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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Republicans fall short of legislative supermajority

Democrats held on to key seats despite Republican gains, preventing a GOP supermajority that would have allowed Republicans to pass bills without Gov. Tony Evers’ input.

Democrats retained vulnerable seats in districts across the state in the 2022 elections to hold off a Republican supermajority in the Wisconsin Legislature, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Republicans flipped Senate District 25 in far northwestern Wisconsin to secure a two-thirds majority in the State Senate, where Republican Romaine Quinn narrowly defeated Democrat Kelly Westlund to replace outgoing Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, according to results from the Journal Sentinel.

However, Republicans picked up just three Assembly seats, according to the Journal Sentinel, leaving a complete legislative supermajority out of reach. Republicans needed to flip five Assembly districts to win a two-thirds majority in the Assembly.

Two of the flips came in northwestern Wisconsin, where Republican Chanz Green defeated Democrat John Adams in Assembly District 74 and Republican Angie Sapik bested Democrat Laura Gapske in Assembly District 73. Redistricting added a part of Douglas County to AD 74, which voted for Green by 14% while the county as a whole supported Gov. Tony Evers by nearly 15 points.

Avoiding a GOP supermajority in the legislature was crucial for Wisconsin Democrats. A veto-proof supermajority would have allowed Republicans to pass bills without Evers’ input as well as shift the state’s budget to favor an agenda focused on tax cuts, reduced welfare program funding and other GOP priorities. 

Other notable Assembly results include Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) retaining his seat in District 94 despite new district boundaries slightly favoring the GOP and Republican Tom Michalski’s win over Democrat Sarah Harrison in District 13, a district formerly held by Lt. Gov.-elect Sara Rodriguez. 

Harrison spokesperson Kevin Kopplin called Assembly District 13 “the poster district for gerrymandering in Wisconsin” in a statement to the Daily Cardinal. The district’s partisan lean swung nearly 16% toward Republicans in the latest redistricting cycle, according to the Journal Sentinel

Democratic holds include four-term incumbent Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) keeping her seat in central Wisconsin Assembly District 71 and Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha) earning a second term in Assembly District 64, a district lodged between the cities of Kenosha and Racine.

Oshkosh mayor Democrat Lori Palmeri also won in Assembly District 54, the seat formerly held by Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, who decided not to seek reelection.

Republicans are poised to hold two key seats in the Senate. Ron Hutton leads Jessica Katzenmeyer in the race to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Dale Kooyenga in District 5, and Republican Rep. Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton) beat Democrat Kristin Alfheim in District 19. 

Cabral-Guevara replaces Republican incumbent Roger Roth, who decided to run for lieutenant governor alongside Tim Michels. 

Republicans held a 21-12 majority in the Senate and a 57-38 majority in the Assembly heading into Tuesday’s election.

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Several Assembly districts have yet to fully report their vote totals, according to the Journal Sentinel.

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