The votes are in – here’s how the midterm election played out in Wisconsin
The votes for the 2022 fall midterm partisan elections are in, and overall, the outcome is as expected—not necessarily as hoped for.
The big races—US senate, governor and attorney general were all close. Unofficially, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson has prevailed over Democrat challenger Mandela Barnes who is currently serving as our state’s lieutenant governor. The margin in this race was razor thin.
In the race for governor, Republican challenger Tim Michels lost to incumbent Democrat Tony Evers, while in the attorney general race, incumbent Democrat Josh Kaul prevailed over challenger Republican Eric Toney. The AG race was even closer than the governor’s race.
In our congressional races, all incumbents won and in the only open congressional race in our state, Congressional District 3, Republican Derek Van Orden appears to have beat the Democrat opponent. This was an open seat because long-time Member of Congress Democrat Ron Kind decided to retire and not run for re-election. So now, Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, or members of the US House of Representatives, is made up of six Republicans and two Democrats.
Turning to the state legislature, Republicans held strong majorities in both the senate and the Assembly going into this election—not veto-proof, but close. As a reminder, all 99 Assembly seats were on the ballot and half of the senate districts, the odd-numbered districts.
In the Senate, one noteworthy race resulted in a seat flipping from Democrat to Republican. In Senate District 25 in the northern part of the state Republican Romaine Quinn prevailed in an open race. The seat had been held by Democrat Janet Bewley who decided not to run again this cycle. In Senate District 31, Republican David Estenson narrowly lost to Democrat incumbent Jeff Smith. In other open Senate races, Republican Rob Hutton won in Senate District 5 and Republican Rachael Cabral-Guevera won in District 19—both of those seats had been held by Republicans. So, at this point, even with just the one Republican pick up in the state Senate, it appears there will be a veto-proof majority in the state senate with 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats.
In the Assembly, incumbents held on, with one or two seats flipped from Democrat to Republican (one race is still too close to call). The Republicans basically maintained their strong majority, but it does not appear they will get to the 66 needed for a veto-proof majority.
With Evers returning to the governor’s office, Republicans would have liked veto-proof majorities in both houses so that they could override the governor’s vetoes. You might recall that this past session, Governor Evers vetoed 126 bills that were put on his desk by the Republican-controlled state legislature. Those bills included pro-life bills, election-reform bills, school choice bills, and many more. We now enter a second 4-year period, which is two legislative sessions, with a divided government which will mean more of the same since the legislature won’t be able to override Evers’ vetoes.
At the federal level, races in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and a few other states, including Wisconsin, loomed very large going into election day. Pollsters and pundits were saying in the days leading up to the election that it looked very favorable for Republicans to gain control of the Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans needed to win 5 seats in order to maintain or gain the majority. Across the country there were tight, close races, but right now without all the races yet being called, it appears that the US Senate will once again be 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans—with a new face or two in that body, but essentially the same scenario we have had. Johnson’s win here in Wisconsin was critical to maintaining the 50-50 split.
This outcome in the US Senate is going to mean some more tense moments as the Senate looks at the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, the potential codification of abortion, bills that deal with special protections for the LGBTQ agenda, and so forth. On the bills that require the 60-vote threshold, Democrats and liberal outside groups will be very heavily lobbying the Republican senators to peel 10 of them off so they can get the votes they need on these bills and more. From our perspective, this means citizens need to stay very engaged and willing to let their senators know their opinion on these highly-charged, very important issues.
We should take a quick look at the US House of Representatives as well. That body had a Democrat majority for the past two years, but that appears to have changed as a result of yesterday’s election. Republicans now have a narrow majority over the Democrats with the New York Times estimating that the Republicans will have 224 of the 435 seats and the Democrats holding 211. Talk about narrow margins! Wisconsin contributed to this majority by flipping Congressional District 3 from blue to red.
Of course, this does mean leadership will change from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to likely Kevin McCarthy. Now, with the Republicans in control of the House and the Democrats in control of the Senate, there’s going to be, at least presumably, some gridlock with the House probably passing more conservative bills than the senate will be willing to take up.
We must remember that in all things, God is sovereign. Scripture says the powers that be are ordained of God, which means we as believers must view even election results through that lens. That doesn’t mean we don’t assess how outcomes happened, what strategies and tactics worked and which ones didn’t. It doesn’t mean we don’t look for ways to do things better if need be to produce different results if that’s what we think is right. But it does mean at some point, we accept the outcome of elections, as at a minimum, God-permitted. We should look for lessons to be learned from whatever the outcome is.
As always, many thanks for all of your work in this election cycle and for your continued support.
Thank you for whatever you did to help determine the consequences of this election. Whether you voted, used your influence to encourage others to join you, worked the polls, were an election observer, took people to the polls who couldn’t otherwise get there, or prayed—it’s all important. And you deserve great gratitude for what you’ve done.
There will be very real consequences from this election, and we need to be ready for those, both the positive and the negative ones. We do our best to honor God with our vote and we engage elected officials now as they begin making policy. We let them know our opinion on bills, but we ultimately accept the outcome as from God, Who could have changed the outcome of any race if He had chosen to do so. We rejoice in victories, and we accept losses, and most importantly, we push forward with hope in King Jesus and in God’s Word and with courage and determination in our mission of advancing Christian values in Wisconsin—because we love God, and we love our neighbor.
Stay tuned for more information on all that our organizations did in this election. We think you will be very encouraged!