From Kenosha to La Crosse, Wisconsin Results Show Trump Still Repelling Suburban Voters

Last night’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election results laid bare Donald Trump’s electoral problems in key suburban counties, and highlighted the headwinds he’s facing both in Wisconsin and across the battleground map. His backing dragged down yet another GOP candidate, and Democrats continued to grow our margins from 2018, when Governor Evers was elected statewide.

Some key takeaways from the results (that should terrify Trump and the GOP) below:

Democrats narrowed the margins in historically Republican WOW (Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington) counties around Milwaukee, by double digits. As a reminder, Trump underperformed Romney in these counties in 2016. 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert: Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee ranked 1, 2 and tied for 3 in WI in pct of reg voters who returned an absentee ballot (44%, 43%, 42%). all saw big drop in conservative court margins from 2019. suggests those high WOW County absentee rates included some Dem voters as well as Reps

Craig Gilbert: the Republican WOW counties are almost all in.

conservative court margins in 2019 and 2020:

Waukesha: from +37 to +22

Ozaukee: from +25 to +12

Washington: from +50 to +36


Daily Kos’ Stephen Wolf: “Wisconsin GOP’s longtime base in Milwaukee’s populous & well-educated suburbs lurched to the left in 2020. Dems didn’t win there today, but cutting the GOP’s margin from 69-31 to 62-38 makes a big difference statewide, especially with Milwaukee County itself getting much bluer.”

Kenosha County, a key battleground county in the SE part of the state that Trump narrowly won in 2016, Democrats won by nearly 14 points.  

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “Trump knows what’s coming in November. He’s done great damage to his political prospects in Michigan. Pennsylvania is Biden Country. And a conservative judge was crushed in KENOSHA County by a liberal Wisconsin Democrat. The storm clouds are gathering.”

Democrats also outperformed in Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago Counties, outside of Green Bay, which Trump won by double digits in 2016. 

Marquette Law Poll’s Charles Franklin: “Lot of takes on the implications for Nov. of the Wisc. Supreme Court election today…But if there is one thing to note it is that Karofsky won Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago counties”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert: “we talk about the swingy southwest of WI. But the northeast (i.e., the B-O-W counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago) is also swingy — and more populous.”

In Marathon county, which Scott Walker easily won in 2018 and a conservative judge won by over 18 points last year, Democrats came within 2,500 votes of victory. 

Naomi Kowles of WSAW: “With 100% reporting, the 48/49 Rep/Dem split is a pretty significant shift towards purple for Marathon County, which votes reliably red by margins usually closer to 60/40”

In La Crosse and Eau Claire, Democrats further improved on 2018 margins: 

Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman: “For example, statewide, Karofsky ’20 ran 4.5% ahead of Evers (D) ’18, but she ran 10.2% ahead of him in La Crosse, 8.2% ahead in Eau Claire, 7.9% ahead in Wausau (and just 0.9% ahead of Evers in Milwaukee).”