If ever there was a state that has suffered from ‘battleground fatigue’ over the past 10 years, it’s Wisconsin.

The decade started with a red wave that swept Republicans into power at all levels of state government, and led to Wisconsin being one of the most deviously – and effectively – gerrymandered states in all of the nation.

In the ensuing years there were good and bad elections for Democrats, but in 2016 the bottom fell out again when Donald Trump unexpectedly won the state and Ron Johnson was re-elected to the Senate.

Thankfully, those results seemed to wake up the Democrats, and after winning some big State Legislative Special Elections, we finally defeated the seemingly undefeatable Governor Scott Walker in a major victory in 2018.

In addition, Democrats have yo-yoed in State Supreme Court elections in recent years, winning one handily in 2018, losing one oh-so-narrowly in 2019, and then winning another one handily in April of this year.

Which brings us to November of 2020, our chance for total redemption…and the 5 big reasons why Wisconsin is so important this year.



Of the now-infamous Pennsylvania/Michigan/Wisconsin trifecta, Wisconsin has the fewest Electoral Votes, yet it remains the state that is most stubbornly ‘purple’ in its political composition. Even if Democrats flipped back both Pennsylvania and Michigan, but all other states (including Wisconsin) voted the same as they did in 2016, Donald Trump would *still* win the Electoral College by *1* vote.

So winning Wisconsin for Joe Biden is not a ‘want’. It’s a ‘need’. And given its voter composition, if we lose it, we likely won’t be able to count on potential replacement Electoral Votes in similarly-purple states like Arizona and North Carolina. 

In other words…Joe Biden and Kamala Harris must win Wisconsin.



The Wisconsin State Senate is only made up of 33 seats. Only *16* of those 33 seats are up for election in 2020.

The Republican Party has had an effective decade-long gerrymander in both of its State Legislative chambers. With a net gain of +3 seats, Democrats can flip the State Senate from red-to-blue.

However, if *Republicans* manage to get a net gain of +3 seats, they will achieve a veto-proof supermajority in this chamber. This is a very real possibility, and a nightmare scenario for Democrats in Wisconsin if it comes to pass. So we need to focus on both offense *and* defense.

The targeted districts to flip – and their Democratic candidates – are:

District 8Neal Plotkin

District 12Eduard Vocke

District 14Joni Anderson

District 18Aaron Wojciechowski

District 24Paul Piotrowski

District 28Adam Murphy

The targeted districts to hold – and their Democratic incumbents – are:

District 6LaTonya Johnson

District 10Patty Schachtner

District 16Melissa Sargent

District 30Jonathon Hansen 

District 32Brad Pfaff

Five other seats only have one candidate running and are thus not being contested.

You can find maps of the districts here.   



The Wisconsin State Assembly is made up of 99 seats. All *99* seats are up for election this year. It would take a net gain of +14 seats to win this chamber, which means flipping some seats while defending others.

There are *21* House seats – many located in trending blue suburban/metro districts of Minneapolis (in neighboring Minnesota), Milwaukee, and Madison – that should receive our attention.

Similar to the State Senate above, if Republicans manage to achieve a net gain of +3 seats, they will achieve a veto-proof supermajority that will set back any progress the Democratic Governor hopes to make. This, too, would be a disastrous scenario for Wisconsin Democrats, and we cannot allow this to happen. It’s about offense *and* defense.

Some of the targeted districts to flip – and their Democratic candidates – are:

District 4Kathy Hinkfuss

District 13Sara Rodriguez

District 15Jessica Katzenmeyer

District 21Erik Brooks 

District 23Deb Andraca 

District 24Emily Siegrist 

District 28Kim Butler

District 29John Calabrese

District 30Sarah Yacoub 

District 31Elizabeth Lochner-Abel

District 38Melissa Winker

District 42Melisa Arndt 

District 50Mark Waldon

District 51Kriss Marion

District 55Dan Schierl

District 62August Schutz

District 82Jacob Malinowski

District 85Jeff Johnson

District 92Amanda WhiteEagle

District 93Charlene Warner

District 96Josefine Jaynes

Some of the targeted districts to hold – and their Democratic incumbents – are:

District 14Robyn Vining

District 73Nick Milroy

District 74Beth Meyers

District 94Steve Doyle

You can find maps of the district here. 



Similarly here, Wisconsin’s Congressional districts are heavily gerrymandered in favor of Republicans, but two districts have shown some movement towards Democrats over the last two election cycles. They will not be easy to flip, but I would not rule them out in a wave year, either. There’s also one potentially-vulnerable district to defend.

In Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, Democratic candidate Roger Polack is running to unseat first-term Republican Bryan Steil.

In Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, Democratic candidate Jessica King is running to unseat Glenn Grothman.

And in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, popular Democratic incumbent Ron Kind is defending this seat in a district Donald Trump won in 2016 and is decidedly ‘purple’, so it’s vital that we hold this seat in 2020.



There aren’t many other elections in Wisconsin this year, so I’ll take this opportunity to point to the future. 

The only body that has been worse than the Republican-dominated Wisconsin State Legislature is the Republican-dominated Wisconsin State Supreme Court, as they have enabled all of the State Legislatures awful decisions and power grabs.

And while there are no State Supreme Court elections this November, there will be some in the coming years that voters must participate in. 

This point is vital: If we can’t stop a Republican gerrymander by flipping the Wisconsin State Senate and/or the Wisconsin State House, the Wisconsin Supreme court will be our only chance to correct any unfair 2021 redistricting that comes out of the Legislature.

So if we are unsuccessful in flipping either or both of those chambers, all focus must be placed on flipping the Wisconsin State Supreme Court in future elections.


Thank you for taking the time to read about why Wisconsin is so important this year.

Keep in mind that these are not the only reasons to Focus on Wisconsin in 2020. There are a number of other local elections worth your time and attention as well.

If you’d like to help Focus on Wisconsin, please sign up HERE for the DemCast “Focus14” Wisconsin effort.

And for more analysis, follow me at @trumpstaxes on Twitter.

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