Barca Will Remain Assembly Minority Leader

While Senate Minority Leader Larson Will Step Down, Assembly Democratic Leadership Remains The Same

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca. Photo: Richard Hurd (CC-BY).

Wisconsin Democrats have decided to stick with Peter Barca as Assembly minority leader despite a lackluster showing in last week’s elections.

Barca’s election means he’ll lead Assembly Democrats for a third straight session. He was first elected to the post in 2010 after Democrats lost the majority.

While Barca was largely unopposed in previous bids for the post, this year he was challenged by Milwaukee Democrat Evan Goyke. Goyke’s supporters noted that under Barca’s control, Assembly Democrats had seen their numbers drop from 39 members to 36. Goyke said it was time for a change.

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“Change isn’t easy. It takes hard work and it takes courage, but I submit to you that that is exactly what our caucus needs now,” he said.

Barca said that while Democrats lost seats this election, it was not because of a lack of hard work or resources.

If our candidates that just ran did poorly and the rest of the ticket did well, I wouldn’t even ask for your vote, said Barca.

Republicans expanded their majority from 60 members last session to 62 this session, with one race still too close to call on Tuesday, forming the GOP’s biggest majority since 1957.

Barca said the Democratic incumbents who lost Assembly races this year received more votes in their districts than gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, and that he’s confident Democrats will find a way to dial up turnout to keep pace with Republicans.

I believe that if we work together, if we work with our congressional representatives, if we build upon what we’ve started that we can have much better success, said Barca.

Senate Democrats will name their new minority leader on Wednesday. They’re expected to elect LaCrosse Senator Jennifer Shilling. Senator Chris Larson of Milwaukee announced yesterday that he would not seek another term as Senate Minority Leader.

Barca won a secret ballot to retain his post.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with information from the Wednesday morning news broadcast.

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