In special elections on Tuesday, Republicans won one and lost one as Democrats took a step closer to regaining control of the Wisconsin Senate.
State Rep. André Jacque (R-De Pere) was defeated by Caleb Frostman in Senate District 1, 51 to 49 percent, in a district President Donald Trump won 56 percent to 39 percent in 2016. Much of Frostman’s victory could be attributed to the margin of victory in Door County, his home county which is considered a swing county in the district. However, Frostman also won Calumet County which Trump won 58 percent to 36 percent. Senator Ron Johnson won the county 62 percent to 35 percent.
Frostman’s victory means Republicans now hold an 18-15 margin in the Senate heading into the November election. If Democrats hold onto their gains and flip two more seats, they will have regained a legislative chamber for the first time since they briefly held the Senate after the recall elections in 2012. Control returned to the Republicans in the November elections that year.
As many Republicans feared heading into the election, Jacque’s lack of fundraising hurt the GOP effort as Republicans were outspent by Frostman and outside special interest groups such as Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee which spent $175,000 in the race.
Jacque and Frostman are likely to face off again in the November election this year, although Jacque does have an opponent again in the August primary. The Senate is not likely to meet again this year, so the election itself had no impact which was pointed out by Senate Republicans in a statement after the election.
“These elections should have been aligned with the fall elections, and the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate looks forward running a competitive race for the 1st Senate District again this November,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). “With low turnout in the special election tonight, it proved yet again that this was a complete waste of taxpayer money.”
In Assembly District 42, Republicans fared better when Republican Jon Plumer defeated Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd, 53 percent to 45 percent. Republicans continue their strong hold on the Assembly with a 64-35 majority.
Groves Lloyd was a flawed candidate for the Democrats, attempting to hide her Twitter feed so voters could not see her support for socialism, raising taxes, and other liberal causes. Groves Lloyd also made a number of impolitic remarks, including calling the United States a terrorist country.
Again, the Assembly will not meet again, so the election itself is largely meaningless. Plumer will face Groves Lloyd again in November.