Republican representative announces candidacy for open Senate seat

By: - December 2, 2022 6:05 am
Senate Chamber of the Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin Senate Chamber | State Department photo by Ron Przysucha

Rep. Dan Knodl (R-Germantown) announced his candidacy on Thursday for Wisconsin’s 8th Senate District seat, which represents parts of Ozaukee and Washington counties, northeastern parts of Waukesha county and the northern Milwaukee suburbs.

The seat is open following the retirement of Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), who was first elected to the Senate in 1992. Darling’s departure, which took effect on Dec. 1, leaves Senate Republicans one seat short of a 22-member supermajority, and the special election for the seat could be competitive. 

“Today, Wisconsin faces new challenges including runaway inflation, attacks on parental rights, and efforts to defund our police,” Knodl said in a statement. “I am running for the State Senate to ensure that the people of the 8th Senate District continue to have a proven common-sense voice in Madison.” 

He added that as a senator he would vote to support law enforcement, expand educational opportunities, limit bureaucracy and pursue tax reform. 

Knodl, who was first elected to the Assembly in 2008, serves as the chair of the government accountability and oversight committee. He has also previously served in Republican Assembly leadership as the majority caucus chair and assistant majority leader. 

Knodl represents one of the three Assembly districts that make up the 8th Senate District. The other two districts are District 22 represented by Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R – Menomonee Falls) and District 23 represented by Rep. Deb Andraca (D – Whitefish Bay).

The traditionally conservative seat could be an opportunity for Democrats to pick up a seat as Republican support in Wisconsin’s suburban counties has softened in recent elections. However, no Democratic candidates have announced their intentions to run yet.

Andraca, who many considered as a potential candidate, announced she would not be running for the seat on Monday.

“Senator Darling has been a role model for women in public office for decades, and I wish her all the best in her retirement,” Andraca said in a statement. “While I am very grateful to everyone who has encouraged me to consider running for the 8th State Senate District, I will not be a candidate this spring.” 

Andraca, who won her seat in 2020 and won a second term in November, said she wanted to spend time away from campaigning with her family, especially with her daughter who is leaving for college in the fall. 

“I love my work in the Assembly, and it is an honor to be able to serve the people of the 23rd District for a second term,” Andraca said in a statement. “I will continue to advocate for my constituents’ top priorities including better gun laws, stable funding for public schools, free and fair elections, and ending gerrymandering in our state.”

Gov. Tony Evers will need to schedule a special election to fill the seat.


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Baylor Spears
Baylor Spears

Baylor Spears is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner. She’s previously written for the Minnesota Reformer and Washingtonian Magazine. A Tennessee-native, she graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University in June 2022.