Democrats see mixed results in their uphill special election challenges
After courts ordered Gov. Scott Walker to call two new special elections, Democrats were able to pick up a surprising victory in the state Senate, while losing an opportunity to bolster their minority in the Assembly.Image By: Katie Scheidt
Tuesday’s two special elections brought contradictory evidence to those hoping to glean which party is building momentum heading into the November midterms.
In a surprise victory for Democrats, Caleb Frostman defeated state Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, to represent the 1st Senate District, while Republican Jon Plumer maintained his party’s control of the 42nd Assembly District from a challenge by Democrat Ann Graves Lloyd.
Both the 1st and 42nd were seen as Republican strongholds heading into 2018, as President Donald Trump won them by 18 and 14 points respectively in the 2016 election.
“Voters in the 1st Senate District have made it clear that they want to improve the opportunities for everyone in our area to succeed,” Frostman said in a statement. “Whether that is through more investment in public schools and technical colleges, increasing access to affordable healthcare, improving our aging infrastructure, or conserving the natural areas that make our corner of Wisconsin so incredible.”
Frostman’s victory came as even more of a surprise for some, since the former head of the Door County Economic Development Corporation did not come into the race with nearly as much name recognition as his opponent, a sitting state legislator.
But Democratic hope for a “blue wave” was tapered by Lloyd’s eight-point defeat in the 42nd district, showing that there may be a ceiling on the party’s string of recent special election upsets.
Even the pickup in the state Senate may be short lived, as Frostman must begin immediately campaigning for the seat he just won, which will appear on the ballot again in November.
“Our work doesn’t stop here,” Frostman said. “The fall elections will change the future of our state and I hope my support network will grow as we work to get re-elected in the fall.”
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