So the underdog with no State office experience trounced a State Representative looking to move up to the State Senate. National news sees this as a referendum on President Trump. I think there’s more.
First, I think many people found their reactions similar to mine. I resented expensive mailings from Washington D.C. that were personally negative. There several coming each day and I found myself wondering why the intense out-of-state interest in a special election in northwest Wisconsin. By contrast, the Democrat ran a positive campaign and made “being nice” an asset. I think there was one negative mailing and that came from State Democrats. I realize that Representative Jarchow had no control over the Washington D.C. mailings and the outside money, but on the other hand he didn’t disavow them.
Second, there seems to be a growing feeling that the Republicans have been overplaying their hand. Vos and Fitzgerald, leaders of both houses in Madison, have come across as bullies, punishing their opposition. Safeguards of our environment and special favoritism to large campaign donors seem to have governed the decision making. Even though Rep. Jarchow voted against the huge benefits and future generation debt for Foxconn, people don’t seem to think it’s a good deal for Wisconsin and that it mortgages Wisconsin for a quarter of a century.
Third, Rep. Jarchow slicked in some major changes as part of the budget bill two years ago so that there could be no discussion or debate. That took away local control over waterways/shorelines etc. and he also worked to carve out a special State exemption for a single property on the Federally protected St.Croix River. People reacted to that negatively. As it turns out, real estate groups were major contributors to Jarchow’s Senate campaign. He worked for those to whom he was beholden.
Fourth, people don’t seem to buy the idea anymore that Democrats are going to take away our guns and Constitutional rights. The Democrat also hunts and was able to neutralize Jarchow’s championing of that idea.
Fifth, is it possible that many people thought it appropriate to have a woman succeed a woman in the Senate?
There’s more to all this, but the election was a definite upset and yes, there may well have been some anti-Trump sentiment in it, too. We should see more of that in the coming national elections in November. Republicans have plenty of baggage with Trump and many, if not sycophants for the President, have lacked the integrity to call him on his stuff.