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Rotunda Report
  • Rotunda Report
    November 11, 2022

    Mixed Results Statewide Yields Status Quo for State Government

    The 2022 general election is finally in the rearview mirror. Government Relations Coordinator Cale Battles gives an overview of the election results and what the state legislature will look like in 2023.

    Cale Battles

    Election 2022 buttons

    Nov. 9, 2022 – Following and making sense of elections in Wisconsin is kind of like riding a roller-coaster. The ups and downs and twist and turns (along with the blitz of campaign advertising) can make you a bit queasy. True to form, Wisconsin continued its tradition of extremely close statewide elections. Political parties from both sides can point to gains, and yet both can also point to disappointments. Wisconsin produced some of the most unique, confounding and unexpected election results in the nation, all while demonstrating a preference for the familiar by retaining several statewide incumbents.

    Wisconsin was not alone during the midterm election cycle — along with a handful of other states, ticket splitters or ticket skippers created mixed results at the top of the ticket for each political party. The two Democratic incumbents, Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both won their respective races against Republican businessman Tim Michels and Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney. On the Republican side, incumbent U.S. Senator Ron Johnson won his statewide election against Democrat Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes.

    In the other two statewide races, margins were especially close with one race still too close to call. Republican attorney John Leiber beat his Democratic challenger, Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson, in the campaign for State Treasurer. In the Secretary of State race, Democratic incumbent Doug La Follette currently leads State Representative Amy Loudenbeck by just over 1,300 with votes still outstanding. The race could potentially go to recount once the results are certified over the next few days.

    GOP Adds to Majorities in Senate and Assembly

    Cale Battles 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.

    As expected, both Republicans added to their growing majorities in both the Senate and the Assembly. Favorable open seats and newly drawn district lines from the once every 10 years redistricting process allowed the Senate GOP to add one new seat and three additional Republican seats in the Assembly. With the one additional seat, the Senate now holds a supermajority in the Senate for the 2023-24 session with 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats. The supermajority in the Senate could be used to override any veto made by Governor Evers. In the Assembly, the three additional GOP victories fell short of the necessary numbers to reach the supermajority threshold. Assembly Republicans will still hold a sizeable 64 to 35 member advantage.

    Number of Lawyer Legislators Continue to Decline

    The 2022 election had a near-record 31 legislators opting either not to run for reelection or to run for a different elective office. Along with having almost one-fourth of the legislative body being completely new, there will also be a decline of lawmakers that are attorneys. A total of 10 of the 132 legislators have a background as attorneys. There is a total of seven attorneys serving over the next two years in the Assembly (six Democrats and one Republican): Ron Tusler (R-Harrison); Marisabel Cabrera (D-Milwaukee); Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska); Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee); Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg); Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee); and Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha).

    Meanwhile, three attorneys will serve in the upper chamber beginning in January (one Republican and two Democrats), Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay), Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), and Kelda Roys (D-Madison).

    Inauguration Day for the 2023-24 legislative session is scheduled for January 3, 2023.

    Legal Voices Needed to Advocate for Profession

    With almost a quarter of the legislature turning over and the limited number of attorneys in the legislature, the need for State Bar members to engage in legislative advocacy has never been more important. The State Bar’s Grassroots and Advocacy program is actively seeking members willing to participate in the legislative process. This is your opportunity as a leader in the profession to engage and assist in the education process of legislators on what you do and see as an attorney every day in your practice and in your profession. If you are interested in learning more on how you can get involved please contact Devin Martin, Grassroots Outreach Coordinator at

    Please subscribe to the Rotunda Report or follow our State Bar’s Government Relations twitter feed @SBWRotundaRpt for articles and updates on the upcoming legislative session.

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