State News

Special elections slated to replace vacant seats

Following Sheila Harsdorf’s appointment to agricultural secretary, the governor has scheduled a special election to fill the vacant state Senate seat for early next year.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Gov. Scott Walker has announced a special election early next year to replace former state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, following her appointment to the post of agricultural secretary.

The appointment comes after Ben Brancel’s retirement from the position in August after seven years on the job.

Elected to the state Senate in 2001, Harsdorf, R-River Falls, will leave an empty seat in the 10th District.

As potential candidates begin to line up, Harsdorf has refused to endorse a replacement.

State Reps. Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake and Shannon Zimmerman of River Falls are seen as favorites on the Republican side, but only Jarchow has officially announced an intention to run.

No Democrats have entered the race as of yet.

The district has not been highly contested in the past, as Harsdorf, a Republican, comfortably held her seat with a 27-point margin of victory last year.

Jarchow enters the race with endorsements from several state representatives from the district, including Dean Knudson, R-Hudson, John Murtha, R-Baldwin, and Erik Severson, R-Osceola.

“I’ve worked hard and passed a lot of really good, strong legislation, and I just think there’s more work to be done,” Jarchow told the Associated Press.

Walker issued a notice that candidates have until Nov. 21 of this year to file their nomination papers and may start filing as early as Nov. 10.

Following another special election, state Rep. Corey Mason, a Racine Democrat, will be stepping down from the Assembly to serve as the city’s mayor, vacating yet another legislative seat.

The special elections spurred by Mason and Harsdorf’s vacancies are slated for Jan. 16 of next year.

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