Newsmakers, November 10, 2016

Air Date:
Heard On Newsmakers
Tim Dale, Joe Heim and Keith Knutson
Tim Dale, Joe Heim and Keith Knutson Hope Kirwan/WPR

2016 Election Recap-

Wisconsin’s state Senate Minority Leader may have survived a Republican wave of rural voters in this week’s election with the help of a third party candidate.

The state Senate GOP Majority added two seats this week and is holding out hope that a potential recount of votes in the 32nd Senate district could help widen a 20-13 seat margin.

State Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, defeated challenger and former state Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse by just 58 votes out of 90,000 votes cast in the district in Tuesday’s election. But 2,000 votes were cast for Integrity Party candidate Chip DeNure of La Crosse.

A UW-La Crosse political analyst said there’s no doubt the race was so close because of a groundswell of support from rural parts of the district.

“That area (Vernon, Crawford and part of Monroe County) gave Dan Kapanke a margin of 3,000 votes or so,” said Joe Heim, “La Crosse County tended to vote more Democratic in this election and that’s where Jennifer Shilling made up her numbers.”

UW-La Crosse Political Scientist Tim Dale said its very likely the DeNure, who supported Donald Trump for president and had a lot of Republican and Libertarian positions on issues, cost Kapanke the votes he needed to defeat Shilling.

“My guess is that most of the people who voted for DeNure would have left their ballot blank because this was clearly a protest vote against the other two candidates,” Dale said. “Would there have been maybe 60 of those voters who if they would have known the outcome of the race changed their vote? It’s possible. I think that it was close enough that DeNure’s voters, probably did, in the end hurt Kapanke in the race.”

A recount in the 32nd Senate District election is likely to be requested after a canvass of the election results is completed sometime next week.

– John Davis

Episode Credits

  • Hope Kirwan Host
  • John Davis Producer
  • Joe Heim Guest
  • Tim Dale Guest
  • Keith Knutson Guest