(The Center Square) – The balance of power in Wisconsin state government isn’t changing.
Democrats in the state managed to avoid becoming a super-minority party in the State Senate, and managed to flip a few seats in the State Assembly on Tuesday.
Brad Pfaff’s apparent win in the 32nd Senate District is the Democrats' most important victory at the statehouse.
Pfaff declared victory early Wednesday while ahead with 50.3% of the vote. The Republican, former GOP state Sen. Dan Kapanke was at 49.7%. That’s a difference, according to unofficial returns, of 594 votes.
“Today is a new day, and I’m eager to bring together families and communities so we can refocus on our shared values and overcome the challenges facing our state,” Pfaff said in a statement. “I look forward to being sworn in on January 4th and working to defeat this pandemic, expand access to health care, strengthen our schools and expand economic opportunities.”
Republicans managed to flip two senate seats of their own. Rep. Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond, beat incumbent Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, in northwestern Wisconsin. Republicans also picked up the senate seat in northeast Wisconsin that is being vacated by retiring Sen Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay. Green Bay attorney Eric Wimberger defeated Hansen's nephew, Jonathon by a little more than 8,000 votes.
That leaves Republicans one seat shy of a veto proof majority in the Wisconsin Senate. Republicans will maintain their veto proof majority in the State Assembly, though they did lose two seats.
Deb Andraca beat longtime Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, by more than 1,300 votes in a district that is starting to lean more to the left.
Ott conceded defeat early Wednesday.
“I feel we accomplished some important goals, especially in cutting taxes and making our roads safer by increasing penalties for drunk driving,” Ott said in a statement.
Democrat Sara Rodriguez of Brookfield beat Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, by just over 700 votes.
Even with the losses, Republicans will remain in total control of the State Assembly in 2021.