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Incumbents keep Senate, Assembly seats
Blue wave too shallow for state Democrats

MONROE — Democrats may have been cheering for their win in the gubernatorial race and gains at the attorney general and treasurer positions, but the candidates for Senate District 17 and the 51st Assembly District did not benefit from a projected blue wave Tuesday.

Kriss Marion, Blanchardville, ran against Republican candidate Howard Marklein for the state senate seat. While she said she began the day in anticipation of victory in her own race and a defeat at the state level, she is still “delighted with how things turned out” and has no plans to stop working toward meeting the goals of her campaign, like water quality and transparent government with local control.

“It was a very difficult night at the end of a wonderful nine months,” Marion said, adding that she was proud of the campaign’s grassroots fundraising of more than 16,000 individual donations. “No regrets.”

According to results from the Associated Press, 54 percent of voters from nine counties throughout southern and western Wisconsin chose Marklein. He secured 37,469 votes. Marion claimed nearly 46 percent of the electorate, falling short with 31,775 total votes.

In the end, she noted that the race was a victory on its own because her push for better roads, education funding, cleaner water and local control became central to Marklein’s campaign “even though he hadn’t been providing those things.” Marion also said one of the goals she had at the start of the race was to “bring positivity back to politics” and feels that she did.

In the Assembly race, Marion’s fellow Democrat Jeff Wright suffered a defeat as well, though in a much smaller margin. He was running to take the seat of incumbent Republican Todd Novak.

Novak kept his seat by less than 1 percent of the vote, winning with 12,444 votes to Wright’s total of 12,115.

Novak said close races are not new for him, noting he won his first election by 55 votes. When early results had him down by nearly 1,000 votes, he said he knew there was still time to see his numbers increase because the areas where he traditionally doesn’t do well are “heavily Democratic.”

Now, Rep. Novak just wants to get back to work. 

“I love this job, I don’t like the elections part of it,” Novak said. “I’m just glad it’s over. I can go back to doing the job I love.”

And he plans to hit the ground running, noting that pro-education governor-elect Tony Evers will be someone he can work with to recalibrate the school funding formula. Novak said he is “excited about the chance to rewrite” the formula and plans to connect with Evers, working in a bipartisan way to help the 51st District.

Marion also said she plans to dedicate herself to her current elected position as a Lafayette County board supervisor. 

Plans include restructuring the county method of conducting meetings in order to allow more voices to be heard and more transparency at the local level. She plans to encourage local engagement in a number of ways, even looking to organize more civics education for young people.

“I want people to realize, you can have a voice,” Marion said. “And, to insist you have a voice.”