Evers Faces Daunting Odds In 2022
Democrats have lost 32 of the last 33 elections for governor when the president was a Democrat.
2022 could be a tough year for Democrats in Wisconsin. A new report highlights the historical hurdles Democrats will face next year to hold the state’s top political office, even if Governor Tony Evers runs for reelection:
- A Smart Politics analysis of Wisconsin election data finds that Democrats have lost a staggering 32 of the last 33 elections for governor when a Democrat resides in the White House dating back to 1855. The lone exception came in 1962 when Attorney General John Reynolds defeated former state GOP chairman Philip Kuehn by less than 12,000 votes with John Kennedy in office.
- Since the founding of the Republican Party in 1854, every Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial incumbent was defeated when running during a Democratic presidency: William Barstow in 1855 (after a losing court contest), George Peck in 1894, Albert Schmedeman in 1934, John Reynolds in 1964, and Martin Schreiber in 1978.
- Including elections prior to the formation of the GOP, Wisconsin Democrats have an all-time record of three wins in 35 elections for governor under a Democratic president (8.6 percent). That ranks last among its Upper Midwestern neighbors behind Illinois (7 of 24, 29.2 percent), Michigan (10 of 37, 27.0 percent), Iowa (7 of 33, 21.2 percent), and Minnesota (5 of 29, 17.2 percent).
- By contrast, Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial nominees have won 26 of 38 elections with a member of their party in the White House (68.4 percent). However, Republicans won 22 of 25 such elections prior to Dwight Eisenhower (88.0 percent) and just four of 13 elections since (30.8 percent).
- While gubernatorial incumbents have won 36 of 52 elections overall (69.2 percent), they have been victorious in only two of the last 11 attempts since 1928 when their party also runs the White House: Republicans Walter Kohler, Jr. in 1954 and Tommy Thompson in 1990.
Smart Politics is the non-partisan political news site founded and authored by Dr. Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.