Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Wisconsin State Legislature

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October 31, 2012

By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

Wisconsin's State Legislative Elections in 2012
Senate seats Contested senate seats House seats Contested house seats
16 12 (75%) 99 75 (75.7%)

MADISON: Wisconsin: There are 115 total legislative seats with 2012 elections in Wisconsin, where all polling places are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM Central Time.[1]

Following the successful recall of Republican Senator Van Wanggaard in June, Democrats flipped the chamber, officially taking control on July 17. As the legislature was out of session, however, they were not able to accomplish much and are now in danger of losing the Senate to the GOP. The main reason for this is redistricting. Republicans controlled the entire process, which they mostly conducted in secret. Thus, the newly redrawn districts are more favorable for their party. The chamber is currently 17-15, with one vacancy.

Over in the Assembly, Republicans hold a 58-39 advantage, with one vacancy and one Independent.

Of the 116 incumbents up for election in 2012, 93 (80.8%) of them are running for re-election. A total of 87 of 116 (75.7%) districts will see more than one major party candidate in the general election.

Here are a few races to watch:


  • In District 12: Susan Sommer is looking to keep this seat for Democrats in a conservative leaning district, as incumbent Jim Holperin did not seek re-election. She will face Republican Assemblyman Tom Tiffany.
  • In District 18: Democrats believe that freshman incumbent Jessica King (D) must keep her seat against challenger Rick Gudex if Democrats are to keep a majority in the Senate.[2]


  • In District 25: Seen as one of the most competitive seats as Independent Robert Ziegelbauer did not seek re-election. A crowded primary field with eight incumbents yielded a general election contest between Jim Brey (D) and Paul Tittl (R).
  • In District 43: An incumbent vs incumbent battle, Andy Jorgensen (D) faces off against Evan Wynn (R).
  • In District 61: Another battle of incumbents as John Steinbrink (D) squares off against Samantha Kerkman (R).

Wisconsin State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 17 15
     Republican Party 15 18
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 33 33

Wisconsin State Assembly
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 39 39
     Republican Party 58 60
     Independent 1 0
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 99 99


See also