Nov. 7, 2018 – After a night of Election Day twists and turns, unofficial election returns showed Democrats sweeping multiple statewide races while Republicans were able to maintain sizable majorities to keep control of the state’s Senate and Assembly.
With a record midterm election turnout, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current State Superintendent Tony Evers unofficially defeated the Republican incumbent Scott Walker in a close race.
In another close race for attorney general, Democratic challenger Josh Kaul narrowly beat Brad Schimel, the Republican incumbent, by just over 20,000 statewide votes. Both the governor race and the attorney general race margins are so close it could trigger statewide recounts, possibly delaying final results.
Cale Battles is a government relations coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. He can be reached by email, or by phone at (608) 250-6077.
While Democrats fared better in statewide races, Republicans continued to succeed in down ticket races. In the state Senate, Republicans were able to gain one seat with a victory in the 1st Senate District moving their majority back to a 19-14 advantage. Assembly Republicans maintained a stronghold in their house by retaining every vulnerable seat and will keep their sizable majority.
Currently, only one seat in the Assembly, the 14th Assembly District, could flip to Democrat control pending final results and an expected recount. If current results in the Assembly hold Republicans would return with a 64-35 seat majority in that chamber.
The 2018 election cycle continued the decline of attorneys serving in the Wisconsin Legislature. Due to retirements and campaign losses, a total of 12 lawyer/legislators will be serving in the legislature for the 2019-20 session. In the 2017-18 session, the number was up to 14 lawyer/legislators, which was up slightly from the 2015-16 and 2013-14 session (13 attorneys), but down from 17 in the 2011-12 session.
There will be 10 attorneys serving over the next two years in the Assembly (seven Democrats and three Republicans):
- Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie);
- Jim Ott (R-Mequon);
- Chris Taylor (D-Madison);
- Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska);
- Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee);
- Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg);
- Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee);
- Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago);
- Ron Tusler (R-Appleton) and
- newcomer Marisabel Cabrera (D-Milwaukee).
Meanwhile, two attorneys will serve in the upper chamber beginning in January: Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee).
Inauguration Day for the 2019-20 legislative session is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2019.