Dan Knodl is a Republican politician who currently serves as a member of the Wisconsin State Senate, representing District 8. He was first elected to the State Senate in a special election in April 2023 after serving several terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Knodl is known as a staunch conservative who consistently votes along Republican party lines. His political career has focused on education policy, election administration, and criminal justice issues.
Early Life and Education
Daniel Knodl was born in 1962 and grew up in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. He graduated from Menomonee Falls East High School in 1977. After high school, Knodl attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied finance and real estate.
Outside of his studies, Knodl was an avid athlete and participated in several sports. He continued to play recreational sports after graduating from college as well.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, Knodl began working in the real estate industry. He eventually became the owner of Reef Point Resort in Random Lake, Wisconsin, operating the business for over 20 years.
Knodl was also involved with several local organizations prior to seeking elected office. He served on the Washington County Board in Wisconsin. He was also affiliated with groups like the Ozaukee/Washington Land Trust, the Pike Lake Sportsmans Club, and the Menomonee Falls Optimist Club.
Wisconsin State Assembly (2009-2023)
Daniel Knodl first ran for the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2008 at the age of 46. He defeated Democratic candidate Charlene Brady to win the Assembly seat for District 24.
Knodl would go on to be re-elected to the District 24 seat five more times, consistently defeating Democratic challengers in the general elections. His district covers parts of Washington, Ozaukee, Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties northwest of the city of Milwaukee.
Here is a summary of Knodl’s election results during his time in the State Assembly:
- 2008: Defeated Charlene Brady (D), winning 61.9% of the vote
- 2010: Defeated Dustin Klein (D), winning 74.8%
- 2012: Defeated Shan Haqqi (D), winning 62.4%
- 2014: Ran unopposed
- 2016: Ran unopposed
- 2018: Defeated Emily Siegrist (D), winning 53.6%
- 2020: Defeated Emily Siegrist (D), winning 51.4%
- 2022: Defeated Bob Tatterson (D), winning 61.1%
During his Assembly tenure, Knodl served on various committees including:
- Information Policy and Technology (co-chair)
- Government Accountability and Oversight (chair)
- Labor and Integrated Employment
- Regulatory Licensing Reform
- Science, Technology and Broadband
- State Affairs
- Ways and Means
His committee leadership roles allowed Knodl to shape policies related to election oversight, government transparency, and technology issues.
Knodl directly sponsored over 100 bills during his time in the Wisconsin Assembly. His sponsored legislation covered topics like:
- Election administration and voter ID laws
- Education policy including school curriculum oversight
- Modifying penalties for certain drug offenses
- Commemorating dates and events with ceremonial resolutions
- Regulating payday lenders and consumer finance companies
Much of Knodl’s sponsored legislation aligned with traditional conservative policies and ideals. However, some of his bills received bipartisan support to become law.
Wisconsin State Senate (2023-present)
After serving for nearly 15 years in the State Assembly, Knodl decided to run for Wisconsin’s 8th Senate District in a special election in early 2023. The Senate seat had been vacated by a retiring Republican incumbent.
2023 Special Election
Knodl competed against two other Republicans in the primary – Janel Brandtjen and Van Mobley. He won the February GOP primary with 56.8% of the vote.
His Democratic opponent in the April general election was Jodi Habush Sinykin. Knodl defeated Sinykin by a slim 50.8% to 49.1% margin to capture the Senate seat.
As a new member of the State Senate, Knodl was assigned to serve on the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for the 2023-2024 legislative session.
This committee oversees policies and laws related to Wisconsin’s criminal justice system, corrections, law enforcement, and homeland security. The appointment allows Knodl to continue shaping statewide policies in areas he focused on in the Assembly.
Ideologically, Dan Knodl is considered a traditional conservative Republican. He supports policies that promote limited government, lower taxes, gun rights, and pro-life causes.
Knodl has consistently voted for Republican-sponsored legislation and against Democratic proposals during his time as a state legislator. He has opposed efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in Wisconsin. He also introduced bills to increase voter ID requirements and restrict absentee voting rules.
The Ozaukee County Republican Party endorsed Knodl in his 2023 State Senate campaign.
In the 2012 presidential election, he endorsed Republican Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama. This demonstrated his allegiances at the federal level as well.
Scorecards and Ratings
Advocacy groups across the political spectrum have released scorecards evaluating Knodl’s votes and positions over the years:
- American Conservative Union – Consistently rated over 90%
- Americans for Prosperity – Received “A” grades
- Sierra Club – Received 0% in 2018 and 2020
- Planned Parenthood – Rated 0% in 2018
These ratings reinforce Knodl’s credentials as a traditional conservative Republican based on his voting history in the State Assembly.
Campaigns and Elections
Dan Knodl has raised over $550,000 in campaign contributions over his political career dating back to 2008. Some of his top donors include:
- Wisconsin Republican Party
- Republican State Leadership Committee
- Business and manufacturing PACs
- Fellow Republican legislators
- The tavern league
This funding has helped Knodl wage competitive campaigns to remain elected in his swing district for over a decade.
As a veteran legislator, Knodl has touted his experience and conservative credentials when campaigning for re-election. His recent campaigns have focused on:
- Supporting policies backed by Republican leadership
- Defending conservative ideals and limited government
- Cutting taxes and regulations to help small businesses
- Protecting gun rights and the unborn
- Improving technical college and worker training
In the 2023 Senate special election, Knodl also campaigned on eliminating absentee ballot drop boxes and requiring photo ID to vote – aligning with nationwide GOP messaging about election integrity.
Dan Knodl currently resides in Germantown, Wisconsin located outside of Milwaukee. He has been married to his wife Sue for over 30 years and they have two adult children together.
Outside of politics, Knodl continues to enjoy golfing, fishing, and recreational sports. He has been a member of various local clubs and charities over the years as well.
Knodl is a lifelong Lutheran and worships at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Germantown. He has volunteered at church events and participated in religious missions abroad.
Legacy and Impact
Over a span of 15 years and counting, Dan Knodl established himself as an influential conservative figure in Wisconsin politics. He consistently promoted and defended Republican policies at the state level.
Knodl’s legacy will be defined by his committee leadership roles and his staunch support for adding new election regulations, expanding school choice programs, and defending gun rights. His agenda closely aligned with the policy goals of Republican leadership in Wisconsin.
Now a member of the State Senate, Knodl will look to expand his impact across Wisconsin. He will continue advocating for conservative causes and traditional Republican positions.
Knodl’s current Senate term runs through 2025. It remains to be seen if he will seek re-election to the Chamber in upcoming cycles. But at 61 years old, Knodl likely has several more years ahead of him to shape laws and govern in Wisconsin.
Who did Dan Knodl defeat in the 2023 special election?
He defeated Democrat Jodi Habush Sinykin, winning 50.8% to 49.1% in the Senate District 8 special election.
How long did Dan Knodl serve in the Wisconsin Assembly?
Knodl served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 2009 to 2023, winning re-election six times.
What are some of Dan Knodl’s main political positions?
Knodl is a traditional conservative Republican who supports policies like voter ID laws, abortion restrictions, tax cuts, expanded gun rights, and school choice programs.
What committee does Dan Knodl serve on in the State Senate?
Knodl is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for the 2023-2024 session.
Who has endorsed Dan Knodl in recent elections?
He has been endorsed by groups like the Ozaukee County Republican Party and the Wisconsin Tavern League.