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Assembly leaders downplay possibility of GOP supermajority this fall

Assembly leaders downplay possibility of GOP supermajority this fall

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Despite optimism that Republicans could make gains in the Legislature this fall, the top Assembly Republican on Wednesday downplayed the possibility of the GOP securing a veto-proof majority.

State Republicans are within six wins of securing supermajorities in the Wisconsin Legislature, which would require holding all current seats and winning three additional districts in both the Senate and Assembly. Doing so would give Republicans the votes necessary to override any veto by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, including a veto of new legislative district maps that could influence which party controls the Legislature for the next decade.

However, speaking during an online WisPolitics.com video discussion on Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said such an achievement may not be attainable. Vos put the odds of securing a supermajority at a “one-third chance.”

“I don’t think it’s likely, only because of the environment that we are in,” Vos said, citing massive fundraising efforts this year by Democratic campaigns. “We’re going to probably be outspent, but we’re not going to be outworked.”

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, also said the November election — which sees Republican President Donald Trump facing Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden — could translate to Democratic gains.

“If it’s a good year for Biden, we think the opportunity is there,” Hintz said. “I feel good about all those incumbents returning and I’m bullish on some of the opportunities that exist.”

Hintz said increased fundraising can be attributed to enthusiasm among Democratic voters. Republicans also passed in recent years new campaign finance laws that allowed more money to flow to political parties.

“It’s a little rich to hear the Speaker complain about money,” Hintz said. “The reality is that we’re motivated.”

State campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission in July show the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, along with Democratic committees in the Senate and Assembly, contributed more than $220,000 to Democratic candidates in five of the six seats deemed vulnerable by state Republicans earlier this year.

All told, the state Democratic Party raised more than $10 million in the first half of the year between state and federal accounts. The state Republican Party raised about $860,000 over the same time span.

Asked about specific districts, Vos said he’s confident Republicans will succeed in districts currently held by Democratic incumbent Reps. Robyn Vining of Wauwatosa, Nick Milroy of South Range, and Steve Doyle of Onalaska.

Hintz predicted possible Democratic victories over GOP incumbent Reps. Jim Ott of Mequon, Rob Hutton of Brookfield, and John Macco of De Pere.

Republicans have pointed to the more than 90 GOP Assembly candidates on the ballot this year — the most since 1986, Vos said — as representative of the party’s enthusiasm heading into the election. At the same time, the state Democratic Party earlier this year launched a “Save the Veto” campaign with the goal of holding all their seats and preventing Republicans from reaching a supermajority.

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