Van H. Wanggaard

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Van H. Wanggaard
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 21st district
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Preceded byJohn Lehman
In office
January 3, 2011 – July 11, 2012
Preceded byJohn Lehman
Succeeded byJohn Lehman
Member of the Racine County Board of Supervisors
In office
Personal details
Born (1952-04-19) April 19, 1952 (age 66)
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mary Jo Wanggaard
Alma materGateway Technical College
ProfessionFormer investigator for the Racine Police Department

Van H. Wanggaard (born April 19, 1952) is a Republican member of the Wisconsin Senate, representing Racine County since January 5, 2015, and before that from January 3, 2011 until July 11, 2012.[1][2]

Background/family life[edit]

Born in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Wanggaard graduated from Racine Lutheran High School in 1970. He then graduated from Gateway Technical College with a certificate in Police Science Instruction. Wanggard also took course work at University of Wisconsin–Extension, University of Wisconsin–Parkside, Green Bay Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Racine Technical College, Gateway Technical College, Wisconsin State Patrol Academy, and the United States Coast Guard National SAR School. Wanggard also taught at Gateway Technical College.

Wanggaard worked for the Racine Police Department from 1972 to 2001 as an investigator. He and his wife have two children.[3][4][5]

Political career[edit]

Wanggaard was elected to the Racine County Board of Supervisors in 2002, a seat he held until he joined the State Senate in 2011.

In 2006, Wanggaard ran unsuccessfully for the 62nd Wisconsin Assembly District, defeated by future Racine Mayor Cory Mason.

In 2010, Wanggaard ran again for state legislative office, this time challenging incumbent Democrat John Lehman in the 21st senate district. This time Wanggaard was successful, winning the seat as part of the 2010 Republican wave election which saw Republicans flip 721 state legislative seats around the country.[6][7]

Shortly after the 2010 election, the new unified Republican government attempted to pass a controversial budget restructuring. The bill was characterized as an assault on unions and public education, and led to senate recall elections in 2011 and 2012, as well as a recall election for the Governor, Scott Walker. Wanggaard was one of the 16 senators who faced recall elections, and was challenged by his defeated 2010 rival, former-senator John Lehman. Lehman defeated Wanggaard in the recall election held on June 5, 2012. This was the 2nd time that a senator serving in the 21st district had been successfully recalled, the first being George Petak in 1996.[8]

After the 21st was redrawn into a safe Republican district, Lehman chose not to run for re-election in 2014, opting instead to seek the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin. Wanggaard sought and received the Republican nomination to reclaim the 21st senate district and defeated Democrat Randy Bryce in the general election.[9][10]

As of 2018, Wanggaard is the Wisconsin Senate Majority Caucus Chair.

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin 21st District Senate Election 2018
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Van Wanggaard (incumbent) 48,603 58.01% -3.41%
Democratic Lori Hawkins 35,111 41.91% +3.52%
Total votes 83,783 100.0% +14.44%
Republican hold
Wisconsin 21st District Senate Election 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Van Wanggaard 44,967 61.42% +11.96%
Democratic Randy Bryce 28,106 38.39% -12.15%
Independent Bill Thompkins 34 0.05%
Total votes 73,213 100.0% +1.79%
Republican gain from Democratic
Wisconsin 21st District Senate recall Election 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Lehman 36,255 [11] 50.54% +3.09%
Republican Van Wanggaard (incumbent) 35,476 [12] 49.46% -3.09%
Total votes 71,924 100.0% +17.92%
Democratic gain from Republican
Wisconsin 21st District Senate Election 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Van Wanggaard 32,031 52.55% +5.62%
Democratic John Lehman (incumbent) 28,922 47.45% -5.62%
Total votes 60,995 100.0%
Republican gain from Democratic
Wisconsin 62nd District Assembly Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Cory Mason 10,302 52.37%% -37.18%
Republican Van Wanggaard 9,363 47.60%
Total votes 19,671 100.0% -8.65%
Democratic hold


  1. ^ Alison Bauter. "Recount affirms Lehman's win in Senate recall race".
  2. ^ "Election Recount Information".
  3. ^ 'Wisconsin Blue Book 2011-2010, Biographical Sketch of Van H. Wanggaard, pg. 60
  4. ^ "Van Wanggaard's Biography - The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart". Project Vote Smart.
  5. ^ "Default Parallels Plesk Page".
  6. ^ Mike Moore (2010-11-02). "STATE SENATE: Lehman concedes to Wanggaard as Senate falls to GOP control". Racine Journal Times. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  7. ^ Tim Storey (2010-12-10). "GOP Makes Historic State Legislative Gains in 2010". Rasmussen Reports. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  8. ^ Craig Gilbert (2012-05-20). "Racine's 21st Senate District no stranger to recalls". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  9. ^ Bergquist, Lee. "Election 2014: Allen, Brostoff, Wanggaard, Bowen win legislative primaries" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel August 13, 2014
  10. ^ 'Wanggaard reclaims senate seat,' The Journal Times, Mark Schaff, November 5, 2014
  11. ^ "Lehman beats Wanggaard; power shifts in Senate", ibid.
  12. ^ "Lehman beats Wanggaard; power shifts in Senate"

External links[edit]