Republican wins special state Senate election in Wisconsin, handing GOP supermajority

Wisconsin state Rep. Dan Knodl (R) won Tuesday’s special election for an open state Senate seat, handing Republicans a supermajority in the upper chamber and the necessary votes to impeach state officials.

Knodl defeated Democratic attorney Jodi Habush Sinykin by just under 2 points in the race to represent Milwaukee’s northern suburbs, according to The Associated Press.

“This campaign has always been about focusing on the issues, like rising prices, crime, and education, and I am incredibly grateful to the voters of the 8th Senate District for placing their trust in me to represent them in the Wisconsin State Senate,” Knodl said in a Facebook post early Wednesday morning.

“Whether you voted for me or my opponent, I intend to resolutely and faithfully represent all of my constituents,” he added. “Now that the election has been decided, it’s time to get to work for the people of the 8th Senate District and the people of Wisconsin.”

The Republican candidate’s win coincided with that of Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz in the state’s high-profile Supreme Court race, giving the bench a liberal tilt for the first time in 15 years. 

The newly constituted liberal majority may have the opportunity to rule on legal challenges to the Wisconsin’s legislative maps, as well as the state’s hotly contested 1849 abortion ban.

However, Knodl said last month that he “certainly would consider” supporting efforts to impeach Protasiewicz.

“The judges, the circuit court judges, I think, have failed the community by releasing or not having a high enough bail on these criminals, the perpetrators. And so, they need to be looked at. And Janet Protasiewicz is a circuit court judge right now in Milwaukee, and she has failed,” he said in an interview on WISN’s “Upfront.”

Knodl was one of several dozen state lawmakers who signed onto a letter in 2020 calling for Vice President Pence to reject the certification of the election on Jan. 6, 2021.

In a recent interview with Wisconsin Public Radio, Knodl claimed there were “abnormalities” in the 2020 election but emphasized that he does not deny the outcome of the election.

Democrats attempted unsuccessfully to meddle in the Republican primary for the special election, boosting Knodl’s far-right opponent state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, according to The New York Times. However, Knodl ultimately defeated Brandtjen by about 25 points in the February primary.

Tags Janet Protasiewicz Wisconsin Wisconsin Supreme Court

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