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2024                                      General Election

Wisconsin State House

Wisconsin Democrats have won some battles – electing a member of the State Supreme Court, achieving favorable Court rulings on abortion and, less publicized nationally, achieving Court rulings on redistricting of the state legislature.

In the spring of 2023, Wisconsin elected a new Supreme Court Justice – Janet Protasiewicz.  She would change the Court from 4-3 Republican to 4-3 Democratic.  The Republican reaction was crazed.  Protasiewicz had campaigned making her views on the constitutionality of abortion restrictions clear.  Republicans threatened to impeach her before she could participate in deliberations.

The Republicans shrank from that action.  Abortion clinics have resumed their work.  A lower court rejected claims that an 1849 statute prohibited abortions.  The ordinary processes of sorting out what the law is seems to have returned.

Ordinary processes also returned for redistricting the state legislature. The state supreme court did rule that the districts were unconstitutional and announced that, if the legislature did not approve new maps that were constitutional, the court would create maps for them.

Six maps were submitted to the court.  Two of them, including one submitted by the legislature, were thrown out as being partisan gerrymanders.  The state legislature approved the maps drafted by the Democratic Governor.

Governor Tony Evers said: “When I promised I wanted “fair maps – mnot maps that are better for one party or another, including my own – I damn well meant it.” He had also said that “Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state – we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact.”

Accepting reality, including the reality that the maps created by the governor were the most favorable to the Republicans of the four remaining alternatives, the Republican legislature passed a redistricting plan that the Democratic governor had proposed and was certainly willing to sign..

Currently, Republicans have a supermajority in the Senate and have close to a supermajority in the House.  Most analysts agree that the redistricting has been slightly favorable to the Republicans. In anticipation of the November election, for the first time in years, Democrats have fielded a candidate for every State Senate seat up for election.

Daily Kos explains the changes.  Under the old map, the State Senate had a 22-11 Republican advantage and the Assembly had a 64-35 Republican advantage.  Had the new maps been fully in effect and votes for state Senate and Assembly followed the 2020 election results, the Democrats would have had a 18 – 15 majority in the Senate.  The Republicans would have had a 50-49 advantage in the Assembly.

Because only 16 of the Senate’s 33 seats are up for election in 2024, this year’s vote will only begin to revise what the Senate looks like.  As noted above, Republicans hold 22 seats, Democrats 11.   Of the 16 seats up for election, six are currently held by Democrats, 10 are held by Republicans.  Of the 6 Democratic seats, based on the new map, every district was carried by Joe Biden, one of them narrowly.   Of the 10 Republican seats, based on the new map, four were carried by Joe Biden.

If the Democrats win all the seats carried by Joe Biden, Republicans will have a majority until the 2026 elections, but the majority will be reduced to 18 Republicans and 15 Democrats.  Here are the Republican seats Democrats can flip and the Democratic candidates who can do the flipping:

WISD18 had a Republican State Senator who retired. The newly revised district runs between Appleton and Oshkosh and was carried by Joe Biden in 2020 53-45.

Kristin Alfheim’s dad worked at a paper mill.  Her mom was an ardently pro-life Catholic.  Kristin Alfheim says she married a good man. The marriage lasted 25 years, but 20 years in or so, she knew there was something off.  She left her marriage, explaining that she had come to understand that she was gay.

A high school graduate who did not go to college, she became the managing director of the Greater Wisconsin office of the Futurity First Financial Group. A financial advisor since 1999, she opened the Futurity First office in 2011.  When asked, she explains that her supervision and mentoring of financial advisors as well as her volunteer work as a member of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association has prepared her to be a legislator.  Her political consciousness, though, appears to be a product of coming out as gay.  Describing her political issues, she focuses on women’s reproductive rights, expansion and affordability of health care, and funding public schools.

In November, she will face either physician Anthony Phillip who describes himself as a conservative, but is not specific about policies or businessman and Hmong immigrant Blong Yang. DONATE TO KRISTIN ALFHEIM

WISD30. The incumbent Eric Wimberger of this Green Bay area district has left for a more clearly Republican district. The current WISD30 was carried by Joe Biden in 2020 by a 51-47 margin.

Jamie Wall is a local.  He grew up in what is now WISD30.  The first in the family to go to college, he did it right, earning a Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin and then completing an M Phil at Oxford. Returning to the US, he worked for McKinsey business consultants, joined a start up in California, then opted for the public sector for a little bit of time.  He worked for the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and ran for Congress unsuccessfully after which, in 2005, he started his own business consulting firm from which he is now taking some time off to run for the state senate.  He promises to address the rising cost of housing, health care, and childcare, to support public schools, to ensure clean water and clear air, and to protect women’s reproductive rights.

His opponent will be Village President Jim Rafter.  She advocates closing the Correction Institution in Green Bay.  DONATE TO JAMIE WALL

WISD14.   The Republican incumbent will fight to keep her seat in this district north of Madison which Joe Biden carried in 2020 by a 51-47 margin.

Sarah Keyeski is a community organizer, a mental health counselor, a farmer’s daughter, and the mother of six. After she and her husband moved to Lodi, seeking to live in a small community that shared their small town values, her husband found he had throat cancer.  She changed her work to a private counseling practice so she could be at home and provide him support.  Reflecting about the impact of the Covid pandemic, she says the divisions created by Covid were as serious as the disease.  To combat the divisions, she and others created a non-profit to bring the community together.  The non-profit sponsored days of service. For example on one service day 220 people joined to. pick weeds, paint fences, rake yards, clean up garbage, plant flowers, and put up birdhouses.  On the whole apolitical, she was asked to run for the state senate by several members of the community. She wrestled with the idea and agreed to do it reflecting on what she described as her three core values – compassion, contribution, and moral courage. She outlines her political priorities – education, reproductive freedom, rural communities, mental health, and childcare.

Jane Ballweg is the incumbent.  From first grade teacher to running (with her husband) a farm implement business to 8 terms as a member of the Assembly and a caucus leader to state senator, she is no pushover.  DONATE TO SARAH KEYESKI

WISD08.    The Republican incumbent here will also stay to fight for his seat. No wonder.  Joe Biden carried this district in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee by only half a point.

Jodi Habush Sinykin is a local.  She grew up in Milwaukee’s northern suburbs, went off to college at the University of Michigan and then law school at Harvard.  She returned to marry Dan Sinykin, head of the Denali Sales Group and Monterey Mills.  They raised children in the northern suburbs.  She focused her professional attention on environmental issues. She has been of counsel for the Midwest Environmental Advocates and has been a Water Policy Fellow at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Freshwater Science. She ran in a special election in WISD08 in the spring of 2023, losing 51-49 to Dan Knodl in a district which was, in its old form, a 52-47 Trump defeat of Biden.

After redistricting which invited two incumbent Republicans to run in the new district, Knodl decided to run for the Assembly. The incumbent Jodi Habush Sinykin will face is Duey Stroebel, a long-time Republican legislator.  DONATE TO JODI HABUSH SINYKIN.  Help her expand the .5 by which Joe Biden carried the new WIHD08.

Wisconsin Assembly

Every seat in the Assembly is up for election.  Democrats could possibly take the House in 2024, though analysts explain that the 2020 vote for Biden would have provided Republicans with a 50-49 majority.  To win 50 seats and a majority, Democrats would have to flip 15 Republican held seats of the current 64-35 majority.

Analysts suggest that Democrats should win some of those seats easily, but they would have to win seven or eight seats that tilt or lean Republican or are toss ups.  I will do a report on Democratic candidates to support for the Assembly after the August primary.

Wisconsin US Senate Seat

Tammy Baldwin, a Lesbian on the leftish side of the Democratic party is a particular advocate for the availability of health care, continues to be elected by Wisconsin voters.  On March 31, she had $10.2 million available for her campaign. Eric Hovde, chairman and CEO of the West Coast bank Sunwest and the owner of other banks as well as a Wisconsin real estate business founded by his grandfather finally announced he would oppose her. He reported that he had $5.3 million in campaign funds on March 31. Of course, he has his own millions available.  He has also made a few rookie political errors.  With the exception of an April 10 poll that found the candidates even, polls in April and May show her leading by 4, 5, 7, or 12 points.  DONATE TO TAMMY BALDWIN. Keep her ahead of her millionaire opponent. See  Len’s Political Note #570


Nearby US Senate Race – Michigan

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin’s family owned Hygrade Meat which included Ball Park Franks.  Moved by 9/11, she finished her education and joined the CIA. She worked for the Defense Department and the White House before returning home to plan a future the first step of which was Congress.  Now running for the US Senate, on March 31, she had $8.6 million.  Former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers and Florida resident after he retired returned to Michigan to run for the Senate.  The probable nominee, he had $1.4 million on March 31. Michigan is a large, expensive state.  She will need more resources to win.

As for polls, except for a mid-March poll that showed the two candidates even, she has had modest 2-point leads in March and April polls. DONATE TO ELISSA SLOTKIN. She needs resources to win this race.  See Len’s Political Note #589


We have a presidential race to win

Support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

As we look toward November, 2024, help sustain the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaign.  National polls in May found Biden and Trump roughly even – ranging from +2 Trump to +2 Biden.  Every donation, large or small, makes a difference.  Larger donations mean more money for the campaign.  Large numbers of small donations are a measure of enthusiasm for the candidate.  Make a small donation if you cannot afford a large one.   DONATE TO JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS.  See Len’s Political Note #605