Democrats Win Big in Wisconsin State Senate Race

The GOP got its bell rung again Tuesday when Democrat Patty Schachtner won an upset victory for State Senate in a traditionally deep red Wisconsin senate district. She won by nine points in a district that Hillary Clinton lost by 17 points in 2016.

How did she do it, and what can we Florida Democrats learn from her win?

First, her message was as simple as a mother’s admonition:  “My message has always been be kind, be considerate, and we need to help people when they’re down,” she told The Washington Post. “We just need to be kind to people who are less fortunate and just help.”

Be kind. Be considerate. Help people when they are down. Common decencies.

Contrast that to the policies and rhetoric of President Trump and Republican enablers like Governor Rick Scott and Representative Bill Posey.

  • Bullying.
  • Demeaning comments about “the other.”
  • Throwing millions off medical coverage.
  • Eyeing cuts in “entitlements” such as Social Security and Medicare to pay for tax breaks to the entitled.
  • Breaking America’s promise to Dreamers and tearing families apart.
  • Leaving the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) hanging in the wind.
  • Turning a blinds eye toward millions of Americans in Puerto Rico who still live in darkness and despair following Hurricane Maria.

We could go on, and on…And we will, time and time again, as we approach the 2018 midterm elections.

The second take-away from Schachtner’s upset victory was the candidate herself. She began at a decided disadvantage. Her Republican opponent was hardly a cream puff. He was well-known, well-funded a three-term member of the state Assembly.

But Schachtner had her own creds. She has deep roots in the community, as noted in the Post account. She is the chief medical examiner for St. Croix County and a former EMT, a member of the school board, a trustee for the local food pantry, and she sits on the board of a community center that helps victims of sexual and domestic violence. She also enjoys bear hunting.

So she spoke with authority when she raised the issues that most concerned her community: Fighting the opioid crisis, improving access to health care, and bringing good-paying jobs to the region.

And finally, she energized Democrats of every persuasion – progressive, liberal,  moderate, men, women, professionals and the working class.

Across Florida, our challenge is to put forth candidates who are seen as genuine and decent, have a positive message and can stand toe-to-toe with Republican hard-liners.

That will not be enough, however, if we don’t infuse voters with the enthusiasm and energy that will be required to take us over the top.

The Democrats of Indian River County are committed to doing our part. Join us.

Be part of the solution.


–Richard Leonard, Communications Committee