Outside the Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Appleton, the line of social-distanced voters winds around the parking lot at 4 p.m. on Election Day.
Outside the Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Appleton, the line of social-distanced voters winds around the parking lot at 4 p.m. on Election Day. Eric St. Louis said that when he drove past earlier that day the line had been wrapped around the corner, but said that, all things considered, he thought poll workers were handling the election well. (Photo by Christina Lieffring)

In race after race, Republicans either hold or flip seats in state Legislature. 

In the end, a gerrymandered map can be overcome by seniority, but not necessarily by money.

Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate picked up two seats on Tuesday, including the post held for 20 years by Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), when private practice attorney Eric Wimberger (R-De Pere) defeated Hansen’s nephew, Green Bay Alderman Jonathon Hansen, 54.7% to 45.3%.

The elder Hanssen announced his retirement in January. Jonathon Hansen received more than $500,000 for his campaign, including over $400,000 from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. 

Wimberger raised less than $18,000 with no major contributions from the Republican Party of Wisconsin but he had an advantage in a district map that was gerrymandered in 2011 to target Dave Hansen. But the veteran lawmaker not only survived a 2011 recall, he won reelection in 2016 when President Donald Trump carried the 30th Senate District by 11 points. Hansen won re-election by about two points.

UpNorthNews reached out to Wimberger’s campaign but did not immediately receive a response.

The other Republican pick-up was in western Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District where Rob Stafsholt unseated Patty Schachtner who won the seat in a special election two years ago.

In a Fox Valley congressional race, Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher held onto the 8th Congressional District in the northeast by a wide margin—64% to 36%—against current state Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton). 

Gallagher said he was at a small get-together watching the results come in Tuesday night. Despite indicators that Wisconsin as a whole is leaning toward former Vice President Joe Biden, Gallagher said that for Republicans, who managed to hold on and even gain some seats in the Northeast, “it’s a good night in our district.”

“I just really felt good about the hard work that we put in, particularly in a district like mine that used to be a swing district,” Gallagher said. “I was glad to see we got a lot of crossover voters who split their ticket.

I want to continue doing the common sense Wisconsin problem-solving approach for two more years.”

While Gallagher was proud of the Republican Party’s hold in the region, he also recognized the desire among voters for more bipartisanship. He said that the issues he’s focused on—cybersecurity, defense and national security—are “not partisan issues” so he’s worked across the aisle. 

“It’s incumbent upon people in public office like myself to bridge that gap,” Gallagher said. 

Stuck came under fire toward the end of the race for focusing on Gallagher’s wife’s career as a Broadway actress to argue he is too privileged to understand the region’s struggles

Stuck’s Assembly seat remains Democratic, as Lee Snodgrass of Appleton defeated Republican Eric Beach, who came under fire for tweeting Q-anon conspiracy theories and defamatory statements about former President Barack Obama.

Another new face in the State Assembly from the Fox Valley region is Rachael Cabral-Guevara, a nurse practitioner and owner of Nurse Practitioner Health Services LLC in Appleton, a cash-based health clinic. She will succeed fellow Republican Mike Rohrkaste, who decided not to run for re-election.

Cabral-Guevara posted on her Facebook page Wednesday morning that she was “honored that this district put their trust in me to represent them down in Madison.”

“During this politically polarized time, I am hoping we can now come together and heal,” Cabral-Guevara wrote. “We have too many issues to address as a state to remain divided. Beyond that, we have too many opportunities ahead to remain bitter. Whether you voted for Dan [Schirl] or myself, I want you to come to me with the issues facing your family.”