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Wisconsin Gets New Legislative Maps Ending A Decade Of GOP-Gerrymandered Dominance

Democrats in Wisconsin received a rare win on Monday when Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed a new state legislative district map into law.

The Wisconsin state legislature has been dominated by Republicans for the last decade, but after an August election that sent liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz to the state Supreme Court, Wisconsin Democrats saw their opportunity to re-draw a district map previously recognized as one of the most gerrymandered in the U.S.

In 2023, just a day after Protasiewicz’s win, Democrats filed a lawsuit with the court declaring the current map unconstitutional, due to districts not being contiguous. Protasiewicz provided the deciding fourth vote. The court threatened that if the legislature could not agree on maps the governor would sign the court would re-draw the lines themselves.

The court accepted submissions from six parties, four Democratic and two Republican. After review by the Republican-controlled state senate, they selected the Democratic map, drawn by the governor as the option that would do the least damage to their current standing but would not allow the decision to fall to the Democratic court.

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State Sen. Van Wanngard (R) summed up the Wisconsin Republican’s position in a statement, “Republicans were not stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was a matter of choosing to be stabbed, shot, poisoned, or led to the guillotine. We chose to be stabbed, so we can live to fight another day.”

While Wisconsin Democrats are hailing the new map as a win, John Johnson, a research fellow at Marquette University’s law school, said in a blog post analyzing the decision that he sees “essentially no chance of Democrats winning a majority this November.”

He went into detail on the seats they do have a chance of picking up, “districts 14 (NW of Madison), 18 (Fox Valley) and 30 (Green Bay),” and noted that, “any one of these pickups would end the GOP supermajority in the upper chamber. Winning all of them will put the Senate majority very much at play during the 2026 cycle.”

Regardless the new map has emboldened Democrats in Wisconsin, and they have petitioned the state’s Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the state’s congressional district lines. Currently, Republicans hold six of Wisconsin’s 8 seats in Congress despite the state being evenly divided between the parties.

Clark Franzman

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