Quantcast
Home / Government / Democrats flip usually conservative Wisconsin district

Democrats flip usually conservative Wisconsin district

By TODD RICHMOND
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A surprising Democratic upset in a conservative Wisconsin Senate district where voters overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump just 14 months ago has raised liberal hopes of more election success this fall.

Patty Schachtner’s victory over an incumbent Republican state representative in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District follows a series of Democratic wins throughout the country. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is up for re-election to a third term in November, took note, posting on Twitter minutes after Schachtner’s win that it was a “wake up call for Republicans in Wisconsin.”

Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner and Somerset school board member, won a surprising electoral victory on Tuesday, defeating state Rep. Adam Jarchow in a special election for a Wisconsin state Senate seat. (Patty for Senate Campaign via AP)

Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner and a Somerset school board member, won a surprising electoral victory on Tuesday, defeating state Rep. Adam Jarchow in a special election for a Wisconsin state Senate seat. (Patty for Senate Campaign via AP)

Schachtner took 55 percent of the vote to Jarchow’s 44 percent, according to unofficial returns. Schachtner, who entered the race in northwestern Wisconsin as the clear underdog, attributed her stunning victory over Rep. Adam Jarchow to what she called a “kind campaign.”

“People sent a message tonight: We don’t want to be negative anymore,” she said Tuesday. “Change it up. … My message has always been be kind, be considerate and we need to help people when they’re down.”

The flip is particularly notable in Wisconsin, where Democratic numbers are at their lowest since 1971 in the state Senate and 1957 in the Assembly. As to whether her victory could be a harbinger of more Democratic wins, Schachtner said simply: “It certainly could be.”

Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Martha Laning was more effusive, posting on Facebook following Schachtner’s win that a “change is coming!!!”

Democrats have already made big gains elsewhere, including picking up 15 seats in the Virginia state House in November, and in Alabama, where Doug Jones captured a U.S. Senate seat last month.

In the past two weeks, well-known Republicans have passed up Senate races in North Dakota and Minnesota even though they would have been pursuing what are commonly thought to be easy seats for their party to win. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty cited the tough outlook as one reason for skipping a run to replace former Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat.

Democrats still have a long way to go in Wisconsin. Even with Schachtner’s win, Republicans hold an 18-14 majority in the state Senate. The Senate now has one open seat, but Walker has refused to call a special election it, meaning it will remain unfilled all year until a replacement is chosen in the fall. The November election will determine control of the state Legislature.

The state Senate district Schachtner won has trended red for years. Mitt Romney won it by 6 points in 2012 and Trump won it by 17 points in 2016. Former Republican Rep. Sheila Harsdorf held the seat from 2001 until November when she resigned to become agriculture secretary under Walker.

But Democrats banked that an anti-Trump backlash could even the playing field. Republicans sensed it, too. The conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and the Republican State Leadership Committee both ran ads supporting Jarchow and Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who is running for U.S. Senate, traveled to the district to campaign for him.

Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner and a Somerset school board member who appeared in an episode of “Wife Swap” in 2006, didn’t appear to want to talk much about what her win could mean for Democrats throughout Wisconsin and the country, saying “right now I’m just focused on District 10.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*