After pundits on both sides of the aisle expected there to be a “red wave” across the country boosting Republicans to office and majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, voters decided they didn’t want much change at all. Here in Wisconsin, this was even more pronounced as the GOP made minimal gains and we are still left with split government in Madison.
Many expected Republicans to take control of the U.S. Senate with at least 51 seats and perhaps as many as 54 on a “wave” night. At time of writing, there are three states outstanding with one leaning Democrat (Arizona), one leaning Republican (Nevada), and one heading to a runoff election in December (Georgia). Should results hold in Arizona and Nevada, all the focus will be on Georgia to decide who control the upper chamber. Here in Wisconsin, Senator Ron Johnson (R) was re-elected over Mandela Barnes (D) by a slim margin.
The House is still up for grabs. Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District elected Republican Derrick Van Orden over Democrat Brad Pfaff, giving the GOP a net gain of one seat in the state. The result was much closer than expected after National Democrats abandoned Pfaff in October and canceled TV ads. Overall, Republicans should take the majority once all the seats are declared, albeit a much slimmer margin than anticipated.
At the state level, Wisconsin Republicans increased majorities in both the Senate and Assembly, though will fall short of a supermajority in the Assembly. In the Fox Cities, no seats changed hands.
While it is not shocking that Governor Tony Evers was re-elected last night, it was perhaps shocking how early the race was deemed over. The wide margin in Dane County for Evers ended up being too much for Tim Michels to overcome in the rest of the state. Republicans were successful in flipping the State Treasurer’s office – a position with no official duties.
So at least in Wisconsin, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to end up (mostly) in the same place politically as we were on November 7th. The real winners of this election cycle were TV and radio stations and political consultants.
The deadline for candidates to apply for ballot access for the 2023 Spring Election is only 53 days away. Enjoy your holiday break from political ads as they’ll start in force for an extremely important Wisconsin Supreme Court race in the New Year.