The Democrats flipped a long-time GOP seat in the 2018 Wisconsin legislative special election that Scott Walker didn’t want to call and that Donald Trump won, increasing talk of a looming “blue wave” in the often-purple state with a polarizing Republican governor. However, another seat stayed Republican in the low-turnout contests, sending a conflicting message about the whims of the electorate in this closely-watched swing state.
Walker is up for re-election in November 2018, and he’s facing an electorate already hardened into different camps by his collective bargaining and other reforms. Although he’s survived a recall and a failed presidential bid, Walker himself has raised the prospect of a so-called “blue wave,” which may have been an attempt to energize the Republican base (Trump won the state, overturning years of Democratic victories in presidential contests in Wisconsin)
According to the Hill, the Democratic victory in Wisconsin marked the 25th time that Democrats flipped a Republican district in a special election since Trump’s inauguration. The victories in the special election could be short-lived, though. The winning candidates have to run again in November to retain their seats. However, it’s what the results could portend about Trump and Walker that’s causing the buzz and Democratic excitement, even as Republicans sought to downplay the meaning of the win because of the mixed result and low turnout.
Some analysts say it’s risky to predict presidential races especially from localized special elections. For starters, special elections do have much lower turnout than gubernatorial or presidential elections. They may turn on local personalities or issues. However, the elections are still being closely watched as a possible canary in mine for 2020 as well as for the governor’s race. Vox has found that Democrats are outperforming presidential tallies in special elections throughout the country – 74 to be exact. That all being said, it wouldn’t be the first time Trump had defied prognostications were he to run and prevail in 2020, and Walker has survived two elections and a bitter recall. The Democrats are fractured at the moment into a multi-candidate field with no clear front runner.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Democrat Flipped a Seat That Was Held by Republicans for Decades
THE MAN OF THE HOUR!!! @CalebFrostman is still working hard at the @OutagamieCoDems office on #ElectionDay! It’s an honor to campaign for such a genuine and hardworking candidate. 💙 #VoteCalebJune12 #VoteBlue #FlipitBlue #SD1 #SpecialElection pic.twitter.com/NZS9lttzQi
— Liza Long (@lizawisdems) June 12, 2018
The election results that are getting Democrats excited came from Wisconsin’s 1st Senate District, where the Democrat Caleb Frostman defeated Republican state Assemblyman Andre Jacque; Frostman had 51.4 percent of the vote to 48.6 for Jacque. “I will let your feedback and our shared values guide me in my work as your State Senator,” Frostman said, according to WBAY-TV. Frostman was the Door County Economic …read more