MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Buoyant Democratic candidates for governor said Wednesday that voter anger with Republican incumbents helped fuel an upset win in a state Senate special election, energy they hope will carry over to the fall when Gov. Scott Walker faces re-election.

The ripple effects of Democrat Patty Schachtner's surprise win Tuesday reverberated across the state and country, but especially among the crowded field of Democrats looking to oust Walker this year.

"I could tell there was something in the air," said candidate Matt Flynn, a former state Democratic Party director who first ran for office in the 1970s and has been involved with state politics for 40 years.

Schachtner won a northwestern Wisconsin Senate district that went for Donald Trump by 17 points in 2016. She won by 11 points — a dramatic 28-point swing for Democrats. It would take a much smaller swing to defeat Walker, who has never won election as governor by more than 7 points.

Walker issued a series of tweets, characterizing the Senate defeat as a "wake up call" for Republicans. Walker, who reported Tuesday having $4.2 million cash on hand for his re-election bid, announced Wednesday that he had local leaders in place in all 72 Wisconsin counties. The state Republican Party also announced plans to double its field offices leading up to the election.

Walker also referred to the Senate seat loss in a fundraising plea, saying "everything we have done is at risk if we don't win in November."

Kelda Roys, a former state representative who's seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Walker, said Schachtner's win "shows that people want something different."

"You have to have a candidate people feel enthusiastic about," Roys said. "I think there's a national feeling that people, especially women, are disgusted with Trump."

Another candidate, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, said she felt Schachtner's win was a rejection of negative campaigning targeting Schachtner and a testament to her grass-roots campaigning. That formula will be the winning one for Democrats in November, Vinehout said.

"It's a promising sign of things to come," said state Rep. Dana Wachs, of Eau Claire, another gubernatorial candidate. "People came out and voted for change and I think that's really important."

Mahlon Mitchell, a state firefighter union leader running for governor, said he wasn't sold on the argument that anger with Trump fueled the win. But he agreed that it was a rejection of the status quo. Schachtner defeated incumbent Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow.

Gubernatorial candidate Mike McCabe, a political activist, said the Schachtner win didn't surprise him based on people he's spoken with across the state who feel marginalized.

"I think a big shake-up is coming," he said.


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