WI-State Senate: Population by District

With the release of census data for Wisconsin, we can also crunch population numbers by State Senate district – and to see potentially how redistricting could affect the various senators with recall campaigns mounted against them.

Without further ado, here’s the table – the eight rows highlighted in green are the eight recallable Republican senators.

As also shown in the data by Congressional district, there’s a shift from Milwaukee to Madison, population wise.  The Milwaukee County based districts (3rd – 8th) are all quite underpopulated, while the Madison-based 16th, 26th, and 27th are now overpopulated.  The MSP exurbs – now expanding into St. Croix County – have also grown, as shown in the overpopulation in the 10th (Harsdorf, R).

Will this affect the Recallable 8?  I’m skeptical – it’s unlikely, IMO, that we’ll get anything friendly from an unfriendly trifecta. Likely, the relative stability means that not too much will have to change – most of the recallable eight have districts that were stable population wise.  Harsdorf’s 10th will have to lose some – but that could be easily some Dem-leaning territory given to Robert Jauch’s 25th (D).

The Milwaukee County districts will need to expand outward…which could conveniently remove the Dem-leaning North Shore from Alberta “anything but” Darling’s 8th.  Additionally, given that Milwaukee County is surrounded on three sides by heavily Republican suburbs, it’s pretty easy to slice that pizza.  On the flip side, the growth in Dane County hasn’t reached a point yet where that would have to be sliced four ways.

So, unless we actually manage to recall Hopper, Darling, Kapanke, et al., the census numbers don’t necessarily indicate any help to come from Senate redistricting…especially not with an unfriendly legislature drawing the maps.

50 thoughts on “WI-State Senate: Population by District”

  1. in the next month or so.

    All the data is out now so I suspect the computers are whirling as I type.  

  2. But folks do realize that there are recall petitions being circulated for 6 Democratic Senators too, and that there is a very real possibility that the GOP will try to draw a couple of them into tougher districts so that recalling them would be easier? It looks like Holperin and Hansen have the swingiest districts of the Democrats who could be recalled.

    I’m not bringing this up to get people mad, I just want people to know that the recall efforts are currently operating in both directions.

  3. From a legal point of view, would the passage of a redistricting bill change the playing field for recall?

    Would the new boundaries take effect immediately, and therefor the signature gathering and recall election take place in the newly redrawn districts?

    Or would they continue to represent their present districts until the next election – and therefor any recall between now and November 2012 take place using existing district lines?

    (And the whole question of how Senate redistricting works with staggered Senate terms is an interesting set of issues – if there are large population shifts within the state, a newly created district could conceivably have no Senator for 2 years, or a Senator could continue to represent a district that no longer exists or that they no longer live in for that period. Strange, but not directly related to the recall question.)

    Obviously the Wisconsin Republicans have shown themselves quite willing to game the system in multiple ways to get the results they want. If redistricting quickly might impact recall risk for some of their members, I suspect they would pursue that.

    My cursory readings of the Wisconsin election website haven’t found an answer to this question. Has anyone heard an answer to this question in various discussions of the recall procedures?

  4. If signatures for a recall are turned in before a new map is approved, but a new map is approved days or hours after the signatures are submitted, does that void the process of the recall which would already be in effect?

  5. Most states have a waiting period before laws go into effect. Usually it requires an “emergency clause” to override that and make the law go into effect immediately, and that usually requires a supermajority to pass.

    It also depends on how state law treats new districts. In Virginia, a constitutional amendment was passed a few years ago which established that for any special election prior to when the new districts take effect, the old lines would still be used. I.e., if there’s a special election this summer once the maps are approved, it would still be under the old map.

    Unfortunately, the state’s redistricting home page is pretty useless; some of the information still hasn’t been updated since the last redistricting.

  6. Wisconsin just now got the data. They have to make ward maps first before they can even begin to draw the legislative districts. And even if they did rush in new legislative districts, they wouldn’t apply to the recalls, which would take place in their old districts.

  7. …makes it clear that laws take effect immediately.

    However, any redistricting will probably face a court challenge no matter what, especially if it’s being used in a nefarious manner.

    There are 3 assembly special elections on May 5th, so I doubt that any moves could be made by then. That would be after the deadline for submitting signatures.  Also, it takes time to redraw all the election wards and such after redistricting.  There probably would not be enough time to do that before a recall election.

    I’m sure there will be dirty tricks… that’s what the GOP does!

  8. …instead of makes it clear.  I think that the laws start immediately.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  9. I’d also like to see how each of these Wisconsin State Senate districts voted in the Barrett versus Walker election for Governor in 2010.  Also, a similar breakdown for the Obama versus McCain matchup.  

    This would give us more to go on in terms of what to expect from a recall campaign against the GOP state senators.  If any of them are in districts that voted for Barrett in 2010 and Obama in 2008, they are toast!

  10. I found a map of Wisconsin’s State Senate Districts and they appear quite jerrymandered.

    I also looked at how each of Wisconsin’s counties voted in the Scott Walker versus Tom Barrett 2010 race for Governor.  

    Tom Barrett beat Scott Walker in the following counties:

    Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Eau Claire, Trempealeau, Crawford, Menominee, Portage, Iowa, Green, Rock, Dane, Milwaukee.  

    Robert Cowles (District 2) was unopposed by a Democrat in 2008.  

    Alberta Darling (District 8) had a very close race in 2008, losing Milwaukee county by almost a 2 to 1 margin while winning in Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties.  

    Sheila Harsdorf (District 10) lost Dunn county, but won in Burnett, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix.

    Luther Olsen (District 14) was not opposed by a Democrat candidate in 2008.    

    Randy Hopper (District 18) won a very close race in 2008 by narrowly winning in both Dodge and Fort du Lac counties.  

    Glenn Grothman (District 20) was unopposed by a Democrat in 2008.  

    Mary Lazich (District 28) was unopposed by a Democrat in 2008.  

    Dan Kapanke (District 32) won a close race by winning in Crawford, Monroe, Richland and Vernon counties while losing in LaCrosse county.  

  11. Right?  I mean, worse than Delay?  I don’t see these people acting like a commission, exactly, and Delay didn’t have to try to gerrymander a generally well-balanced state.  They’ll do to the Milwaukee suburbs what abgin did to New York City.

  12. Even if they didn’t…I’m not sure if the Wiconsin GOP can afford any more dirty tricks optics.

  13. …in getting enough signatures for the Dems.  The WI GOP doesn’t seem to think so, either, and Fitzgerald hinted in a Fox News interview a similar prognosis.  Koch money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t buy a lot of boots on the ground in hostile territory.

  14. Noted, even if they did get these new district lines drawn very quickly it wouldn’t apply to the recall elections.

    We all know that Republicans will try to recall the Dem senators, its just that they’re going to fail miserably. If they were smart and savvy they would ignore all but Holperin and Hansen’s districts. Even Lassa and Wirch’s districts are too democratic. But even then, all of the energy is on the Dem side and they have to be considered heavy udnerdogs in both districts.

  15. And I don’t know the answer to the redistricting question. I assume that if the WI GOP can find a way to redraw the map in time for the recall elections, they will do it, if only for defensive reasons.

  16. GOP Senate President Fitzgerald publicly threatened the arrest of any Dem senator who planned to show up at the protest today.

    Walker and Fitzgerald are completely, utterly and totally tone deaf politically.  They just keep digging deeper and deeper.

    They will pull more dirty tricks in the near future and won’t care how it looks.

  17. Wisconsin Senate Gerrymanders State into Bacon

    Redistricting Plan Declared Non-Kosher

  18. The Republicans have to play a lot of defense here. They aren’t in the position to make an argument for recalls against Dems, trust is too low in them now.

  19. According to the WI elections site… which is good, ‘cos she won’t have to campaign while 8 months pregnant and can concentrate on her more important personal matters right now.

  20. it makes you wonder how realistic their shots are in our seats.  Only one Dem sits in a district Obama got less than 55% in.  Which Dems can they target anyway?  

  21. all you need is the money to pay canvassers to mislead and badger people to sign petitions.  

  22. He barely win in 2008 even in a blue district.  Hard to see him losing now, though, with the enthusiasm gap shifted left.

  23. bus in some angry tea party voters to do it. Hell you don’t even need to pay them money. All you need to do is feed them a healthy dose of Glenn Beck’s bizarre conspiracy theories. And while your at it don’t forget to fly in James O’Keefe and his goon squad to film misleading and heavily edited videos to make it look like the Democratic state senators were taking bribes from union bosses posing as drug dealers.  

  24. Canvassers must be Wisconsin residents and prove it.  As we’ve seen in WI, even the out of state teabagger buses have fallen way, way short.

  25. @DonWadewitz also told 1000 ppl signed up as volunteers from darlings district to get sigs 4 recalls, from same labor organizer

    42 minutes ago via Mobile Web in reply to DonWadewitz

    .@DonWadewitz kapanke(sp?) had 40% of voters from last election already sign, friend who told me v involved but can’t say 100% true

    44 minutes ago via Mobile Web in reply to DonWadewitz

  26. You could see it in his eyes when he admitted he would face recall.

    His district is the ONLY Kerry district among the 8.  All the others voted for Bush.  It was Kerry +7 in a state that went for less than Kerry +1.

    Why they didn’t let him vote no on the proposal is beyond me….  There’s something fishy going on with that.  It would behoove us to find out what that is.  The 8 who are being recalled should have been allowed to vote no on the bill.  It would have passed without any of them.  What do they know that we don’t?

  27. I would not be surprised if Kapanke and Darling have been reached. Especially Darling, I mean I have been collecting signatures and the office is always a flurry of activity, plus her district contains Shorewood, which while all the North Shore suburbs except for River Hills are pretty Democratic, Shorewood consistently votes over 70 percent Democratic, it is one of the larger north shore suburbs, and is incredibly active so it has a large store of volunteers.

    However, I know the recall campaigns have not publicly released any exact figures.  Even I could not get the percentages.  They are doing this so that we could keep the pressure on all the Republicans and even if a district has enough signatures, I could imagine they still want people to go out to keep up the enthusiasm.

    In addition to Darling and Kapanke, I would assume that they are close with Hopper, especially after recent revelations of his personal life. I would also agree that they are the three most vulnerable.  Of the remaining three which are vulnerable, I would not know who would be next.  I would say Cowles and Olsen are in somewhat similar boats in that they are both quite swingy districts.  However, I feel that Harsdorf’s district is trending GOP as it becomes more and more exurban.  


  28. it would have passed 10-9.  And the GOP would have argued, with a straight face, that had ANY of the Dems participated in the vote, the measure would have been defeated.  

    The Dems, of course, would argue that the “no” votes were sham votes.  But a significant number of Wisconsin voters might have blamed the Dems for leaving town and “allowing” the bill to become law.    

  29. It’s the Republican mantra.

    Won’t save Hopper, Kapanke, or Darling, though. Unless something wild comes up in court or through record-fast redistricting – and it being Wisconsin in the hands of these fringe lunatics, I wouldn’t wholly discount the possibility – you can stick a fork in the three of them. Hopper became a sure thing as soon as his wife informed those protesters that he is living with his young mistress. That with the sneak union-busting attack, talk about political murder-suicide.

  30. by a 53-45 margin, if my calculations are correct. So the reason he wasn’t able to win WI-03 (since he only lost by 3) was that the people he currently represents didn’t like him.

  31. When it comes to MN, I can look at a map and see three areas of Greater MN where the Farmer-Labor tradition from the 1930’s still runs extremely strong, and that translating to votes for Democrats.  You have the Iron Range/North Shore in the NE, a cluster of of farming counties in the west-central area of the state along the Minnesota River, and the SE corner along the St. Croix River where the land would be the gold standard for farming.

    Kapanke’s district is opposite the SE corner and I would guess would be one of the major sites from where the Progressive Party was born in Wisconsin.  You look around the rest of the country and farming territory has become either strongly Republican or has a strong influence of minority voters.  This area of the country is one of the few bastions left for white Democratic farmers and it’s because of the labor movement all those decades ago.  And after attacking the farmer’s themselves, I would guess the second best way to reawaken a populist revival here is to attack the teachers.  (Can’t help but snicker after typing that; how can get yourself elected governor and yet be so stupid politically?)

  32. The “They were shirking there duties” hand is as strong as they think. I guess it is because its the only thing they have that polls even somewhat well. But, I don’t think its an issue that really energizes and/or people and its an issue that a decent politician can explain away.

  33. to pass bills?  Regardless, doing the Pelosi method of catch and release would have been a disaster.  Imagine the narrative if they had only gotten 10 votes to pass this!

  34. I recall hearing the Eau Claire County GOP chairman expecting 60,000 Tea Party protesters when Breitbart & company came to protest back on Feb. 19, and I think there were no more than 10,000 pro-Walker folks that showed-up.  So, yeah, I’d be surprised if all the talk of Dem recalls gets backed up with actual recall elections.

  35. The main requirement placed on a canvasser (called a circulator in the statutes) in order for their circulation of the recall petition to be allowed, is for them to be a U.S. citizen who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin or who would be if they were a resident of Wisconsin.

    This does not mean that out-of-state canvassers are necessarily a good idea, as the person gathering signatures must list their address on the petition. This could potentially cause bad press, though it could also show (particularly if the out-of-state canvasser is a volunteer) how much people care about the issue.

  36. Their presence was rather dwarfed by the 100,000 protesters, though, but there was a pretty long tractor parade.

  37. Wouldnt doubt it; at my high school, there was always a day the seniors would decide to show up early and drive their tractors to school to take all the parking spaces.  I just hope the farmers chose to leave their chickens at home.

  38. I read a fluff piece on one of the restaurants in Madison having a farmer call up  and say one of his parents a teachers union president and he wanted to donate a thousand pounds of sweet potatoes.  The restaurants all banded together to make sweet potato fries and handed em out in a truck for a day.

  39. the Tea Party “movement” and this movement. The Tea Party was filled with malcontents and hatred. This movement is filled with respect and kindness.

  40. I don’t mean to be blunt, but did you not see the Walker=Hitler signs, the Mubarak comparisons, the apocalyptic rhetoric or the death threats to Republican senators?

    If this is a respectful, kind union movement, I’d hate to see what the ugly one looks like.

  41. taken but the protesters have for the most part been civil. I mean they made an effort to keep the capitol building clean when they were camping there for a few weeks. Also they haven’t been vandalizing the Republican senators’ offices as far as I know. Also I haven’t been hearing of protesters coming locked and loaded to these rallies. Their conduct has been much better than the tea party’s shameful actions during the height of the Health Care Debate where they shamelessly crashed town hall after town hall.  

  42. Who attached a manure/fertilizer trailer to his tractor and put a sign on the trailer that said “Walker’s bill goes here.”  Farm humor, FTW!

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