After attending Republican Party’s state convention in Oshkosh in May 2019, I believe that conservatives in Wisconsin are energized, heading towards 2020, in spite of major loss in statewide races in 2018.
Conservatives from around the state attended the convention with hope and determination. Over the last few months, many expressed frustration with the outcomes of the 2018 races for the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and State Treasurer. There were also losses in the races for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State Senate District 10, earlier in 2018. Grassroots activists engaged in constructive criticism to identify failures, and to point out strengths that conservatives could build on. At the convention, findings from post-election assessment were presented. The biggest take-home point was the following: the state Republican Party must meet the needs of the grassroots activists and support the county parties and every Republican candidate on the ballot all across Wisconsin.
Conservatives have major accomplishments. At the national level, there is high economic growth, low unemployment, increased consumer confidence, and cutting of regulations, to name a few. At the state level, Republicans have helped balance the budget and turn deficit into surplus, cut taxes, froze tuition at University of Wisconsin, created a business-friendly environment, reduced unemployment, and more. With achievements to highlight, conservatives now need an army of dedicated staff and volunteers to ensure high voter turnout for GOP to carry candidates to victory. Nationally, Wisconsin is a battleground state. For state-level GOP officials, in spite of losses in 2018, the good news is that voters continue to support Republicans to be in charge of the lawmaking body of state government, by keeping conservative majorities in the State Assembly and State Senate. Furthermore, Brian Hagedorn’s victory in the 2019 Wisconsin Supreme Court election shows that the grassroots conservatives are still strong and active.
While liberal candidates would hope to make big gains in Wisconsin next year, the GOP state convention showed that conservatives would be ready to overcome all challenges.