Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

272 Candidates Running for State Legislature

Highest number since 2012, many contested primaries.

By - Jun 7th, 2020 04:02 pm
Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

This year’s regular legislative elections feature the largest number of candidates in the primaries in eight years.

Candidate nomination papers were due last Monday at the Wisconsin Elections Commission, and a preliminary review of them shows 272 candidates qualified for the Aug. 11 primary ballot, including 135 Democrats, 130 Republicans, six Independents and one Libertarian.

This year’s slate of legislative candidates was the highest since 2012, when 298 candidates were on the ballot. The 2014, 2016, and 2018 legislative elections each had between 230 and 247 candidates in the primaries. The largest number of legislative candidates to square off in at least the past 25 years was 312 in the 2010 elections.

There are 115 legislative seats up in November, including all 99 Assembly seats and 16 state Senate seats.

The status of some candidates who did not appear to qualify for the ballot because of inadequate or improper signatures on their nomination papers may still change in the event they successfully appeal during a commission meeting next week.

Here are some other takes on this year’s legislative contests:

Twenty-five legislative races will feature only one major party candidate on the November ballot (see Table below). That’s a decline from recent years when there were 30 races in 2018 and 40 races in 2016 and again in 2014 that effectively gave voters no choice about their elected representative;

There are 20 open seats because the incumbent is either retiring or running for another office, including 13 in the Assembly and seven in the Senate. Open seat contests generally draw more candidates than races with incumbents because they are seen as an easier way by both parties to pick up a seat than in a race featuring an incumbent. This year, 84 candidates – nearly a third of all the legislative candidates – are running for the 20 open seats.

The largest primary fields of candidates vying for an open seat are in the 76th Assembly District, where eight will face off, and in the 26th Senate District, where seven candidates are on the ballot.

Table – Legislative Races No Major Party Opposition in November

S: Senate A: Assembly D: Democrat R: Republican I: Independent
*Incumbent with no major party opponent in November. Where no incumbent appears, the seat is vacant and only candidates from one party are running.

Districts Candidates
A05 Jim Steineke* (R)
A07 Daniel Riemer* (D)
A10 David Bowen* (D)
A16 Kalan Haywood II* (D) & Dennis C. Walton (I)
A18 Evan Goyke* (D)
A20 Christine Sinicki* (D)
A22 Janel Brandtjen* (R)
A27 Tyler Vorpagel* (R)
A36 Jeffrey L. Mursau* (R)
A53 Michael Schraa* (R) & Joseph Connelly (I)
A58 Rick Gundrum* (R)
A59 Timothy Ramthun* (R)
A60 Robert Brooks* & Chris Reimer (R)
A61 Samantha Kerkman* (R)
A77 Shelia Stubbs* (D)
A78 Lisa Subeck* & Rob Slamka (D)
A84 Mike Kuglitsch* (R)
A86 John Spiros* (R)
A98 Adam Neylon* & Rob Ochoa (R)
A99 Cindi Duchow* (R)
S02 Rob Cowles* (R)
S04 Lena Taylor* (D)
S20 Duey Stroebel* (R)
S22 Bob Wirch* (D)
S26 Amani Latimer Burris, Kelda Roys, William Henry Davis III, Aisha Moe, John Imes, Brian Benford & Nada Elmikashfi (D)

Table subject to change due to future possible action by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

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