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Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Philip Shulman   
Thursday, 10 October 2019 16:44

scott_walker_voting_boothsDonald Trump’s broken promises to Wisconsinites, and his transformation of the Republican party, has scared away voters that traditionally voted Republican.


WAUWATOSA, WI - Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article highlighting Wisconsin Democratic Assemblywoman Robyn Vining’s 2018 victory in a traditional Republican stronghold and how Democrats continue to shrink the margins in the famous WOW counties (Waukesha, Ozake, Washington). 

Rep. Vining’s district is a clear example of how Donald Trump’s broken promises to Wisconsinites, and his transformation of the Republican party, has scared away voters that traditionally voted Republican. In 2012, the district voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney by 14 points. A mere four years later, Hillary Clinton won the district by four points. Democrats continue to make up ground in these suburban communities, relying on a more robust field and volunteer operation than has been seen in the past, and hammering Trump and Republican’s relentless assaults on health care, one of several kitchen-table issues that are particular vulnerabilities for the president’s reelection campaign.

One excerpt from the report highlights the exact issue Republicans in the WOW counties are facing.

[Elizabeth] Newpauer, 30 and pregnant with her second child, is herself an embodiment of the shifting attitudes in the district she lives in. Born in Kansas, she said she voted Republican all her life and considered herself an evangelical Christian. But in 2016, Donald Trump's bullying rhetoric pushed her to vote for a Democrat for president and, two years later, to help Vining narrowly win her seat in an election that would signal to Republicans the long-reliable Milwaukee suburbs might be drifting.

KEY POINTS:

  • "I want somebody who I feel will actually love the people they are serving," Elizabeth Newpauer said sitting at a dining room table with her state representative, Robyn Vining, and five other women who helped Vining, a Democrat, get elected to a seat that had been held by Republicans for decades. 
    • Newpauer, 30 and pregnant with her second child, is herself an embodiment of the shifting attitudes in the district she lives in. Born in Kansas, she said she voted Republican all her life and considered herself an evangelical Christian.
    • But in 2016, Donald Trump's bullying rhetoric pushed her to vote for a Democrat for president and, two years later, to help Vining narrowly win her seat in an election that would signal to Republicans the long-reliable Milwaukee suburbs might be drifting.
  • Once held by Wisconsin conservative icon Scott Walker and other lawmakers who support heavy restrictions on abortion access and fewer rules for gun owners, the seat is now held by one whose views on such issues are directly opposite.
  • State Sen. Dale Kooyenga, a Republican who lives in Brookfield, held the seat Vining now represents for six years until he was elected to the Senate in 2018.  His last Assembly election night was in 2016, when he topped his Democratic challenger by 15 points. A wide margin, but Kooyenga had earned a smaller share of votes than some of his GOP colleagues in more rural areas who had once envied the safety of Kooyenga's seat.  
    • "The night of the election — the results started coming in and I remember really just scratching my head and having a moment of self-reflection and saying, 'What are we doing wrong?'" Kooyenga said in an interview.
  • But a closer look also revealed he had outperformed the top of the ticket. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had won his district by 4 points.
    • Just four years before, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had won it over Democratic President Barack Obama by 14 points.
    • "We went from what are we doing wrong to wow, what are we doing right?" Kooyenga said about election night in 2016.
  • Vining is a 42-year-old mother of two who owns her own photography business and got into her race with a message focused on health care — an issue that helped elect a number of Democrats in 2018 when Vining was elected.
    • In one campaign ad, Vining told viewers her health insurance provider dropped her coverage when she became pregnant with her first child, calling the pregnancy a pre-existing condition to the date at which her coverage began.
  • A spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin did not respond to a request for an interview with party leaders about the party's strategy to flip the district back to the GOP's side.

Read the full story by clicking here.

 
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