Caleb Frostman on Tuesday became the first Democrat to win a Wisconsin 1st Senate District election since 1976, earning the victory in a special election for the remaining seven months of former state Sen. Frank Lasee’s term.
On the heels of an especially strong showing in Door County, Frostman picked up 14,606 votes to 13,800 for Republican Andre Jacque, a 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent margin.
But he earned almost 63 percent of the vote in Door County, where he served a year and a half as executive director of its economic development corporation. He also got slim majorities in the portions of Outagamie and Calumet county that are part of the district.
Jacque, an Assembly representative since 2011, won in Kewaunee County and those parts of Brown and Manitowoc counties that are included in the 1st Senate District.
The last time a Democrat won the district was when state Sen. Jerome Martin won a fourth two-year term in 1976. Martin died less than a month into the term, and Republican Alan Lasee was elected to succeed him, holding the seat until he retired and was succeeded by his cousin Frank in 2011.
“It’s been a wild 75-day sprint,” Frostman said to his supporters in Sturgeon Bay in a moment captured on Facebook video by Door County Advocate reporter Liz Welter. “We are absolutely amped, it wouldn’t have been possible without the folks in this room.”
The two candidates have little time to rest, as they now must prepare for the November election. Jacque faces a primary challenge on Aug. 14 against fellow Republican Bill Nauta of Washington Island, while Frostman gains the advantage of running as the incumbent.
Republicans hold an 18-15 advantage in the state Senate but they have lost two special elections since gaining a 20-13 edge after the 2016 election.
The county-by-county breakdown:
Kewaunee: Jacque 1,760, Frostman 1,664
Door: Frostman 4,712, Jacque 2,804
Brown: Jacque 3,684, Frostman 2,955
Outagamie: Frostman 1,448, Jacque 1,168
Manitowoc: Jacque 2,258, Frostman 1,680
Calumet: Frostman 2,148, Jacque 2,126