Wisconsin Republicans Recapture State Senate

After losing control of the State Senate earlier this year thanks to recall elections, Wisconsin Republicans promptly won it back yesterday:

Madison – Republicans recaptured the state Senate on Tuesday, once again giving them the complete control of state government that they used to enact sweeping changes in the last legislative session.

But their margin and sway in the upper house remained unclear because of a tight race in east central Wisconsin. Whether Republicans have a one- or two-seat majority in the Senate is pivotal because GOP Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center has bucked his party on some key issues. Among the issues Republicans hope to take up in the next two-year session is loosening mining regulations – a proposal Schultz has resisted.

The fight over the Senate comes down to the race between Sen. Jessica King (D-Oshkosh) and Fond du Lac Common Council President Rick Gudex.

With 75% of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Gudex had 53% of the vote. Both sides said the outcome was uncertain because some votes still had not been tallied from Oshkosh, a Democratic stronghold.

Some discussed a potential recount – a possibility that would echo the race for the seat four years ago.

This in a state that the President won by 200,000 votes.


FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Rob in CT says:

    Well, while I’m not fan of Walker, I think I can understand the thinking of an Obama voter who voted R at the state level in Wisconsin.

    After all, that’s exactly what I did yesterday here in CT. Neither R running for state rep/state senate is a wingnut. They do, of course, argue in general for spending restraint and lower taxes. Context matters. CT is run by the Dems and has high spending/high taxes in comparison to other states. In that context, I was happy to be able to vote R (again: I checked these ladies out and they are decidedly not wingnuts).

    I suspect there’s a lot of that going on in WI. If so, it rather suggest that screeching about one-party states is, at best, premature.

  2. humanoid.panda says:

    @Rob in CT:
    Actually, the reason repubs won the state senate is that they gerrymandered the hell out of the districts when they had total control of the state government.

  3. rudderpedals says:

    This in a state that the President won by 200,000 votes.

    Indeed. One day when it’s buried and gone we’ll look back on gerrymandering the same way we look upon voter tests and poll taxes and all the other ways of disenfranchising ordinary americans. That time can’t get here fast enough.

  4. @rudderpedals:

    Problem is that it’s rather hard to objectively characterize gerrymandering, so unlike voter testing and poll taxes, there’s no easy solution.

  5. Rob in CT says:


    Well, erm, if so that’s sad. I was putting a more optimistic spin on it.

    Gerrymandering is a tough one. It’s subjective stuff, and even when you bring in a ‘non-partisan’ commission to do it, it’s still a fight. And, as far as I know, that’s a true “both sides do it” issue. And we all lose b/c of it.

  6. SKI says:

    @Stormy Dragon: it’s fairly simple to see its imact though. Compare the total votes for Ds vs. Rs for the House (or state leg.) and see if the districting caused a wildly different result. If one consistently gets a lot more votes and the other gets way more seats, it is a result of gerrymandering. Period.

  7. rudderpedals says:

    SKI notes the proof is in the pudding but I think Stormy’s point about not having certainty prospectively is a concern since someone’s going to have to decide these things and the decider will not leave anything on the table since there’s little in the way of countervailing pushback.

    If only there were some way to force the two parties to deal with it as a cake sharing challenge. I’m thinking of the exercise where two very young selfish children can fairly split a piece of cake they both want provided that kid A cuts the piece and kid B gets to pick which of the pieces he wants. I’m stretching here assuming both parties can summon the maturity of a typical preschooler.

  8. @SKI:

    Compare the total votes for Ds vs. Rs for the House (or state leg.) and see if the districting caused a wildly different result.

    Yes, but you can only do that after the election, by which point it’s too late to do anything about it.