Jodi Habush Sinykin (D) and Daniel Knodl (R) are running in the special general election for Wisconsin State Senate District 8 on April 4, 2023.
Republicans have held the seat since 1993, following Alberta Darling’s (R) election to the state Senate in 1992. Darling retired on Dec. 1, 2022. Her retirement reduced Senate Republicans’ 22-member supermajority to a 21-member majority. The results of the special election will determine whether Republicans regain a supermajority. A Republican supermajority would mean two-thirds of Wisconsin senators are Republican and would have the votes necessary to speed up the legislative process by suspending Senate rules, as well as hold impeachment trials of state officials such as the governor.
Wisconsin has a divided government, meaning Republicans control the legislature, while Tony Evers, a Democrat, holds the governorship. In Wisconsin, a two-thirds majority in each chamber is required to override a gubernatorial veto. The state House is split 64 Republicans to 35 Democrats, while the state Senate is split 21 Republicans to 11 Democrats, with one vacancy.
Habush Sinykin is an environmental lawyer and small business owner. Her campaign website said, “Jodi is running on the issues that actually matter to the people of the 8th Senate District: keeping good paying jobs here in Wisconsin, ensuring public safety, and protecting a woman’s right to [choose].”
Knodl is a small business owner and has served as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2009. He represents District 24. Knodl’s campaign website said, “My priority is to help keep our communities safe and thriving and make sure state government is working efficiently for the people. Thanks to commonsense budgeting and cutting government waste over the years, we’ve been able to reduce the tax burden on families and small businesses, invest in education and roads, reduce healthcare premiums, and much more.”
During the redistricting process following the 2020 census, Wisconsin State Senate District 8 was drawn to include portions of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties. Milwaukee County voted for Barack Obama (D), Hillary Clinton (D), and Joe Biden (D) in presidential elections from 2012 to 2020, making it a Solid Democratic county. Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties voted for Mitt Romney (R) and Donald Trump (R) twice during the same period, making them Solid Republican counties. Milwaukee County makes up 15.94% of the state’s population, while Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties make up 1.55%, 2.32%, and 6.91%, respectively.