Walker Schedules Special Elections

Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), March 30, 2018 | Go to article overview

Walker Schedules Special Elections


MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order Thursday scheduling special elections to fill two vacant legislative seats, as Senate Republicans abandoned their efforts to pass a bill blocking the contests amid intense criticism that the GOP was trying to avoid adding to a string of losses.

The seats have been vacant since December, when Walker appointed two Republican legislators to his administration. Walker has said the special elections would be a waste of taxpayer money with the seats coming up for election in the fall. Democrats have argued that Walker wants to avoid losing the seats to their party in a year that appears to favor Democrats.

A judge last week ordered Walker to call the elections by noon Thursday.

Walker responded by asking the 2nd District Court of Appeals on Wednesday to consider killing the order and rule immediately that he has until April 6 to call the elections, which would give the Legislature time to pass the bill. The appeals court quickly denied the request.

"Representative government and the election of our representatives are never 'unnecessary,' never a 'waste of taxpayer resources,' and the calling of the special elections are ... his 'obligation,'" Presiding Judge Paul F. Reilly wrote.

State attorneys had planned to ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservative justices, to set the April 6 deadline by noon today. But Wisconsin Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin filed a letter late Wednesday afternoon saying Walker had decided not to seek relief from the Supreme Court at this time. No reason was given.

Walker's order set elections in both legislative districts for June 12, with primaries set for May 15 if needed. His office announced the order in a news release with no additional comments.

State law requires Walker to call special elections to fill legislative vacancies that occur prior to May in regular election years such as this one. The court orders prompted Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to introduce a bill that would prohibit special elections after the spring election in a regular election year. …

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