Assembly Republicans say they're poised to defend the big majority Wisconsin voters handed them in the wave election of 2010. But Democrats say a big turnout and lots of vulnerable GOP incumbents will help them pick up seats this November.
Republicans hold a 59-39 seat majority in the Assembly with one Independent and last session they redrew the state's political map to their advantage. Beyond that built-in edge, GOP Assemblyman Robin Vos told a Wispolitics forum that Governor Walker's recall win bodes well for Republicans, "He carried 65 of the 99 Assembly Districts in the recall. Now I'm not saying that is going to translate into the results that we have on November 6, but I certainly think it's a good indicator that just six months after the recall happened, I can't see the state of Wisconsin making a dramatic lurch to the left."
But Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca says the wave election of 2010 put Republicans in the unenviable position of defending seats that lean Democratic, especially in Janesville and Eau Claire. And Barca thinks 2012 will be a Democratic year, "I think you're going to see a huge turnout. And where Republicans have a little bit of advantage in off-election years because their voters are a little more loyal coming out every time, Democrats at least every four years come out in droves. And I think this year you're going to see that totally be the case."
Barca predicts Democrats will win 44 to 50 seats this November. Vos says the GOP will win between 57 and 59.