William Penterman

William Penterman

A field of eight Republican candidates was narrowed to one Tuesday in a partisan primary for a special election in Assembly District 37.

William Penterman, 25, of Columbus holds a 16-vote lead at 758 votes over the next closest candidate Jennifer Meinhardt of Watertown at 742.

Meinhardt did not reply to an email to her campaign website Wednesday, as to whether she might request a recount.

Here are the totals for the other candidates: Cathy Houchin of Watertown, 281; Steve Kauffeld of Watertown, 514; Nick Krueger of Watertown, 621; Nathan Pollnow of Reeseville, 536; Jenifer Quimby of Waterloo, 434; and Spencer Zimmerman of Janesville, 39.

What placed Penterman over the top Tuesday? He said it was simply going door to door and meeting the voters face to face.

“Voters want to know who is running,” he said early Wednesday evening. “They want to see their elected officials. They want those who are running to listen to their concerns and have a good conversation with them. Since the election was called, I have been knocking on doors. I think that did it.”

He said what also helped were voters wanting to see a “fresh face” representing the Republican Party and its values.

“Voters want someone who represents their conservative values. They want someone concerned for the next generation,” he said. “I’m out working hard and showing conservative values are alive and well. I’ve always been a hard worker. I may not be the loudest one in the room, but I get the job done when it’s needed. I keep my nose to the grindstone and work.”

Penterman also said it was the issues that earned him the victory Tuesday over Meinhardt.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, there was a lot of government overreach. Too much of it,” he said. “People are sick of their personal liberties and freedoms being trampled on. They want someone to stand up for their beliefs, liberties and, more importantly, the U.S. Constitution.”

Penterman has lived in the 37th Assembly District for three years and is married to Abby Penterman.

His educational background consists of a bachelor of arts degree from Ripon College.

His professional background consists of being an MP in the U.S. Army for four years. He is currently a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

Penterman is a member of the Kiwanis Club in Columbus, is treasurer at Zion Lutheran Church in Columbus, and regularly donates blood through the American Red Cross.

His political experience includes his work at the Wisconsin State Capitol as a staffer for two years, during which he served as the chief of staff for Rep. Ron Tusler and served as the committee clerk of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections during the Dec. 11 election investigation hearing.

Tuesday’s results are unofficial until formally canvassed.

The vacancy was created when John Jagler won his own special election in April to the State Senate.

If these numbers are made official, Penterman will go on to face Democrat Pete Adams of Columbus and Independent candidate Stephen Ratzlaff Jr. of DeForest on July 13.

The 37th Assembly District is bordered on the west by DeForest, on the east by Oconomowoc, the north by Columbus and the south by Waterloo and Watertown.

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