By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The conservative spring has sprung, and signs from Wisconsin’s April elections point to a cold November ahead for Democrats.
Conservative candidates won scores of local seats in some nationally watched races, blue-leaning Kenosha County elected its first Republican county executive, and a conservative easily defeated Democrat Gov. Tony Evers’ liberal appointee to the state’s Second District Court of Appeals.
Paul Farrow, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said Tuesday’s elections proved the GOP’s grassroots operation is battle-tested and well-positioned to carry its momentum into the November mid-terms.
“Conservatives fought and won across the state, including in swing and deep blue areas,” Farrow said in a press release.“
Tuesday felt a lot like the building days of the Republican Revolution of 2010, when an Obama-and-big-government-fatigued electorate pushed Democrats out of power in the House and states across the country, including Wisconsin, elected conservative governors and legislatures.
On the list of significant victories:
› Waukesha County Judge Maria Lazar handily beat interim Appellate Court Judge Lori Kornblum, a former prosecutor in “progressive justice” John Chisholm’s Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. Lazar’s victory marked the second time in the last year an Evers appointee was defeated in the Second District appeals court.
› State Rep. Samantha Kerkman became the first woman, and reportedly the first Republican, elected Kenosha County executive. Kenosha is still healing from the damage done in the 2020 riots. Many residents were frustrated by the slow response to the riots from Evers and his administration.
› In La Crosse County, six of the nine candidates backed by the local Republican Party won seats on the county board. La Crosse County remains a blue island in an increasingly red 3rd Congressional District, but conservatives made significant gains inTuesday’s elections.
“The conservative movement continues to grow in western Wisconsin and I think that bodes well for our party,” said Bill Feehan, chairman of the Republican Party of La Crosse County.
Adams, Calumet, Door, Kenosha, Marathon, Rock, and St. Croix counties all flipped their county boards, according to the state GOP. An additional nine county boards are now within three seats of a Conservative majority.
Conservatives in Rock County won almost 90 percent of the county board races they had targeted, the RPW said. Rock County voters also elected conservatives to school boards in the Democratic strongholds of Beloit and Janesville.
In left-leaning Green Bay, conservatives took control of the city council, despite national and state liberal groups spending heavily in a desperate attempt to hold the majority for leftist Mayor Eric Genrich. The two defeated liberal incumbents led Genrich’s effort to try to whitewash Green Bay’s 2020 election scandal in which emails show a former Democratic Party operative and other liberal activists funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg infiltrated election administration.
The parent revolution also showed up big time at the polls. Every targeted conservative candidate running for school board seats won elections in Cedarburg, Elmbrook, Manitowoc, Menomonee Falls, Germantown, Wausau, Oconomowoc, Whitnall, Waukesha, Altoona, Amery, New London, Neenah, West Bend., and several other locations, according to the RPW. Many of the candidates are fed up with administrators and educators pushing liberal ideology in classrooms.
All three conservative candidates in the Wausau School Board were victorious, leading to an 8-1 majority on the board. Just two years ago, liberal controlled the board 7-2.
Three school boards in Kenosha County flipped to conservative control.
Conservative Jane Lang became Neenah’s second female mayor. President Biden won the city by more than 1,000 votes in 2020. Waukesha, Washington, and Langlade County all won over 80 percent of their targeted races, according to the state GOP.
Conservative candidate recruiter American Majority Wisconsin said 124 of its candidates were elected Tuesday night — a win ratio of 63.6 percent. American Majority noted the five first-time candidates winning seats on Green Bay’s city council “after city officials used Zuckerbucks to run the 2020 elections.”
“Green Bay voters sent a clear message that they want to restore election integrity,” the group said in a press release.
Turnout, too, was way up in places where local elections don’t generally draw much attention. In rural La Crosse County, for instance, voter turnout was as high as 40 percent, a remarkable participation rate for a county board race.
What drove the conservative spring?
“Democratic Party policies are leaving people behind,” Feehan said. “People in western Wisconsin don’t believe in defunding police, they like their guns, they like hunting, and they’re very concerned about the crumbling rural roads out here.” Roads, coincidentally, liberal governor Tony Evers promised to fix when he ran four years ago.
“I think we’re in a good place for November,” Feehan added.