A Democrat’s victory in a special election to fill a vacant seat in Wisconsin’s state legislature is a “a wake up call for Republicans in Wisconsin,” Gov. Scott Walker wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Patty Schachtner, a Democrat, was victorious in Tuesday’s special election for Wisconsin’s 10th Senate district, a Republican-learning district in the Northwest part of the state along the Minnesota border. The seat had previously been filled by Sheila Harsdorf, who resigned last November after 17 years in office to join Walker’s administration as Wisconsin’s secretary of agriculture.
Walker, who had tweeted earlier Tuesday urging residents of the 10th Senate district to get to the polls and vote for Republican Adam Jarchow, wrote online after the race had been decided that “Senate District 10 special election win by a Democrat is a wake up call for Republicans in Wisconsin” who must do a better job touting their record to voters.
“WAKE UP CALL: Can’t presume that voters know we are getting positive things done in Wisconsin. Help us share the good news,” the governor wrote in a subsequent post, adding in two others that the state’s GOP also can’t presume voters are aware “that more people are working than ever before” and that “we invested more actual dollars into schools than ever before.”
In his posts calling voters out to the polls earlier Tuesday, Walker had warned that “liberal groups and the media have made [the 10th Senate district] a target” and that “big government union bosses are targeting Wisconsin, again!”
Schachtner, too, lamented the outside influences in the race, suggesting to the Journal-Sentinel that voters turned off by negative mailings had supported her. “It wasn’t nice. It was mean,” she said. “People just said, ‘You know what? We’re nicer than that.’”
The victory by Schachtner in a Republican-leaning state legislature district could prove another warning sign for the GOP of possible Democratic wave, sparked by animosity towards President Donald Trump that many have predicted in this year’s 2018 mid-term elections. Already, Democrats have won a Senate seat in deep-red Alabama and performed well above expectations across Virginia’s state legislature races.
Even in 2017 special elections won by Republicans, including House races in traditionally Republican districts in Georgia, Montana and Kansas, Democrats ran much more competitively than they did in 2016.