Thu June 14, 2012
Redistricting means 24 Wisconsin Assembly races uncontested by GOP
New political boundaries in Wisconsin seem to be resulting in a large number of uncontested Assembly races this fall.
Democrats will be uncontested by Republicans in 24 State Assembly districts come November. In 2010, Assembly Democrats were uncontested in just 11 districts. There are a lot of variables that go into the increase, but one constant is the new voting maps Republicans drew last year. Mort Sipress, an Emeritus Professor of Political Science for UW-Eau Claire, says the new maps shuffle Democratic-leaning populations, where Republicans are less likely to win, into a handful of districts. He says the high number of uncontested candidates highlight the Democratic strongholds. “But the other thing it shows is that the Republicans have made it very difficult for Democrats even where there’s an apparent bit of competition, they have made very difficult for the Democrats to get too many more than those 24 seats,” he says.
One of those uncontested races will be in the new 92nd Assembly District, which was drawn in a way that would have pitted two incumbent Democrats against each other. One of them dropped out, leaving Democrat Chris Danou of Trempealeau unopposed. He calls it a clear example of gerrymandering, but says both parties are guilty of it when they hold the reins. “I don’t think it serves the state very well overall. I think we’d be better off with more competitive districts and more competitive elections.”
Eau Claire Republican Party Chair Brian Westrate says the reason his party didn’t run a candidate in the 91st Assembly District in Eau Claire is because so many resources were spent on the recall elections. Also, he says the new maps are constitutional and create more homogeneous voting blocks.