Wisconsin Republicans come up short on legislative supermajority

MADISON, Wis. — Republicans were just two seats short in the state Assembly from capturing a supermajority in the state Legislature and having the power to override Gov. Tony Evers’ veto pen.

The cause of their shortcoming was two-fold, both in the margin of victory on Tuesday and how the district lines are drawn in Wisconsin.

“This was a good night for Democrats relative to expectations,” said John Johnson, a research fellow with Marquette University. “One of the biggest forecasts for the Wisconsin Assembly thought Republicans would win 65 seats and they ended up winning 64.”

Republicans did secure the single seat that they needed in the state Senate, but Johnson said they may have reached a bit of a ceiling in the Assembly, however. There are relatively few seats left that are competitive that Republicans could flip.

“There’s really the [one] main seat left that’s like a realistic target for Republicans from one cycle to another,” Johnson said.

The one seat is around Onalaska, a suburb of La Crosse. The seat has been held by Democrat Steve Doyle since 2011, who won re-election this year.

“Steve Doyle is essentially the only Democrat in a marginal seat right now,” Johnson said. “So you don’t have a situation where you have Democrats representing seats where they’re thinking that a Republican might win it next time.”

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There are a few seats, however, that Democrats may be trying to pick up next time around. They lost to Republicans in both the 73rd and 74th Assembly districts in the Superior and Bayfield areas in northern Wisconsin. They may look to take those seats back.

“Those are seats that they’ll be hoping to win and those are Republican incumbents who will be thinking about that for the next two years,” Johnson said.

Because Republicans are close to a supermajority, they would only need a few Democrats to join them to override the governor’s veto. Johnson said that could depend on both the legislator themself, and could also vary policy-to-policy.

This article was updated 11/23/2022 with tags to make it more-easily searchable.