On Friday, Gov. Tony Evers (D) released his revised special election calendar to fill resigned Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-Wausau) vacant seat. The Governor’s original schedule did not conform to the federal MOVE Act, which mandates the number of days that must exist between elections in order to provide adequate time for military and overseas voters to return ballots, so he had to issue a new set of special primary and general election dates.
It was thought that the Governor would schedule the special general with the April 7th presidential primary, but he chose a stand-alone option instead. The candidate filing deadline is now December 2nd, with the party primaries to be held Feb. 18th. The special general will now be May 12th. Currently, three House seats are vacant and headed toward special elections, but this is now the only one with a definitive election calendar. The other two vacancies are NY-27 (Chris Collins resignation) and MD-7 (death of Elijah Cummings).
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Hills), second in US House seniority with what will be 42 years of congressional service at the end of the current term and not seeking re-election in 2020, looks to be yielding to a very strong successor. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) is rapidly building support to the point that he could actually run without strong opposition for a seat that hasn’t been open in more than two generations.
Yesterday, wealthy entrepreneur and former US Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson (R) said he would not run for the House seat and endorsed Mr. Fitzgerald, following a long line of would-be office seekers who took similar action. Senator Fitzgerald’s political strength is such that he appears a virtual lock to become a member of the next Congress.
While Gov. Tony Evers (D) has not yet re-scheduled the special election for the open 7th Congressional District (Rep. Sean Duffy (R) resigned for family reasons) after his original election dates did not comply with the federal MOVE Act, two Democrats have finally entered the campaign contest. Wausau School Board member Tricia Zunker and businessman and Vietnam War veteran Lawrence Dale (D) have both announced that they will enter this race. Republicans have more candidates, but the race is essentially between state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) and disabled Afghan War veteran and Jason Church, also an ex-aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (R).
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) continues to demonstrate political strength in running for retiring Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s (R-Menominee Falls) open congressional seat. Yesterday, another potentially viable contender yesterday announced that he would not run for the seat. State Rep. Adam Neylon (D-Pewaukee) made public his decision not to become a congressional candidate. With a safe Republican seat and little in the way of early opposition, Sen. Fitzgerald is quickly becoming a consensus candidate and clearly has the inside track for replacing Mr. Sensenbrenner.
Fox News just completed a Wisconsin political poll (9/29-10/2; 1,512 WI registered voters; 663 WI likely Democratic primary voters) and finds former Vice President Joe Biden continuing to lead in what could become a very important post-March presidential primary on April 7th. The data shows Mr. Biden capturing 28% preference compared to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) 22 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) posted 17%, and all of the others were in single digits. In late August, Marquette Law School found the former VP also holding 28% with Sanders second at 20%, and Warren recording 17 percent.
Last week Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) scheduled the special election to replace resigned Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) for December 30th with a general election on January 27, 2020. Now, it appears the Governor will have to move the special general. In order to satisfy the federal MOVE Act requirements designed to allow overseas and military voters time to vote absentee, at least 45 days must be placed between elections. Therefore, the January 27th date will have to be moved. Governor Evers will set a new special general election for a date on or before February 14th.
After Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) called the special election to replace resigned Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau), political moves were quickly made. Iraq War veteran Jason Church, a congressional aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), announced his candidacy and may well become state Sen. Tom Tiffany’s (R-Minocqua) lone major Republican opponent.
Two other expected GOP candidates, Mosinee Mayor Brent Jacobson and surgeon Fernando Riveron both said yesterday that they would not enter the special election campaign. Same for Democratic former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow. The special general is scheduled for January 27, 2020, with a special primary on December 30, 2019.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) has called a quick election to replace resigned Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau). The Governor announced late yesterday that the special election to fill the unexpired term will be set for January 27, 2020, with a special primary on December 30, 2019. The candidate filing deadline is December 2nd. The schedule is a bit of a surprise since the state will have municipal and judicial elections, the latter featuring statewide contests, on April 7th, the same day as the state’s presidential primary.
In his statement, Gov. Evers said he was calling an early election because, “[o]ur rural communities have been directly affected by unproductive trade wars, political attacks on health care and public education, and economic uncertainty because of the volatility we’re seeing in Washington, D.C.”
A Republican Party spokesman criticized the schedule accusing Evers of attempting to depress rural voter turnout for the April 7th elections. Others believed, however, that Democrats would be in the more advantageous position for the April election because their presidential primary would be bringing an increased number of party members to the polls.
As expected, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) announced his intention to run for the open Milwaukee suburban House seat from which veteran Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menominee Falls) is retiring. The seat is safely Republican, so the April GOP primary will ultimately determine who succeeds Mr. Sensenbrenner. The Congressman is serving what will be 42 consecutive years of service at the end of this Congress. He is second in House seniority.
Also testing the political waters in this area is Matt Walker, son of former Gov. Scott Walker (R). Ex-state Sen. Leah Vukmir, the 2018 Republican nominee for US Senate and an ally of Fitzgerald, earlier said that she would not run for the 5th District, thus opening the door for the Majority Leader.
A major candidate is reportedly soon to enter the newly open 5th District seat from which veteran Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menominee Falls) is retiring. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), whose brother Jeff Fitzgerald is a former state House Speaker, is telling confidants that he will run for Congress. The move is not a surprise particularly after former US Senate nominee and Fitzgerald ally Leah Vukmir decided not to run for the seat. The race will be settled in the 2020 Republican primary, which is scheduled for August 11th.
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