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Scott Frostman: Buckle up for the next election cycle

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We press on and prep ourselves for the next battles. There may be some leftover handwringing, analysis and “what-ifs” bandied about for a few more days, but we rely on those same players to stay in the game.

Fresh off a mixed bag of results from the Nov. 8 election, we recommit to the next set of elections and candidates. We can expect a very bumpy ride here in Wisconsin and across the nation as races are still being sorted out. One can hear the whistled theme if we describe the results as “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.”

The good? Sen. Ron Johnson was re-elected for another six years in his victory over Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. According to multiple sources, Johnson was often described as the most targeted incumbent Republican senator. He was able to overcome millions in negative advertising and scurrilous claims to victory last Tuesday. Words to supporters late on election night were confident but tempered, and he was able to confirm victory the following morning. I look forward to his continued tenacity and fortitude in the Senate.

A bit under the radar, John Leiber won the race for state treasurer, though he’ll be the only Republican constitutional officer in the state. Republicans were able to pick up one more state Senate seat, giving them a 22-11 “veto-proof” majority in the Senate. Republicans picked up three more Assembly seats, bringing the totals to a 64-35 majority, just shy of a “veto-proof” majority.

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Great news out of western Wisconsin saw Derrick Van Orden winning the open seat in the 3rd Congressional District, and he’ll be a solid voice in Washington. By holding Johnson’s seat and with Van Orden’s win, Wisconsin did what it was supposed to do this year on a congressional level.

The bad news is we’ll be saddled with Gov. Tony Evers for another four years. We can expect no progress on election integrity, parent’s rights in education, school choice, tax reform, economic development opportunities, or easing a burdensome regulatory environment. We’ll get four more years of an uber-progressive mantra being shoved down the throats of public school children, lack of support for law enforcement, criminals finding their way to the streets sooner, and divided government again. We’ll be burdened with Attorney General Josh Kaul for another term, as he narrowly bested Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney. And we will face another four years of Secretary of State Doug LaFollette doing virtually nothing in his basement office.

Most of the “ugly” part happened in other locations. Arizona saw Maricopa County beset with tabulator problems as Election Day started. Alaska won’t know their results for a couple of weeks, due to the new controversial “ranked” voting system. While I don’t want to disparage his challenges, and wish him a full recovery, it was stunning to see Pennsylvania elect John Fetterman, who has had obvious cognitive problems since a stroke several months ago, to the U.S. Senate. How will he perform his duties?

In any election loss, there is consternation and wrangling, and we tend to put responsibility on candidates or their teams, at the potential expense of risking relationships that need to endure. It happens across the political spectrum, and we must remember we share these endeavors together. The sort of “fence mending” I discussed in the post-primary era must occur again. This isn’t a time for finger-pointing, it’s a time for unity.

After all, the efforts don’t end, they just move to another arena. Who’s running for your city or town council? School board? As of Dec. 1, candidates can begin their signatory process for nonpartisan offices to be chosen next spring. Who do you know who wants to serve? Time to talk to friends or associates. Municipal council, school board, and other candidates are the next ones needing our focus. We’ll also be electing a new Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin on April 4, another key race in our state.

Thanks to all those who took on the brave task of running for office this year. It is an arduous task that subjects you to scrutiny you never thought possible. Whether you won or lost, you’ll always remember the time, resources and dedication needed. Thanks for jumping into the arena. Thanks as well to candidate staffs and the host of volunteers that are the true grassroots of any movement. Prep yourselves for the next chapter and buckle up.

Frostman lives in Baraboo: scfrostman@gmail.com.

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