Hubbard, Wilson, Zelenkova
Despite an Election Night that was in many ways shocking; generally speaking, the status quo was maintained in Wisconsin. While a few legislators who worked well with WACEP did not run again, the political dynamics and the players who were key allies in supporting our policy positions and successful efforts to increase MA reimbursement in the last budget will be returning.
Governor Evers’ victory, by over three percentage points, marked the first time in thirty-two years that a Wisconsin governor won reelection during a midterm in which the President of the United States was of the same political party. Attorney General Josh Kaul, won reelection in an even tighter race. Democrats – comprising the majority parties in Congress - generally faced strong headwinds: lagging presidential approval ratings, historic trends of voters turning against the party in power at the midterm elections, and of course kitchen table issues like inflation and rising costs. Despite these factors, voter turnout, especially among young voters, was immense and helped level the tide.
In other statewide races, incumbent US Senator Ron Johnson narrowly defeated Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Democrat Doug LaFollette was reelected as Secretary of State by only seven thousand votes. And republican Jon Lieber was elected as State Treasurer by 1.5% points. These very close results again proved that Wisconsin, for statewide races, is a very purple state. That’s not the case however in the state legislature.
Election results in the State Assembly and State Sente were very much what we expected to see. The major question going into the election cycle was whether Tony Evers, if re-elected, would still have enough democrats in at least one house to uphold his vetoes. While republicans expanded their legislative majorities, democrats did manage to protect the democratic governor’s veto power.
In the State Assembly, Republicans expanded their majority to 64-35, two less than what they needed to become “veto proof”. Assembly Democrats lost a net three seats, two open seats in the northern part of the state held by retiring democrats and one incumbent, Rep. Don Vruwink of Milton, who was forced to run in a mostly new area due to redistricting.
In the State Senate, Republicans gained one seat where former state representative Romaine Quinn defeated Kelly Westlund. This victory expanded republican numbers to a 22-11 super majority. Democrats were unable to answer in the open 5th Senate district (Brookfield area) or the open 19th Senate district (Appleton area). Both of those seats were held by republicans and will stay that way.
Overall, there are 24 new members of the state assembly and 4 new members of the state senate (three of whom were previously representatives in the state assembly).
In addition to the US Senate race on the federal level, all congressional republicans were re-elected as were democrats who were running again. Republicans picked up the one open congressional seat where Derick Van Orden defeated Brad Pfaff to replace retiring democrat Ron Kind. The WI congressional delegation is now comprised of six republicans and two democrats in the House of Representatives.
Inauguration and the start of the 2023-2024 Wisconsin legislative session will be in early January. If you are not sure who your state legislators are, please follow this link https://legis.wisconsin.gov and enter your address at “Who are my Legislators?”