State News

Court orders Walker to call special elections in victory for Democrats

After initially challenging a circuit judge’s order to call new special elections, Gov. Scott Walker has complied with the similar ruling of a higher court, and issued an executive order to hold new elections.

Image By: Jade Sheng

A Dane County judge ordered Gov. Scott Walker to call special elections to fill two vacancies in the Legislature after the governor had previously refused to do so.

Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds sided with the National Democratic Redistricting Campaign, a group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, which argued that state law required special elections be held as soon as possible to fill any holes in representation.

"One of our most basic rights as American citizens is that we get to vote and have representation in our legislatures,” Holder said in a statement. “Governor Walker's actions have undermined that right and it never should have taken legal action to force him to do his job."

The seats were vacated when both state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi, resigned to join Walker’s administration.

Democrats accused the governor of not calling new contests for fear of more upsets after a presumed-to-be-safe Republican seat was flipped in an earlier special election.

The court has ordered Walker to call for elections within five days of the Thursday ruling.

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