Written by Jordan Lamb and Wes Webendorfer, DeWitt Ross & Stevens.
(**Please note that this report is based on projected results.)
The undoubtedly historic 2016 election is in the books and the State of Wisconsin shocked the nation and became a “red” state at the top of the ticket with a surprising Wisconsin win for Donald Trump. Trump carried all but 13 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. The counties that Trump lost include Milwaukee, Dane, Rock, Green, Iowa, Sauk, Portage, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Menominee, Ashland, Bayfield and Douglas.
The U.S. Senate closed the night maintaining their Republican majority and the Republicans also held the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. had the same party majority in both houses and the White House last in 2009, when that majority was Democratic and Barack Obama was President. In fact, only 13 times since 1945 have both branches of Congress and the Presidency been controlled by the same party.
Wisconsin Voter Turnout
Although more than 800,000 absentee ballots were cast before election day began in Wisconsin, and more than 2.9 million voters cast ballots in the presidential race, overall voter turnout in Wisconsin was much lower than expected. If the numbers hold, overall voter turnout in Wisconsin was at a 20-year low.
U.S. Senate – Republican Control
The Republicans maintained control of the U.S. Senate 51-47. In Wisconsin, incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson defeated challenger and former Democratic Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. Despite all the surprises in the election, these results were not surprising given that the race has been neck and neck in recent weeks.
U.S. House of Representatives – Republican Control
Speaker Paul Ryan and the Congressional Republicans held onto their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives now holding a majority of 236 Republicans to 191 Democrats.
Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District. Of Wisconsin’s eight Congressional Districts, only one, the Eighth Congressional District, was competitive in this election. Mike Gallagher (R) and Tom Nelson (D) battled for the open 8th Congressional seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R). Republican candidate, Mike Gallagher prevailed. Mr. Gallagher is a former Marine and Gov. Walker presidential campaign staffer. Tom Nelson is the Outagamie County Executive.
Wisconsin Legislature — Senate and Assembly Remain in Republican Control
Not surprisingly, the Wisconsin State Legislature maintained a Republican majority in both houses but what was surprising was that the State Senate Republicans ended election night increasing their majority by one seat. They now enjoy a 20-13 Republican-Democratic split (assuming incumbent Democratic Senator Shilling survives any potential recount). The Assembly heads into the 2017 session with a 64-35 Republican majority.
18th Senate District Stays Republican: In the open 18th Senate District, Dan Feyen (R) pulled off a somewhat surprising victory over Mark Harris (D). The 18th District was formerly held by the late Senator Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac).
14th Senate District Held by Republican Incumbent Senator Luther Olsen: In a heated contest, incumbent Republican Senator Luther Olsen easily held his seat in the 14th Senate District against challenger, Brian Smith.
24th Senate District Flips – Democrat Lassa Loses to Republican Testin: In a shocking upset, newcomer Patrick Testin defeated Democratic incumbent Senator, Julie Lassa in the 24th Senate District. Republican Pat Testin, chairman of the Portage County GOP and a sales rep for a Wisconsin-based wine distributor defeated incumbent Senator Julie Lassa (D). With 94 percent of precincts in, Testin had 41,648 votes, or 53 percent, while Lassa had 37,344 votes, or 47 percent.
32nd Senate District Vote May Require Recount: As of this writing, incumbent Democratic State Senator Jennifer Shilling has declared victory with a 58-vote lead over challenger and former Republican State Senator Dan Kapanke out of 83,691 votes cast. It is unclear whether a recount will happen in this District.
Surprise Win in 92nd Assembly District for Assembly Republicans: Wisconsin’s Republican majority in the Assembly picked up a surprise win in the 92nd AD, where Republican Trieg Pronschinske beat incumbent Dem Rep. Chris Danou, of Trempealeau, with 52 percent of the vote.
Novak Holds 51st Assembly District for Republicans: Freshman State Representative Todd Novak, who was considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent heading into Election Day, won re-election.
Legislative Caucuses Start This Week
The Senate Republicans kicked off the 2017 session early with their first partisan caucus on Thursday, November 10th. Senator Scott Fitzgerald was reelected as the Senate Majority Leader. The Assembly Republicans will caucus on Monday, November 14 and the Senate Democrats will meet on Tuesday, November 15.