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Dan Knodl & Duey Stroebel: Evers’ Maps Pit Milwaukee Metro-Area GOP Legislators Against EACH OTHER

“They strategically took people out that they think are a concern to them,” state Sen. Duey Stroebel, a Republican, told Wisconsin Right Now in an exclusive interview of Evers’ latest legislative redistricting maps, which pit him against another Republican incumbent, state Sen. Dan Knodl.

In a “complete political power play” designed to help Democrats win back a key swing state Senate district that they lost just months ago, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ new legislative maps pit two veteran Republican incumbents against each other – GOP Senators Dan Knodl and Duey Stroebel. Yet Evers has lied to the public that the maps are “fair” and non-partisan.

In yet another partisan move in a process that is supposed to deliver fair maps to Wisconsinites, Evers also stripped away the most Republican areas from Knodl’s hotly contested swing district near Milwaukee, turning the area more blue, Knodl told Wisconsin Right Now.

It’s an obvious effort to seize a key swing district that Knodl won in a hard-fought special election in just April 2023. Knodl defeated the Democrat, Jodi Habush Sinykin, 50.8% to 49.1%. We confirmed with both men that they have been paired in Evers’ new maps. As a second point of verification, we also confirmed their home addresses with the men and compared them to the map submissions filed with the court on Friday.

“It’s completely a political power play to do these pairings…They (Democrats) are just so disingenuous and hypocritical. This is quite contrary to what they put out in public. It is a complete political power play to take Republicans out.” -Republican state Sen. Dan Knodl

Knodl and Stroebel are currently in neighboring districts. Below, their districts are separated by the yellow line.

Current Map of District 8 (Knodl) and District 20 (Stroebel)

Dan knodl duey stroebel

Now look at what Gov. Evers’ proposed map does to Stroebel and Knodl, shoving them into the same district.

Gov. Evers Proposed Map of District 8

“As far as Duey and I, I fully expected that would be the case,” Knodl said of the pairing, adding that the Evers’ maps also “chip away” at the district’s conservative areas.

“They did peel off Sussex, Erin, and Richfield” in the Evers’ map, said Knodl. Democrats took the areas that vote roughly 70% conservative out of his district, he said, and kept Cedarburg and Port Washington in, “which are bluer. Cedarburg the city went for Biden. And then you get Mequon, which is trending blue.”

Both state senators have served for years in the Legislature, and both are respected and have built deep ties to their constituents.

The incumbent pairing means that Knodl and Stroebel would either have to run against each other in a Republican primary, which would draw down their money for a general election redo against a Democrat, or one of them would have to quit the Legislature altogether or move to another district. That’s a tall order for two men who have long owned their own homes, especially in the current real estate market.

They both see it as Evers’ partisan attempt to knock one of them out of public life for good and to increase the advantages to a Democratic opponent.

Duey stroebel

Stroebel said he has lived in the Town of Cedarburg with a Saukville address for 17 years. Like Knodl, Stroebel is a home owner. Yet Evers’ maps didn’t put Saukville in the newly drawn district he was placed in.

“This is exactly what we knew they would do,” Stroebel said. “Anyone who thinks, ‘Oh gee, this is a sincere effort to somehow make better maps,’ is a bunch of baloney. This is all about a power grab to get as much power for the Democrats as possible. They have no scruples, no morals; they do whatever it takes. They pushed it to the max.”

Dan knodl

Evers’ maps, if chosen by the state Supreme Court, essentially end the career of one of the two very effective and long-standing GOP senators. How is that not partisan? How is that fair?

What Evers did to the 8th and 20th state Senate Districts and Knodl and Stroebel is symbolic of his entire maps. The governor has paired approximately 30 Assembly incumbents together and, of those, about 25 are Republicans, a Wisconsin Right Now analysis of the maps shows. Of the remaining five, it appears that about four are Democrat-Republican pairings and only one is a Democrat-Democrat pairing. In other words, Republicans were paired in large numbers with each other, but Democrats were not.

Duey stroebel

In the state Senate, approximately 13 incumbents were paired in about six Senate districts; of those, about 10 are Republican, the analysis showed. Only one is a Democrat-Democrat pairing, and one of those Democrats is likely leaving the legislature to run for county executive. Although we are focusing on Evers’ maps, some of the other Democratic maps also contain multiple Republican incumbent pairings that are just as egregious.

We previously wrote about another Republican incumbent pairing in Evers’ maps: He paired powerful state Assembly Majority Leader Tyler August with fellow Republican Amanda Nedweski in a newly drawn district, missing putting August with Speaker Robin Vos by six houses. August tells WRN that Evers’ maps left him with very little of his old district, essentially stripping the power of incumbency away from him, in addition to putting him against a fellow Republican who retains more of her original district.

Wisconsin Right Now is dedicated to doing stories on each of the Republican pairings to educate the public on what Evers did here.

Stroebel is currently in the 20th Senate District. He assumed office in 2015. In 2020, he was re-elected with a whopping 98.7% of the vote. He is a former member of the state Assembly.

Dan knodl

Before winning a special election in the hotly contested 8th Senate District in 2023, Knodl served in the state Assembly since 2008, where he held positions of leadership.

According to Stroebel, the Evers’ maps and those of other Democrats “undermine the public’s ability to have the people they want serve them. It is as simple as that.”

He said the Democratic maps want to “tear apart” relationships legislators have developed with their constituents for years. “It is just pretty clear they are making people have to vote in the future for people they don’t know,” he said.

Stroebel said that he and Knodl plan to speak soon. The two men don’t know what they will do if Evers’ maps stand. Evers’ maps are among seven sets of maps submitted to the state Supreme Court on Friday at 5 p.m. Two out-of-state consultants handpicked by the liberals on the court will review all of the map proposals and make a recommendation to the court by Feb. 1. Ultimately, the court will pick a set of maps or draw its own.

However, the media have allowed the governor to get away with claiming his maps are non-partisan, and we believe the public deserves to know what he is really trying to do here.

“We took an oath to uphold the Constitution and part of that is redistricting,” Knodl said. “The court has decided to step in and take that away from the Legislature. They are being super legislators. They are stepping way out of bounds to take away this legislative function.”

“We will wait for the end result,” he said, as ultimately the court will choose after receiving maps from the consultants.

Knodl said the new district “definitely slid more democratic,” and he noted that he “won the special election with less than a percentage. Now pulling that western area out, that is definitely a Democratic shift.”

Knodl lives in Germantown. He also owns a home in Hartford.

The liberals on the court shoved aside the conservative chief justice after seizing the majority, so they could usurp her scheduling authority. They then rushed through the newly filed case on the redistricting maps, which liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz prejudged on the campaign trail, labeling the Legislature’s maps “rigged.”

A couple key points to remember:

The state Constitution gives the Legislature, Republican-controlled now, the authority to redistrict. Evers promised to veto anything the Republicans put forward, so it headed into the courts.

The state Supreme Court, with sometime conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn joining the liberals, recently chose a previous set of Evers’ maps, but the US Supreme Court threw them out because of how they dealt with race. Hagedorn then switched to the conservative side, and the state Supreme Court chose the Legislature’s maps because they offered the least change.

Immediately after Protasiewicz was elected with $10 million from the state Democratic Party, the state Supreme Court’s new liberal majority reversed itself and threw out protocol and legal doctrine when it tossed out the legislature’s maps, ruling that they were unconstitutional because they included municipal islands. Those are just little pieces of annexed land that don’t have many people, if any, on them.

That’s even though the liberals on the court, Evers himself and federal courts had previously indicated that municipal islands were allowed under a definition of “contiguity.” The municipal islands simply followed municipal boundaries, and that’s also a requirement of the Constitution. Thus, many conservatives see what the court did as an attempt to find a tactic to accomplish its real goal: Gaming the maps for Democrats.

The now liberal-controlled state Supreme Court then pushed forward a warp-speed timeline over Christmas and thrust the state’s electoral system into chaos. Legislators, some of whom were recently elected, have no idea which district they will have to run in next.

Seven sets of maps were submitted. The Legislature’s maps focused on dissolving the municipal islands into their surrounding districts, since this was the supposed problem the court chose. Five sets of maps are perceived to be favoring Democrats, including Evers’.

The court then chose two handpicked, out-of-state and unelected consultants to wade through the submissions and propose maps to the court. This is all supposed to happen by Feb. 1, giving the public little time to understand what is in the map proposals. The court will eventually settle on the final maps, setting up rushed elections for next November.

Although some in the media have claimed the different sets of maps would still narrowly give Republicans a majority, those stories are missing the fact that this can be gamed and changes depending on which election or elections you use to calculate the partisan slant of any given district. Experts behind the scenes are still sorting through how that all shakes out, but it’s clear that Democrats gain significantly under all of the sets of maps. One Marquette Law analysis indicates that some of the maps outright give Democrats control of the state Senate, which they do not have now.

“Notably, the Senate Democrats plan and the Petering (FastMap) plans both create outright Democratic majorities, according to my model of the 2022 election,” that analysis reads, but there are other models to measure partisan tilt.

Democrats are trying to seize the state Senate and Assembly from Republicans so they can ram through a wish list of liberal policies in Wisconsin such as those seen in California and Minnesota.

Most of the news stories also do not contemplate how the pairings of Republican incumbents could affect the outcomes of the elections in newly drawn districts. A district might be coded as leaning Republican, but if it no longer has a Republican incumbent or one will be knocked out, that gives Democrats an extra edge the media are not reporting.

In an exclusive interview with Wisconsin Right Now, Knodl questioned whether Evers has coordinated with liberals on the state Supreme Court.


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