In a special election in the 10th state senate district, state Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) lost to Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County Medical Examiner and a Somerset School Board member. According to preliminary results, Schachtner won with 54.6 percent of the vote to Jarchow’s 44.2 percent.
Jarchow congratulated Schachtner on her win. “We fell short tonight,” Jarchow posted on social media. “Congratulations to Patty Schachtner on her victory. I look forward to working with her as our new State Senator.”
Republicans badly underperformed in four out of the five counties in the district, especially in St. Croix County where President Donald Trump won 55.8 percent of the vote in 2016. Senator Ron Johnson also received 58.7 percent while the former incumbent Sheila Harsdorf won 63.2 percent of the vote in 2016.
Schachtner actually won her home county with 54.9 percent of the vote.
Governor Scott Walker took to social media to say the result was “a wakeup call” to his fellow Republicans in a series of Twitter posts.
Senate District 10 special election win by a Democrat is a wake up call for Republicans in Wisconsin.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) January 17, 2018
Despite the loss, Republicans still control the state Senate 18-14 with one vacancy. The 10th district Senate seat became open when Harsdorf (R-River Falls) was appointed by Walker to be the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary. Prior to her appointment, Harsdorf held the seat since 2000. She even held onto the seat during the 2011 recall elections, defeating that challenger with 57.6 percent of the vote.
While Republicans were confident of holding the seat, that confidence waned as Democrats nationally saw the election as a chance to cast a vote against Trump even though he was not on the ballot. Outside efforts to turn out the vote for Democrats, including an effort by former Attorney General Eric Holder who served under President Barack Obama.
Despite the stunning nature of the loss, the result was actually in line with what happened nationally in special elections Tuesday evening.
Here is a breakdown of Democrats’ over performance tonight in all 4 contested special elections:
That is an average Dem over performance tonight of D+21.49%
— Aaron Booth (@ActorAaronBooth) January 17, 2018
However, the 10th Senate district in Wisconsin was the only legislative seat (in four competitive elections) that Democrats were able to pick up Tuesday night.
Elsewhere in Wisconsin, Republican County Board Chairman Rick Gundrum easily won the special election in the 58th Assembly district in Washington County with 56.6 percent of the vote. However, Democrat Dennis Degenhardt did win 43.4 percent of the vote Tuesday night in a district where Hillary Clinton received only 28.4 percent of the vote.