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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 25, 2024
After losing their legislators to gubernatorial appointments, two districts will be without representation until November, as Gov. Scott Walker announced he will not call special elections to replace their legislators.

After losing their legislators to gubernatorial appointments, two districts will be without representation until November, as Gov. Scott Walker announced he will not call special elections to replace their legislators.

Walker will not call special elections for vacant seats

Special elections will not be held for two vacant seats in the state Legislature, Gov. Scott Walker announced, leaving thousands of Wisconsinites unrepresented for the time being.

The decision leaves the 42nd Assembly and 1st Senate district seats empty until the regularly scheduled elections take place in November.

The offices were vacated when former state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi, took jobs in the Walker administration.

The decision, critics say, leaves parts of Columbia County and Green Bay without legislative representation for the better part of 2018.

“The people of the De Pere and Lodi areas deserve to be represented in the legislature,” gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, stated in a press release.

Wachs speculated that Walker may not invite further contests “in order to prevent more Democrats from being elected,” following Patty Schachtner’s upset victory over Republican favorite Adam Jarchow in a recent state Senate race in the 10th district.

The governor defended his decision by citing the fiscal burden of two additional elections, as well as logistical concerns over having the candidates run again in the fall after the legislature has adjourned.

However, critics have also questioned the legality of Walker’s move.

According to a state statute, “Any vacancy in the office of state senator or representative to the assembly occurring before the 2nd Tuesday in May in the year in which a regular election is held to fill that seat shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election.”

Any challenge to this decision would likely find its way to court, but as of now the elections for the vacant seats will be held on November 6.

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