Democrat Jeff Smith was leading Republican Mel Pittman Tuesday night in his attempt to return to the state Legislature in the 31st Senate District race.
Smith led Pittman 34,732 to 28,863 with 160 of 185 precincts reporting
Green Party candidate Aaron Camacho of Fountain City was third with 1,461 votes.
Smith, 63, served two terms as a state representative from the 93rd Assembly District from 2007-11.
Before joining the Assembly, Smith was the Brunswick Town Board chairman from 2001-07.
Pittman, 63, a Plum City dairy farmer, also ran unsuccessfully for the 31st Senate District seat in 2014.
Pittman is a former 12-year member of the Pierce County Board.
During the campaign, Smith, an organizer for the Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative of Western Wisconsin, and Pittman both cited their experience to make them the best option for district voters.
“I have had quite a bit of business experience,” Pittman said during the campaign.
Pittman said he also focused on budget issues while a member of the Pierce County Board and worked with people as a member of the state board of directors for Farm Technology Days and as chairman of his dairy cooperative’s board of directors.
“I can relate to people,” Pittman said. “I get things done. If it’s possible to get it done, it gets done.”
Smith said “my experience is the most important piece I have going for me.”
As a former state legislator, Smith said he worked with everyone. He said he made a strong effort to talk with Republican members of the Assembly as well as Democrats.
“I got their ideas too,” Smith said of Republicans. “That’s what we have to do to get things done. I know what it takes to get things done. I can be trusted. I stand up to the special interests for the better good.”
The 31st Senate District consists of most of the city of Eau Claire and all or parts of Eau Claire, Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo, Trempealeau and Jackson counties.