State senate result may impact upcoming election year

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- One day after a special election for a state senate seat was won by Democrat Patty Schachtner, its effects are being analyzed.

Democrat Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner and member of the Somerset school board, scored the win in a race to replace Republican Sheila Harsdorf, who is now state agriculture secretary.

The St. Croix County medical examiner and member of the Somerset school board scored the win in a race to replace Republican Sheila Harsdorf, who is now state agriculture secretary.

Eau Claire County’s Democratic Party chair Bev Wickstrom said the result for her party signals a shift away from where Republicans have been driving government at the state and federal level.

"It's a very pleasant outcome but not a huge surprise that the Democrats are mobilizing and that people are tired with the (President Donald) Trump situation and are tired of Governor (Scott) Walker and his policies," she said to WEAU 13 News on Wednesday

In a tweet sent Tuesday night, Walker called the result "a wake up call for republicans in Wisconsin."

"This may have been the shot across the bow that said 'Whoa! Gee, we've had it pretty easy the last few years. We're going to really have to work in order to achieve the results that we've had in the past to keep control of the state assembly, to keep control of the state senate, as well as to keep control of the governorship,’" WEAU’s political analyst John Frank said Wednesday.

Brian Westrate, the chair of the Republican Party for the Third Congressional District, said a number of factors played into the winner not being state assemblyman Adam Jarchow.

"This election, it wasn't the surprise to me. I mean, obviously, it's not the result I had hoped for, but it wasn't a surprise,” he said to WEAU 13 News on Wednesday. “Special elections, low turnout elections – and especially this one – are really a crap shoot.

"Last night's election happens in November 2016, Adam Jarchow is a state senator. It happens 2020, if it happens 3 years, you know, Adam Jarchow is a state senator. You cannot look at the voting trends of the 10th State Senate District and not say it is a Republican district. You literally can't."

Wisconsin’s state senate will have 17 seats being decided in the November general election, with 10 of them currently controlled by a Republican. With the 10th now going into democrat hands, Wickstrom said it could open up chances for other GOP-controlled districts to go their way.

"I think the trend shows that even in areas that had been strongly Republican, the GOP can't necessarily count on that trend continuing – and that gives us some hope that we will be able to pick up some seats and we will be able to change the flavor of the Senate," she said.

But, if there's a sign that comes from Tuesday's result, Frank said it could be "Under Construction."

"It's probably a little bit too early to tell whether what we saw last night was a tremor or was a tremor that was going to lead to a full-fledged earthquake later on,” he said. “From that perspective it gives pause to those people who are in control right now. They need to shore up their responsibilities. They have to do well in the upcoming election and this is an indicator that perhaps they've got to work harder.

"What it means it's going to be an interesting year. As expression always goes, 'Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.'"

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