Special elections held Tuesday to fill three vacant seats in the Wisconsin Assembly saw Democrats win a seat which had been held by Republicans for more than a decade, while Republicans won the other two special elections. The GOP’s Assembly majority is now 59-38 with one Independent, and one more vacancy to be filled later this year. The Democrats gained a seat in the La Crosse area, where County Board Chairman Steve Doyle outpolled John Lautz 54-to-46 percent. The seat was held by Representative Mike Huebsch, who was tapped by Governor Scott Walker to serve as Secretary of the state Department of Administration.
The biggest issue for the La Crosse area seat was clearly the governor’s effort to strip most collective bargaining powers from public employee unions. Doyle said while voters supported most of Walker’s goals, they objected to his methods. “They’re looking for bipartisanship, not dictatorship,” he said.
The other two elections were in heavily Republican districts where the GOP candidates posted strong wins. Former congressional aide Dave Craig got 74-percent of the vote in defeating Democrat James Brownlow for the seat given up by Republican Scott Gunderson of Waterford. Gunderson was named as a deputy Secretary in the Department of Natural Resources. Craig called his victory was a clear show of support for Walker’s effort to cut state spending. In the north Milwaukee suburbs, Cedarburg School Board member Duey Strobel got 76-percent of the vote over Democrat Rick Aaron. Strobel replaces Mark Gottlieb, who’s been serving as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.