Republicans' hold on Wisconsin legislature will be tested in November

Wisconsin state Capitol
Wisconsin state Capitol (WLUK file image)

BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) -- In Wisconsin, beyond the statewide governor and U.S. Senate races, there are other key races to be decided, collectively affecting all Wisconsinites.

Decisions on Nov. 6 could affect the balance of power in the state Senate and Assembly.

“Looking at both the Assembly and the Senate, it would be really nice to have balanced government and win a couple more seats in both houses and hopefully have a majority in one or both,” said State Sen. Caleb Frostman, D-Sturgeon Bay.

“Realistically, there aren't enough seats in play to really have there be a significant possibility of changing either the state Assembly or the state Senate,” said State Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere.

All state Assembly seats will be on ballots in less than two weeks. Right now, there are 64 Republicans and 35 Democrats.

In a rematch from a special election in June, Frostman and Jacque are squaring off in one of 17 state Senate races. They are vying for the 1st Senate District seat, which includes five counties in Northeast Wisconsin.

As it stands now, there are 18 Republicans and 15 Democrats in the Senate, making it the more likely house to flip.

“I don't think the Democrats could really name seats that they truly think are in play,” said Jacque. “They might be able to come up with seats, but I think the reality on the ground is Republicans are much more likely to gain seats in the state Senate than to lose any seats this cycle.”

“A few races are very competitive, so if we can pick up two and protect two, that would be 17-16 and a lot of the races are closer than expected, so I think there is a chance it could be even more than 17-16 for the Dems,” said Frostman.

Republicans have held both houses and the governor's seat for the past eight years, with the exception of a few months in 2012 when Democrats took brief control of the Senate. Before Republicans took control of the state Legislature, Democrats held control for the final two years of Gov. Jim Doyle's final term.