One seat in Wisconsin switches parties as four special elections held on May 3
By Tyler Millhouse
Two states -- Wisconsin and California -- held special elections on Tuesday to fill four state legislative vacancies. In Wisconsin, the vacancies arose as a result of three appointments by Governor Scott Walker to his administration. In California, the vacancy was triggered by an assemblyman's election to the State Senate in the January 4 special election.
All of the seats were previously held by Republicans. So far, 46 state legislative special elections have been held in 2011.
The four special elections from Tuesday are as follows:
- Wisconsin Assembly District 60: Duey Stroebel (R) defeated Rick Aaron (D) in Tuesday's special election. Stroebel will replace Mark Gottlieb (R) who resigned to serve as Transportation Secretary.
- Wisconsin Assembly District 83: Dave Craig (R) defeated James Brownlow (D) to fill the seat vacated when Scott Gunderson (R) resigned to serve as the executive assistant at the Department of Natural Resources.
- Wisconsin Assembly District 94: Steve Doyle (D) defeated Republican John Lautz. The seat will now be held by a Democrat for the first time in 16 years. Outgoing representative Michael Huebsch (R) won by an 18% margin in 2010. Doyle will fill the seat vacated when Huebsch resigned to serve as Secretary of the Department of Administration.
- California Assembly District 4: Beth Gaines(R) defeated Dennis Campanale (D) in Tuesday's special election. Gaines' husband, Ted Gaines (R), was elected to the California State Senate on January 4, 2011 in a special election. Another special election was soon called to replace him, and a special primary election was held on March 8. The top two vote-getters -- Campanale (D) and Gaines (R) -- advanced to yesterday's runoff election. The District 4 election is the first Proposition 14 election to require a runoff.
Steve Doyle's District 94 victory is the only race which will affect its state's partisan balance. All other winners replaced members of their own party. Doyle's election may also spell trouble for Dan Kapanke (R) whose District 32 senate seat includes House District 94. Kapanke is currently the subject of a recall campaign. A total of nine Wisconsin senators -- 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats -- have had sufficient signatures filed against them to trigger a recall. Those signatures are in the process of being reviewed by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
Wisconsin State House Partisan Balance
|Party||As of April 2015|
California State Assembly Partisan Balance
|Party||As of April 2015|
UPDATE: Earlier references in the story to the "upset" victory for Doyle have been removed.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stroebel wins 60th Assembly seat," May 3, 2011
- Daily Journal, "Republican Craig defeats Brownlow for Assembly seat in southeast Wisconsin district," May 03, 2011
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Official Election Results," accessed April 26, 2011
- WKBT.com, "Dem wins Wis. Assembly seat previously held by GOP," May 3, 2011
- Silicon Valley Mercury News, "Republican wins Northern Calif. Assembly seat," May 3, 2011 (dead link)
- Mercury News, "Assembly race could produce open-primary runoff," March 8, 2011 (dead link)