Governor Walker Denied Third Term, Republicans Maintain Control of Legislature
State Superintendent Tony Evers scored a major victory over Governor Scott Walker on Tuesday, ending Republicans trifecta control over the state since 2011. Democrats were helped by large turnouts in Madison and Milwaukee where Evers ran up the vote count over Walker. The 67-year-old Evers is now 4-0 in statewide elections, having previously won three nonpartisan state superintendent contests. On the ticket with Evers was former state Representative Mandela Barnes, who will take office as the state’s 45th Lieutenant Governor. Walker lost by 1.2% but did not yet concede. He is waiting for the official canvass and count of military ballots.
The race for Attorney General also went to the Democrats but a recount is possible because the vote difference was less than 1%. Republican incumbent Brad Schimel was defeated by former federal prosecutor Josh Kaul, 49.54% to 48.68%. Capping off the Democratic wins at the top-of-ticket was incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, who easily defeated Republican challenger Leah Vukmir, garnering 55% the vote to Vukmir’s 45%.
In the state legislative races Republicans exceeded expectations and surprised some political observers by not losing a single seat in the Assembly (Republican Matt Adamczyk in the 14th AD holds 21 vote lead) and picking up one seat in the Senate. Going into the election, talk of a blue wave all year had raised Democrat’s expectations but the wave never materialized. Assembly Republicans will return with an unchanged 64-35 advantage. On the Senate side, Republicans increased their majority by one seat, from 18-15 to 19-14. State Rep. Andre Jacque defeated incumbent Democrat Caleb Frostman in a re-match for the 1st Senate District, while the GOP managed to hold two open seats, the 23rd Senate District in the Chippewa Valley and 5th Senate District in Waukesha County, where Republican state Reps. Kathy Bernier and Dale Kooyenga were victorious. Two Republican incumbents targeted by the Democrats, Howard Marklein in the 17th Senate District and Roger Roth in the 9th Senate District, won re-election, while Democrat Janet Bewley survived a strong challenge by her well-funded Republican opponent James Bolen for the 25th Senate District in northern Wisconsin. In the 31st Senate District, open due to Democrat Kathleen Vinehout running for governor, former state Rep. Jeff Smith defeated Republican Mel Pittman.