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HomeBreaking NewsCan Republicans Win Statewide Elections Again?

Can Republicans Win Statewide Elections Again? [WRN Voices]

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In November of 2010, Republicans elected Senator Ron Johnson, Governor Scott Walker, and majorities to the state senate and assembly. That year we also elected a Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen and State Treasurer Kurt Shuller.

Oh, and by the way we did all of this on maps drawn by Democrats.

The string of statewide wins continued when Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch were
reelected in the recall election of 2012 and again in 2014. Walker’s streak was finally broken in 2018 when he was narrowly defeated by Tony Evers by a scant 29,227 votes. Attorney General Brad Schimel lost by an even smaller 17,190 votes. These were the first of a series of very close races in Wisconsin.

Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by just 22,748 votes in 2016 and in 2020 Trump lost by only 20,608 votes. Ron Johnson won reelection in 2022 by only 27,000 votes. Other state races were similarly very close. John Leiber won the State Treasurers race by 38,604 while Amy Loudenbeck lost the Secretary of State race by only 7,442 votes and Eric Toney lost the AG race by just 34,621. These are very small numbers when you consider that 2.7 to 3.3 million people voted in these elections.

Elections have changed. We no longer have election day; we have election weeks. Absentee
ballots for the April 2 election are required by law to be mailed by March 12. That is three
weeks before election day. Early in-person absentee voting begins two weeks before election day. Close to half of all votes will be cast by absentee ballot.

Why is early voting so important? Because Democrats have a strategic advantage when their people vote early. Voting early allows candidates to target their resources on people who have not yet voted. Turning out lower propensity voters in the final days of a campaign can make all the difference in close races.

Republicans continue to vote disproportionately on election day. Many Republicans choose to vote on election day because they don’t believe that their vote will be counted.

We are not losing elections in Wisconsin because of fraud. We are losing based on turnout. The evidence can be clearly seen in the 2020 election results. Republican candidates for
Congress and the State Assembly received 51,000 more votes than Donald Trump. How can this difference be explained by fraudulent votes? It can’t.

The results in Waukesha County, the state’s largest Republican County tell the story. Donald Trump trailed the Republican candidate for state Senate by 7% and the Assembly candidate by 4.5%. This drop-off in support from Republican voters fully explains how Trump lost Wisconsin.

When 2.7 to 3.3 million people are voting, it is easy to see how Republicans are losing close elections. By focusing our efforts on turning out more voters in the final days of campaigns we can start winning some of these close elections.

We would save money and resources just like the Democrats by not mailing, door knocking or calling people who have already voted, allowing us to target resources on people who are less likely to vote.

How do I vote early?

There are several ways you can vote early. The Republican Party of Wisconsin is promoting a program called “Bank Your Vote”. Visit bankyourvote.com and pledge to cast your vote early.

Early voting ensures that people do not fail to vote because of election-day problems like
sickness, being out of town, car problems, bad weather or long lines at the polls.

You can request an absentee ballot by visiting myvote.wi.gov.

You can vote early in person if that gives you more confidence that your vote will be counted.

You can vote in person at your city clerk’s office. In-person absentee voting begins 14 days
before the election and ends the Friday before the election

The second thing that Republican voters can do to win more elections is vote in the spring elections. There are two very important statewide offices that are elected in the April elections. The Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Secretary of Department of Public Instruction.

For some reason, Republican voters don’t seem to recognize the importance of these spring elections. This is when county board, school board, and municipal elections are held. These are the governments that determine your property taxes.

We are witnessing the consequences of Republicans’ failure to vote in the spring elections right now. In the April 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election just 818,000 people showed up to vote for Daniel Kelly. Contrast this turnout with the vote totals for Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, and Donald Trump who all exceeded 1.2 million votes. What happened to all those Republican voters?

This failure to vote has resulted in liberal activist judges taking control of our state’s highest court. They are going to approve maps that are clearly politically gerrymandered. All the maps submitted would flip control of the state legislature to Democrats.

Republicans can win statewide elections again in Wisconsin. To succeed Republican voters must vote early and start showing up for spring elections.

Bill Feehan
Bill Feehan is a resident of La Crosse Wisconsin, where he operates several small businesses. Bill has served as an officer in the Republican Party of Wisconsin since 2009. He was elected to the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors in 2010. Bill has served as Chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Party since 2019. He was a Republican elector in the 2022 presidential election. Bill is currently a candidate for the La Crosse District 1 County Supervisor. You can find the archives of his Fact Check podcast at https://www.wizmnews.com/podcasts/fact-check-with-bill-feehan/. Bill has also been a frequent contributor to The La Crosse Tribune newspaper since 2004.
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