Four State Senate Races to Watch


 Joe Murray  |    August 19, 2020
Senate Races

As the November 3 elections in Wisconsin approach, political insiders are paying close attention to four Wisconsin Senate districts on the ballot this fall. While 16 state Senate seats are on the ballot this November, only four of the 16 districts fall into the truly ‚Äúcompetitive‚ÄĚ category. Both parties will spend a lot of time and money in these four districts, and both sides have one major goal: Senate Republicans want to achieve a supermajority of 22 seats, while Democrats want to keep Republicans from reaching that goal. A supermajority would allow Republicans to override gubernatorial vetoes by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Today, Republicans control the Wisconsin Senate 19-14. To reach their supermajority goal, they must keep all the seats they currently hold and pick up three additional seats to reach a supermajority. The opposite is true for Democrats: They want to ‚Äúsave the veto‚ÄĚ by holding all 14 districts they currently have and pick up any additional seats on November 3.¬†

How serious are both parties about the possibility of a supermajority in the Senate? A statement made by Evers during an interview with POLITICO illustrates the point: ‚ÄúIf we lose that three-person margin, they‚Äôll draw the maps, likely draw them even worse than they are now,‚ÄĚ Evers said. ‚ÄúOne of the first bills I get in the next session will be those new maps, and I‚Äôll veto them, and they‚Äôd override that veto.‚Ä̬†

That’s where these four districts come into play. Three of these seats are currently held by Democrats and one by a Republican. For Republicans to control with a supermajority of 22 seats, Republicans must run the table and win all four districts. Democrats can thwart a Republican supermajority by winning at least one or more of these four targeted districts.

Pages 24 and 25 offer a brief look at the voting tendencies of all four districts and some background commentary on the political dynamics that will impact these four races in November.

Joe Murray is Director of Political and Governmental Affairs for the WRA.

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