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2018 Battleground Election Preview: Wisconsin

By John Lunde | September 26, 2018

Wisconsin Election Preview Map

Wisconsin is one of 10 states that are most likely to see a change in party control in one or both state legislative chambers after elections on November 6. Currently, Republicans maintain control of all three branches: the governorship, state assembly, and state Senate.

Incumbent Governor Scott Walker (R) is seeking a third term after he easily defeated a primary challenger, businessman Robert Meyer, on August 14 with more than 91 percent of the primary vote. Wisconsin Democrats have nominated State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers to challenge Walker this November. Evers overcame nine fellow Democrats, including Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin President Mahlon Mitchell and former State Representative Kelda Roys, for the party nod.

A majority of Wisconsin's state Senate seats, 17 of 33, are up for election this year. Republicans in the state Senate currently retain a 18-15 majority. This election cycle, Democrats will defend seven seats, while Republicans are defending 10. Although Republicans hold a majority, Governing Magazine had designated the control of the Wisconsin Senate as “leans Republican” for the upcoming elections. This is due in part to the Wisconsin State Senate’s volatile partisan control. Between 2006 and 2016, the Senate flipped party control twicethe first in favor of Democrats in 2006 and the second for Republicans in 2010. Notably, State Senator Leah Vukmir (R-District 5) is vacating her seat in Madison to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) for a seat in Washington.

During the 2016 election, House Republicans increased their majority from 63 seats to 64 seats. Unlike the state Senate, all 99 seats in the Wisconsin State Assembly are up for election this year. The assembly has favored Republican control in recent years, except for a brief stint when Democrats took control between 2009-2010.

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