Wisconsin voters to fill 3 open seats in Legislature
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — More than a dozen candidates are seeking to fill three vacant seats in the Wisconsin Legislature over the next few months.
Nomination papers were due by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Fourteen candidates filed their papers by the deadline. Partisan primaries are set for Dec. 19, with general elections to follow on Jan. 16.
The highest-profile race is to replace Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, who had represented northwestern Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District since 2001. She resigned in November to serve as state agriculture secretary.
Hopefuls include Republican state Reps. Adam Jarchow of Balsam Lake and Shannon Zimmerman of River Falls. Republican Ken Rimer of Hammond filed nomination papers but state Election Commission officials said he turned in only 389 valid signatures, 11 short of the 400 he needed to get on the ballot. It wasn’t clear whether Rimer would be disqualified or given a chance to provide the signatures, commission spokesman Reid Magney said.
Other candidates who filed nomination papers in the 10th include Democrats Patty Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner; Reuben Herfindahl of River Falls; and John Calabrese of Glenwood City. Libertarian Brian Corriea of Wilson also filed nomination papers but supplied only 393 valid signatures, according to a commission count.
Four Republicans and one Democrat had filed nomination papers to run for the late Republican Rep. Bob Gannon’s seat in the conservative 58th Assembly District. Gannon died in October.
The Republicans include Spencer Zimmerman, who describes himself as a “Trump conservative.” He lives in Janesville but plans to move into the 58th after he wins the GOP primary, he said.
A legislative candidate doesn’t have to live in a district to run for its seats but must be a qualified voter in the district at least 10 days before taking the oath of office, Magney said.
The other Republicans are West Bend businessman Steve Stanek; and Rick Gundrum and Tiffany Koehler, both of Slinger. Koehler would be the state’s first black Republican woman to serve in the Legislature.
Dennis Degenhardt, of West Bend, was the only Democrat to file nomination papers. Socialist Christopher Cook of West Bend had registered to run but didn’t turn in any nomination papers by the deadline.
Meanwhile, two Democrats filed nomination papers replace Democratic Rep. Corey Mason in southeastern Wisconsin’s 66th Assembly District. Mason plans to resign in January to serve as mayor of Racine. The candidates are former Mason legislative aide Greta Neubauer and Racine Ald. John Tate II. No one else had registered to run or turned in nomination papers by the Tuesday deadline. Barring a write-in challenger, whoever wins the Dec. 19 primary will take the seat.
None of the races will change the balance of power in either chamber. The Republicans hold a 19-13 edge in the Senate without Harsdorf and a 63-35 majority in the Assembly without Gannon.
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