skip to Main Content

Capitol Notes: Political & Legislative Update 4-9-2020

In this update

  • Political Update
  • COVID-19 Update

Political Update

April 7th Election

No Election Results Yet!
The Wisconsin Elections Commission posted on their blog on Tuesday morning clarifying that there will not be election results posted until Monday April 13th at 4:00 PM.
According to their post, here is why:
“The U.S. Supreme Court decision also did not alter the provision in Judge Conley’s amended order which prohibits the reporting of results until April 13. In order to ensure consistent compliance with that order, the number of ballots will be counted on Election Night but votes will not be counted until April 13.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision did not alter the Election Night Procedures guidance posted at this link: If you have not done so already, please review that communication and provide it to election inspectors. The Commission plans to post additional guidance regarding procedures for April 13 later in the week.”
The Elections Commission said they will daily update absentee ballots returned to clerks.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

For comparison of turnout levels and where candidates have to perform well to win a Supreme Court election, below is the performance of the last three Supreme Court races.
 2016 Supreme Court Election:
  • Rebecca Bradley: 52.4%
  • JoAnne Kloppenburg: 47.5%
In 2016 there were a total of 1,957, 947 votes cast. Justice Bradley received 1,024,892 and Judge Kloppenburg received 929,377.
2018 Supreme Court Election:
  • Rebecca Dallet: 55.7%
  • Michael Screnock: 44.2%
In 2018 there were a total of 997,485 votes cast. Judge Dallet received 555,848 and Judge Screnock received 440,808.
2019 Supreme Court Election:
  • Brian Hagedorn: 50.2%
  • Lisa Neuabauer: 49.7%
In 2019 there were a total of 1,207,569 votes cast. Judge Hagedorn received 606,414 and Judge Neuabauer received 600,433.
Based on the current updates of absentee ballots returned, turnout for the 2020 Supreme Court election will likely be between where the 2016 (1.9 million votes cast) and 2019 (1.2 million votes cast) since there have been just over 1 million absentee ballots received by the end of the day on April 7th. If an absentee ballot was postmarked on April 7th and is received by April 13th at 4:00 PM, it will be counted.

Wisconsin Presidential Preference Primary

The last presidential preference primary poll that was conducted in Wisconsin and publicly released was the Marquette University Law School Poll (3/24-29) which found former Vice President Joe Biden to have a 28 point lead on Vermont US Senator Bernie Sanders. This was a considerable swing for Biden who was in fourth place in the February Marquette poll and recognition of the consolidation of support after the shrinking of the Democratic field.
Two surveys previous to the MU Poll found that Biden had a double-digit lead on Sanders;
Sen. Sanders won the 2016 Democratic Primary in Wisconsin, carrying every county in the state with the exception of Milwaukee County, a nearly 14% margin of victory over Sen. Clinton.
Going into the 2016 Democratic Primary in Wisconsin, the Marquette University Law School poll had Sanders leading Clinton 49% to 45% two weeks before the election.

Presidential Race 2020

With Sen. Sanders suspending his campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden is now the presumptive Democratic nominee and will face President Donald Trump on the November ballot.
With the exception of the October 2019 Marquette Law School Poll, President Trump and former Vice President Biden have been within the poll’s margin of error of one another. In the latest poll Biden led Trump by 3%.
Two surveys previous to the MU Poll found that Biden had similar within the margin of error leads over President Trump;

Wisconsin State Assembly

Since our last update, Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) has become the 10th member of the State Assembly who will for certain not be rejoining the Chamber for the 2021-2022 Legislative Session.
Rep. Taylor, who was thought to be a leading candidate for Sen. Fred Risser’s seat when he announced he was not seeking re-election, said she was not going to run for any office in 2020.
Rep. Taylor said in her statement that her “work life needs to shift to reprioritize” her family.
Candidates that have announced their intention to run for Taylor’s seat representing the 76th Assembly District include;
  • Madison Alder Marsha Rummel
  • former Dane County Board Supervisor candidate Heather Driscoll
Rep. Taylor joins the following members of the State Assembly who will not be returning next session:
  1. Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Oshkosh), took a job as executive director of a non-profit.
  2. Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), running for Congress
  3. Rep. Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond), running for State Senate (Schachtner seat)
  4. Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford), not seeking re-election
  5. Rep. Deb Kolste (D-Janesville), not seeking re-election
  6. Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), running for State Senate (Miller seat)
  7. Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), running for State Senate (Olsen seat)
  8. Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma), running for State Senate (Tiffany seat)
  9. Rep. Romain Quinn (R-Rice Lake) not seeking re-election.
In addition, three members of the State Assembly are running for Elections being held on April 7th, which would impact their decision to run for re-election to the State Assembly;
  1. Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee), running for Milwaukee County Executive
  2. Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee), running for Milwaukee Comptroller
  3. Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee), running for Milwaukee Common Council

Wisconsin State Senate

State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison), the longest-serving state lawmaker in the nation’s history announced that he is not seeking re-election. Risser’s tenure covered 64 years.
Candidates that have announced interest in running for his seat include;
  • Scot Ross, former Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now
  • former State Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Kelda Roys
  • Nada Elmikashfi
  • Aisha Moe
  • William Henry Davis III
State Senator Jennifer Shilling, the Senate Minority Leader announced that she is not seeking re-election. Shilling had represented the 32nd Senate District since winning the seat in a 2011 Recall Election.
No Democratic candidates have announced their candidacy for the seat as of yet. See more information on the 32nd Senate District in the spotlight below.
With the announcements by Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) that they will not be seeking re-election, there are now a total of six members of the Wisconsin State Senate who will for certain not be back for the 2021-2022 Legislative Session:
  1. State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), not seeking re-election
  2. State Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona), not seeking re-election
  3. State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), not seeking re-election
  4. State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), running for Congress (Duffy seat)
  5. State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison), not seeking re-election
  6. State Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), not seeking re-election
In addition, three members of the State Senate are running for Elections being held on April 7th or in the Fall that will impact whether they return next session;
  1. State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), running for Mayor Milwaukee
  2. State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), running for Milwaukee County Executive
  3. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), running for Congress (Sensenbrenner seat)

Spotlight on the 32nd Senate District

State Senator Jennifer Shilling won election to the State Senate in a 2011 Recall Election versus incumbent State Senator Dan Kapanke. Kapanke was first elected to the seat in 2004.
Shilling was re-elected in 2012 with 58% of the vote, but narrowly defeated Kapanke in a rematch in 2016, winning by just 56 votes.
2016 Presidential Election Results in 32nd Senate District:
  • Clinton: 49%
  • Trump: 45%
2018 Gubernatorial Election Results in 32nd Gubernatorial District:
  • Evers: 54%
  • Walker: 44%
2018 US Senate Election Results in 32nd US Senate District:
  • Baldwin: 61%
  • Vukmir: 39%


Potential COVID-19 Legislation

Discussions have been ongoing between Republican and Democratic legislative leaders over a legislative package to react to the COVID-19 health emergency in Wisconsin.
Previously Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had released his proposed response to the pandemic in the following proposals;
The first package proffered by Gov. Evers included $700 million in new spending including over $200 million to the Department of Administration, $300 million to the Department of Military Affairs, increased employees at the Division of Public Health, grants to local government public health agencies and sum sufficient funding (unlimited) for the Department of Health Services to respond to the public health emergency. Legislative Republicans did not act on the proposal, wanting to wait to see what the state’s share ($1.9 billion) of the CAREs Act would be and how those dollars could be allocated versus using existing state resources.
The second package forwarded by Gov. Evers includes an additional $300 million in funding, and provides funds for health care providers, extends the suspension of certain administrative rules for the duration of the health emergency, ensures workers receive back pay for any lost unemployment benefits due to the one-week waiting period.
In the interim, Republican legislative leaders have been working on their own legislative package with Democratic legislative leaders and the Administration while also testing their ability technologically to meet in an extraordinary session remotely. Yesterday the Evers Administration pre-emptively shared a draft of the Republican proposal with the media and with the Governor noting that a provision in the bill that gives the Joint Finance Committee expanded budget writing authority would cause him to veto the bill. The leaking of the bill and the veto threat drew a strong rebuke from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau);
“For almost a month we have been at work on a bill that includes essential provisions dealing with everything from Medicaid to the first week of unemployment. Millions of relief dollars are at stake for Wisconsin. Suggesting he’ll veto the full bill publicly, while privately we’re still negotiating, is irresponsible. We’ll keep working with the minority party to put together a bill that can hopefully pass soon with bipartisan support.”
The Republican proposal contains many of the same proposals as the Evers Administration proposals as it relates to changes to capturing expanded Medicaid funding, relaxing of provider licensing requirements, expediting federal waiver requests, removing the 1-week waiting period for UI benefits. In addition to the expanded Joint Finance Committee budgeting authority there are two noteworthy differences; funding associated with the proposals and the duration of the public health emergency.
  • Governor Evers’ two proposals contain over $1 billion in General Purpose Revenue (GPR) spending, whereas the Draft Republican proposal contains no new GPR spending.
  • Governor Evers’ proposal extends the length of his public health emergency executive order indefinitely for the length of the state’s response of the pandemic. His current order lasts for 60-days; started on March 12th and expires on May 12th. In order for his current emergency order to be extended, a Joint Resolution must be passed by both houses of the State Legislature. Republican leaders have already articulated the Governor needs to provide them with strong data supporting an extension beyond the current 60-day period.
Draft outline of the Republican proposal (link)
Governor’s Office comparison of the Republican proposal and the Governor’s proposals (link)

Wisconsin COVID-19 Resources

On our website please find a comprehensive set of resources related to the State of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Response, including the Governor’s Executive Order, Emergency Health Orders and other State of Wisconsin agency guidance documents and bulletins. This is list is updated as information and guidance documents are released.
If you would like to receive our daily Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates, please email Tony Langenohl to be added to the distribution list. Otherwise daily updates are archived on website:

Daily Wisconsin Updates:

Here are links to the latest updates:

Latest Wisconsin Statistics


Back To Top