Wisconsin Democrats could have a chance at gaining control of the Senate after state Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, announced Monday that he will not seek re-election.
Gudex said in a statement that he plans to return to the private sector rather than remain in office.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to serve the citizens of the 18th District,” Gudex said in the statement. “It has been great working with various groups of individuals, building relationships, and addressing their needs and concerns.”
Dan Feyen, chairman for the Republican Party of Fond du Lac County and the Republican Party of the Sixth Congressional District, announced his candidacy for the 18th District seat Monday. He joins Democrat Mark Harris, Winnebago County executive, in running.
Feyen has spent 11 years in grassroots politics and has recently focused on the economy and its effects on Wisconsin’s lack of skilled workers, according to a press release.
“As your senator I will bring my conservative values to Madison to work on closing the skills gap throughout Wisconsin by supporting our educational system at all levels,” Feyen said in the release.
Improving Wisconsin’s infrastructure and working with the Department of Transportation’s budget are issues Feyen is also looking at to help make sure jobs are properly supported, according to the release.
State Senate Democratic Committee Executive Director Matt Ullsvik released a statement claiming the chance to win the 18th District seat could drastically re-establish democratic values in the state.
“With control of the State Senate hanging in the balance, an open seat in the 18th District presents an important opportunity to restore accountability and undo the damage of the last five years,” Ullsvik said in the statement.
Harris has also shown optimism for the prospects of gaining the seat, saying in his candidacy announcement release that he would work to better serve the needs of Wisconsin residents than the Republican majority has.
Republicans currently control the Senate 19-14, and Democrats would have to win the 18th District seat as well as two others, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.