If you’re already figuring and fretting over the midterm elections in November and whether there truly is a Democratic wave gathering, there were a handful of statehouse special elections on tap Tuesday in Wisconsin and South Carolina. If you’re desperately seeking more data points to add to your tea leaves, the place to start is Wisconsin State Senate District 10. In the heavily Republican western Wisconsin district that Trump carried by 17 points, including a victory in every county in the district, Democrat Patty Schachtner scored an upset win of the open seat Tuesday.
The seat had been in Republican hands for the past 17 years. Even with the seat, Democrats in the state are still at an 18-14 disadvantage in the state Senate, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes, “Democrats saw Tuesday’s victory as a sign they were taking hold of the energy that benefited their party in special elections last year in Alabama, Virginia and Oklahoma.” There were two other special elections in Wisconsin, but the 10th district garnered the most attention because it was considered competitive for the first time in years making it a potential bellwether of electoral things to come.
In the state’s other contested race Tuesday, Republican Rick Gundrum “defeated Democrat Dennis Degenhardt for an open seat in eastern Wisconsin’s solidly red 58th Assembly District,” the Associated Press reports. In an uncontested race in the 66th Assembly District, which covers Racine, Democrat Greta Neubauer was declared the winner.