Every election provides opportunities for new individuals to represent their neighbors in Madison. While incumbents always have a distinct advantage, retirements and surprises are a regular occurrence. The 2018 elections were no different as there will be three new State Senators and 13 new State Representatives. Among the incumbents who lost, all three were Democrats: State Senator Caleb Frostman lost re-election after winning a special election in June and Reps. Josh Zepnick and Fred Kessler lost primaries in August. The three new State Senators are all Republicans who were State Representatives before: Kathy Bernier, Andre Jacque, and Dale Kooyenga.
Nationally, at least 21 House Republicans, 1 Senate Republican, and 3 Senate Democrats lost in November. Incumbents have been re-elected easily in modern elections. The lowest incumbency re-election rate for House Members in the last 50 years came in 2010 when only 85 percent of incumbents were sent back to office. There are many reasons for this high re-election rate. One is that during redistricting maps are drawn to benefit incumbents in both parties and therefore they will have a partisan lock on the district until retirement. Some others include wide name recognition and they possess a large advantage in campaign funds.
Here are a few of the new representatives in Madison:
|Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc)
Kurtz replaces Ed Brooks in the 50th Assembly District after defeating credit union employee Art Shrader (D). He served as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army for 20 years before making his home in Western Wisconsin. Tony first ran for office in 2014 against Ron Kind (D).
|Kalan Haywood (D-Milwaukee)
Haywood holds the distinction of being the youngest lawmaker in Wisconsin at only 19 years old. Haywood prevailed in a five-way primary election in August and had no Republican challenger. His father is a prominent real estate developer in Milwaukee. Wisconsin could hold the distinction of having the youngest and oldest lawmakers; Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) is 91.
|Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomwoc)
Dittrich succeeds Joel Kleefisch after he retires this cycle. She is a lifetime resident of Southeastern Wisconsin and lives with her husband of over 25 years in Oconomowoc. After working in the investment industry for 13 years, Dittrich founded a charitable non-profit serving the parents of children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Serving as the organization's executive director for 15 years, she has recently assumed the title Director of Education in a non-profit merger.
|Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison)
Stubbs will be the first African-American to represent the City of Madison in the State Assembly. For the last 12 years, she has served on the Dane County Board. A former probation and parole officer, Stubbs earned undergraduate degrees from Tougaloo College in Mississippi and Mount Senario College in Ladysmith and has a MS from Cardinal Stritch University. In addition, Stubbs has served on the Long Term Care Committee, the Monona Terrace Board of Directors, the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Board of Directors, and the Alliant Energy Center Commission.