Evers: GOP would ‘run the shop’ with veto-proof supermajority

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers, whose powerful veto pen has blocked a significant amount of Republican legislation, said Republican leaders would “run the shop” if they garnered a legislative supermajority in the next election.

“It’s not an idea that suddenly they’re gonna say, ‘Well, we want to talk to you, Tony, because we have all the power in the state,'” Evers said in an interview with News 3 Now.

Republicans would need a two-thirds majority in each chamber of the Legislature to override the governor’s veto. That would mean a pickup of five seats in the Assembly and one seat in the Senate — a result doable with a large 7-point win in November.

RELATED: Republican veto-proof supermajority possible in state Legislature

While that is possible under new Republican-drawn maps approved by the state Supreme Court, the GOP has not seen that kind of win since former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s fourth victory in 1998.

If Republicans see that kind of victory though, Evers will almost certainly have lost his bid for reelection.

Even a small bump for Republicans could have an impact on the Legislature, according to Marquette University’s Craig Gilbert. Under an analysis of the new maps, Republicans are expected to pick up at least two seats in the Assembly.

“The bigger the Republican majority, it’s easier to sustain a majority vote,” he said. “In other words, you can lose more members and still prevail in a simple majority.”

This would also shift the focus to conservative Democrats in the chamber. If Republicans are a few votes short of a veto override, peeling off a handful of Democrats could make the difference.

Gilbert said making the Republican caucus bigger could introduce new coalitions among them, like rural Republicans who might be more liberal or conservative on issues than suburban Republicans.

“You could have some diversity of opinions,” he said. “You could have some members that are kind of gadflies, giving the leadership trouble on individual issues.”

Evers will not challenge GOP maps

The Republican supermajority is in part possible because of maps that were drawn by Republicans and approved by the right-leaning state Supreme Court last week.

RELATED: Wisconsin Supreme Court adopts Republican-authored legislative maps, reversing earlier approval of Evers’ maps

“I think politics played just too much of a role in the judiciary, whether it’s at the state or local level,” Evers said in an interview with News 3 Now.

He said that feeling lasted “10 minutes,” however, and he will not be challenging the maps before November.

“From my vantage point, I can’t do anything about it personally,” Evers said. “And so I’m going to spend my time making sure that I get reelected, and make sure that we still have a solid veto in the state of Wisconsin to balance power.”

While last Friday’s decision is the final say in state court, liberals could appeal the decision to federal court. This is less likely, however, because federal courts are traditionally hesitant to make changes close to an election, and the election has already started to some degree — candidates started circulating nomination papers on April 15.

“Others may, it may continue to percolate someplace,” Evers said to the possibility of challenges. “But I’ve got a race to run, I’ve got opponents on the Republican side that are running for election and we’ve got a Legislature to worry about. So I’m focused on the next six months and making sure that we’re in a good place.”