit more to more of the people, that she will work with everybody and try to bring some fresh ideas so I congratulate her on that and wish her the best success," he said. "You know, enough of the people in the back of their minds thought, well if he argued on the air, he'll argue down there. It might have been."
The third candidate in this close assembly race, Libertarian Jim Maas, may have been a spoiler by taking three percent of the vote.