Longtime Democratic incumbent Doug La Follette and Republican challenger Rep. Amy Loudenbeck are vying for Wisconsin’s Secretary of State office in an unusually high-stakes election that could dramatically reshape future state elections.
La Follette, who has held the office for 44 years, is currently tasked with few official responsibilities. His duties include maintaining state records, authenticating documents and serving on the state’s public lands board.
However, Rep. Loudenbeck announced at the start of her campaign that she wants to add overseeing Wisconsin elections to the Secretary’s responsibility, a task currently handled by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
“WEC is broken and must be replaced,” Rep. Loundenbeck wrote in her campaign mission statement. “No one in the WEC office is accountable to the voters and that needs to change.”
Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature created the nonpartisan WEC in 2016 to administer state elections. But Republicans, including Sen. Ron Johnson and gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, questioned the WEC’s legitimacy based on unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 elections.
La Follette told The Daily Cardinal in September that he believes Republicans may dismantle the WEC if they win.
“If it’s a close election … [Republicans] can void the results and allow the legislature to make the decision, who could then change the election in favor of a different candidate,” La Follette said.