Split Government in Wisconsin Continues 

Rep. Kind Wins and the Wisconsin Legislature Stays in GOP Hands

The state of Wisconsin took center stage in a showdown that places election margins for president and several other local contests on a razor’s edge. Wisconsin Democrats had a major funding and polling advantage that yielded little change in six months on both a state-wide and local scale with Democrats spending 4-1 in some parts of the state.   

Voter turnout appears to have exceeded the 2012 high of 3.1 million people and late absentee ballots in urban areas propelled Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump in a harrowing media-fueled clash where many expected different results. As of 8 a.m. this morning, Biden maintained a lead of approximately 20,750 votes or 0.63 percentage points. A recount is not automatic in Wisconsin, but the second-place candidate can request one. The campaign doesn’t have to pay for the cost of the count if the margin is within .25 percentage points.  

Congressman Ron Kind held on in a close race, beating Derrick Van Orden in the 3rd Congressional District (La Crosse/Western Wisconsin) by 11,000 votes. Kind released a statement trumpeting his future work: “I am committed to fighting for the farmers, veterans, families, businesses, and workers who move our state forward.” The banking industry is counting on Kind, who supported a tax fairness measure (ECORA) to continue his work next Congress.  

The other Wisconsin Congressional races mainly hit the mark of predictability and current Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald easily won his race and will replace Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner

Wisconsin continues to hold on to its purple battleground reputation nationally but voted locally to hold on to incumbents giving Republicans a continued strong hold on the legislature. There were no major upsets, simply many close races that will set the stage for future elections to promote early/absentee voting. 

The Wisconsin state Senate Republicans increased their majority by winning seats in the Northwestern part of the state (Rob Stafsholt) and in Brown County (Eric Wimberger) and held on to a key seat in the Milwaukee area held by Sen. Alberta Darling.  

Republicans in the Assembly maintained a commanding majority of 61 seats (before recounts and the final canvas), but Assembly Democrats look to pick up two seats in suburban Milwaukee. As of this morning, Democrat challenger Sara Rodriguez was at 51 percent and sitting Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, was at 49 percent. While Democrat Candidate Deb Andraca was leading Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) 2 percent.  

In what looked to be a potential recount, Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range) was leading challenger Republican Keith Kern, by only 139 votes.  

The WBA Advocacy Team is preparing a video and preliminary analysis about how the elections are likely to impact the banking industry on local, state, and federal levels. It will be sent around once it’s available.