Blue wave or ripple? Election leads to divided government for Wisconsin

The interior of the Wisconsin state Capitol dome is seen, Jan. 24, 2018.
The interior of the Wisconsin state Capitol dome is seen, Jan. 24, 2018. (WLUK/Alex Ronallo)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- Tuesday's election results are bringing changes to Madison, but not to the degree some people thought.

“It wasn't a blue wave,” said State Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton). “It wasn't a red wave. It was actually a pretty typical election for a midterm with a Republican President.”

With a few months exception in 2012, Tony Evers' victory creates a divided government in Wisconsin for the first time since 2008. The governor's seat now belongs to Democrats. The Assembly appears to be staying at 64 Republicans to 35 Democrats and Republicans gained one seat in the Senate for a 19-14 majority.

“There is a lot of crossover voters out there,” said Roth. “I think a lot of people underestimated the fact that you could have people splitting their tickets.”

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz believes gerrymandering played a role in the state's election results.

“We have four statewide Democrats win, yet you had a situation where out of 116 legislative seats, you had one loss,” said Hintz (D-Oshkosh). “There is a reason why Wisconsin is a national disgrace and that this has gone all the way to the Supreme Court. The biggest thing about Governor Evers winning is they can't do it again in 2022.”

Moving forward, both sides say they expect to see somewhat of an adjustment period. Evers says he's already talked about that with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Majority Leader Robin Vos.

“I'd really like to talk to them about how we can set the stage going forward so we can find common ground on these important issues,” said Evers.

In early January, Evers will be sworn in and shortly after, will present his first full budget, providing an early test for Wisconsin's newly divided government.

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