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Saturday, May 25, 2024

State Democrats, including Deb Andraca, flipped two Assembly seats in the Milwaukee suburbs while Republicans gained two Senate seats. 

Democrats fend off veto-proof Republican majority in state elections

With almost all precincts reporting, it appears Wisconsin Democrats have stopped Republicans from securing a veto-proof supermajority in the state legislature.

As of Wednesday evening, the Senate looks likely to have a 21-12 Republican majority, a two-seat net gain for Republicans statewide. The Assembly also looks to have a strong Republican majority of 61-38, although Democrats appear to have picked up two seats. 

To gain a supermajority, the GOP would have needed to flip three Assembly and three Senate seats. That two-thirds majority in both chambers would have allowed Republicans to override vetoes by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, and control the state’s upcoming redistricting process. 

The crucial stop in the Senate came in the 32nd District, where Democratic candidate Brad Pfaff declared victory over former Sen. Dan Kapanke, by less than a percentage point with all precincts reporting.  

“I am honored by the outpouring of support from residents in every corner of the 32nd Senate District,” Pfaff said in a statement. “Today is a new day, and I’m eager to bring together families and communities so we can refocus on our shared values and overcome the challenges facing our state.”

Pfaff, who was previously rejected by the Senate as Evers’ appointment for Agriculture Secretary, fills the seat left open by former Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, who resigned last May.

Republicans picked up two crucial seats elsewhere in the state. In the 10th Senate District, Rep. Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond, defeated incumbent Sen. Patty Schactner, D-Somerset, by a margin of about 20 percentage points. Stafsholt’s win is a rebound from 2018, when Schactner flipped the district blue.

Republicans also flipped the 30th Senate District, where Republican candidate and lawyer Eric Wimberger defeated Democratic De Pere City Council Member Jonathan Hansen by just under 10 percentage points. The seat opened when current Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, the uncle of Jonathan Hansen, announced he was not seeking another term.

In a statement, Hansen said, “Despite the disappointment, we must live by Wisconsin's motto and move Forward in our fight for a brighter future for all Wisconsinites. I would like to congratulate Attorney Wimberger on his victory, and I wish him the very best in his service to the district.”

Despite Democratic spending in the 8th Senate District, long-serving Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, fought off Democratic challenger Neal Plotkin with just over 54 percent of the vote. 

Outsider spending on legislative races reached $8.2 million as of Monday, with Democratic groups outspending Republican groups, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

In the 26th district, which includes the UW-Madison campus, Democratic candidate Kelda Helen Roys ran unopposed after winning a crowded primary in August. She replaces Sen. Fred Risser, the longest-serving legislator in American history

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Democrats gained two seats in the Assembly. In the 23rd Assembly District, Democrat Deb Andraca of Whitefish Bay defeated incumbent Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, by just over three percentage points.

Likewise, in the 13th Assembly District, Democrat Sara Rodriguez of Brookfield is poised to defeat Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, by about two percentage points.  

Both districts represent suburban Ozaukee and Waukesha counties, which Democrats had been eyeing as potential gains. 

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the 24th District, where incumbent Republican Daniel Knodl is currently ahead of Democrat Emily Siegrist with just over 51 percent of the votes. 

The AP has also not declared a winner in the 73rd District, where incumbent Democrat Nick Milroy is ahead of Republican Keith Kern with a smaller percentage of 50.2 percent of the votes. 

Democratic Samba Baldeh defeated Republican Samuel Anderson in the 48th District, which encompasses North and East Madison, with nearly 80 percent of the votes. Baldeh will be the first Muslim elected to the legislature.

The vacant seat in the 76th District was secured by Democrat Francesca Hong over Republican Patrick Hull with 88 percent of the votes. Hong will be the first Asian American to serve in the legislature.

In the 77th and 78th Districts, Democrats Sheila Stubbs and Lisa Subeck ran unopposed. In the 79th District, Democrat Dianne Hesselbein defended her seat with 67 percent of the votes against Republican Victoria Fueger.

Full Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly Results are available at WPR

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Emma Grenzebach

state news writer

Tyler Katzenberger

Tyler Katzenberger is the managing editor at The Daily Cardinal. As a former state news editor, he covered numerous protests and wrote state politics, healthcare, business and in-depth stories. Follow him on Twitter at @TylerKatzen.

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