I haven’t lived in Wisconsin in three years now. Still, few things in politics make me happier than Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans failing. WI Senate District 1 flipped 21 points red to blue last night from 2016 (and 26 from the 2014 gubernatorial campaign). This is particularly gratifying because Scott Walker has been panicking for a while now about a coming blue wave in the state, going so far as to try to hold up special elections to replace two Republicans and functionally leaving those legislative areas without full political representation for a year because he was worried about precisely this sort of result:
“In a district that President Trump took in 2016 by a 56-38 margin in 2016, and that Walker took in 2014 by a 61-38 margin, Democrat Caleb Frostman won Tuesday’s special election that the governor tried to block….Frostman, a local economic development official, mounted a spirited progressive campaign against a right-wing Republican. While his opponent touted a record of helping Walker advance an agenda of social conservatism and union bashing, the Democrat campaigned as a supporter of reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and labor rights.
Frostman told voters that: “It is time for our state to prioritize public education, repair our broken infrastructure, protect our public lands, and advance policies that help people succeed, like access to affordable healthcare and childcare.” Running in a waterfront district that is a popular vacation spot, he put particular emphasis on clean water and environmental issues, declaring that he would fight to “(conserve) the natural areas that make our corner of Wisconsin so incredibly special.”
The voters agreed, flipping a district that the Republican candidate won by 23 points in 2014 to one where Frostman prevailed by three points. The dramatic swing was the first Democratic win for the seat since the “Watergate election” of 1974.
The Republican Senate advantage is down to just 18-15. And Democrats have already identified the two seats they think they can flip in November and take the chamber.”
It’s worth admitting that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has badly bungled state elections for the better part of a decade, and that there are more than a dozen candidates (many of them very bad) involved in the Democratic primary to face Walker. Were I betting, I would wager that Walker will win reelection. But I also think that there is a real possibility that even if he wins, Republicans lose their majority in the state Senate and full Republican control in the state (which has been nearly as bad for the state as full Republican control in Washington has been for the country) will be no more.