Two Assembly incumbents lose seats following Tuesday’s election

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WISCONSIN -- Two long-time Wisconsin State Assembly incumbents lost in the election held Tuesday, August 14th, and political analysts say it could be a telling sign for the future of the Wisconsin Legislature.

UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee says Democrats Peggy Krusick and Jason Fields are two of the latest lawmakers to learn the hard way: don't stray too far from your party's platform or risk losing your seat.

"I'm afraid we live in an era of high ideology. In other words, where the Republican Party is a very conservative party and the Democratic Party is very progressive and they don't have moderate wings. In other words, there's not a lot of middle ground. I do think it's fair to say that the two opponents who knocked off the two incumbents can both be classified as traditional Democrats.  In other words, they were progressive, left-of-center Democrats," Lee said.

Krusick infuriated many liberals by stating race should not be a consideration for some college scholarships. Fields was crushed Tuesday night after he upset Democrats by supporting school choice.

Political consultant Chris Haworth views the results as the continuation of a polarization that has dominated Wisconsin politics since the fight over collective bargaining.

"They had some opponents who were well-funded, that were funded by groups outside the state of Wisconsin and some national groups that really stepped up with advertising to defeat them. It seems both sides of the political aisle are entrenching themselves in their base," Haworth said.

Krusick had served in the state Assembly since 1983. Fields' tenure wasn't as long, but he'd been in office since 2004.

Both Lee and Haworth say their losses show it's getting even tougher to be a successful moderate in Wisconsin.