Wisconsin’s Governor, Senate Races are Going to Be Really Close. How Do We Know? History.

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Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

By Cherita Booker

October 14, 2022

Wisconsin has been labeled a “swing” or “battleground” state time and time again, with elections here won and lost by the tightest of margins.

Elections are affected by myriad factors each cycle, but the closeness of races in Wisconsin is pretty consistent. Let’s focus on the past 10 years, beginning when Barack Obama won his second presidential election. 


In 2012, incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, ran against Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. 

Despite Wisconsin being the home state to vice presidential nominee Ryan, Obama won the state with 52.83% of the vote, compared to Romney’s 45.89%.

Obama won the state’s largest city, Milwaukee, in addition to Madison and much of northeastern Wisconsin. Romney’s highest support came from Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Washington counties. 

As for the US Senate, Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin won 51.4% of the votes to former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson’s 45.9%. Her victory helped Democrats keep control of the Senate. Baldwin broke barries by becoming  the first woman elected to the Senate from Wisconsin, as well as the first openly gay member. She then became the 18th woman member of the Senate, the new record.


Republican nominee Donald Trump won 47.2% of the vote, to Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton’s 46.5% in Wisconsin’s 2016 general  election. 

Clinton lost by just 23,000 votes, and Trump became the first Republican candidate to win  Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. 


Democratic candidate Tony Evers won Wisconsin’s governor’s race in 2018 with 49.5% of the votes to incumbent Gov. Scott Walker’s 48.4%, ending his pursuit of a third term. This win led to Evers running mate, Mandela Barnes, becoming the state’s first Black lieutenant governor. 

Since taking office, Evers has cut taxes by 15% for working families and invested in the state’s roads, bridges, and the state’s public school system. 


TBD. Evers is running for reelection, and Barnes is running for U.S. Senate. The upcoming election is on Nov. 8, 2022. As we know from history, the battleground state of Wisconsin is familiar with narrow elections. Every single vote counts, which is why it is important to exercise your right to vote. To check your registration status, or to find more voting information, click here.


  • Cherita Booker

    Milwaukee native Cherita Booker attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in various roles as a multimedia journalist since 2017. She enjoys photography, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

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