Democrats score ma­jor up­set in state Se­nate race

Wisconsin Gazette - - News -

In a ma­jor up­set for Wis­con­sin Repub­li­cans, Demo­crat Patty Schacht­ner bested Repub­li­can state Rep. Adam Jar­chow in a spe­cial elec­tion in a con­ser­va­tive dis­trict.

Jar­chow was thought to have had the race in the bag. Af­ter all, Barack Obama lost Se­nate Dis­trict 10 by 6 points in 2012, and Hil­lary Clin­ton lost it to Don­ald Trump by 17 per­cent­age points in 2016.

Ev­ery county in the north­west dis­trict voted for Trump in 2016, and Jar­chow, who is in his third term rep­re­sent­ing part of the area in the As­sem­bly, had a strong base of sup­port.

In ad­di­tion, the right-wing cor­po­rate group Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­ity and the Repub­li­can State Lead­er­ship Com­mit­tee each ran pro-Jar­chow ads and Repub­li­can state Sen. Leah Vuk­mir — a dar­ling of the re­li­gious right who is run­ning for the U.S. Se­nate — cam­paigned for Jar­chow.

So Schacht­ner, the St. Croix County med­i­cal ex­am­iner and a Som­er­set school-board mem­ber, was clearly the race’s un­der­dog.

Democrats view the vic­tory, the lat­est in a na­tion­wide string of Demo­cratic up­sets, as ev­i­dence that a back­lash is build­ing against Trump, one that au­gurs well for them in this year’s all-im­por­tant midterm elec­tions. Per­haps Gov. Scott Walker also will be sur­prised in Novem­ber.

In an­other spe­cial elec­tion Jan. 16, Repub­li­can Rick Gun­drum of Slinger de­feated Demo­crat Den­nis De­gen­hardt for an open seat in eastern Wis­con­sin’s 58th As­sem­bly Dis­trict.

But De­gen­hardt gar­nered a sur­pris­ing 43 per­cent of the vote in the dis­trict, which is so red that Democrats have not fielded a can­di­date there in a decade. Hil­lary Clin­ton re­ceived just 28 per­cent of the vote in 2016.

The bal­ance of power in Wis­con­sin’s Se­nate is un­changed, with Repub­li­cans main­tain­ing an 18-14 ma­jor­ity.

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