The Chamber's Guide to the Fall 2020 Election
What's coming up this fall
Every two years, Wisconsin's fall election features races for partisan offices, depending upon the year, ranging from President of the United States to county constitutional offices. In 2020, Wisconsin's position as a "swing state" will generate a lot of attention in the Presidential race. At the same time, there are no statewide races this year, since the Governor and other state offices are in the middle of their four-year terms, and neither US Senator Tammy Baldwin nor Ron Johnson have their six-year term ending this year.
What will be on the ballot are all eight US Congressional seats, 16 of the state's 33 State Senate seats (even numbered seats with four-year terms), and all 99 of its State Assembly seats. Each County's District Attorney office is also up in 2020 for four-year terms.
Non-partisan races, such as judges, city councils, school boards and county boards, are held in the spring each year.
2020 Election days - August 11 Primary, November 3 General Election
To appear as a nominee of one of the major parties in Wisconsin, a candidate must first win the party primary race. In 2020, the partisan primary is on Tuesday, August 11. Candidates collect signatures from voters in their districts to be able to appear on the Primary ballot. The deadline this year for filing was June 1, so the August races are now set.
August 11 Primary Results
Locally, voters chose party nominees on August 11 in contested races for 3rd District Congress, 10th District State Senate, and Assembly Districts 29 and 69.
Click here for August 11 Primary Results
Here's a recap of fall races of interest to Eau Claire and our region:
See the map below showing Wisconsin's eight Congressional Districts. Most of our immediate area is in the 3rd District, while the 7th District encompasses the northern part of Chippewa County and north, including Hudson, Wausau and Superior.
3rd District Congress
US Representative Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) has represented the 3rd Congressional District in Congress since first being elected in 1996. The district stretches from the Chippewa Valley through La Crosse to southwest Wisconsin, also including Stevens Point. Kind is running for reelection, and Derrick Van Orden of Hager City won the Republican Primary on August 11.
Ron Kind (I), La Crosse
Derrick Van Orden, Hager City
7th District Congress
This nearby Congressional seat is now held by US Representative Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua), who won it in a special election on May 12 to fill the seat formerly held by Republican Sean Duffy, who resigned last year. The November election will be a rematch of the May special election pitting Democrat Tricia Zunker, President of the Wausau School Board, agains Tiffany. The 7th District covers much of northern and northwest Wisconsin including St. Croix County, Superior, Wausau and Ashland.
Tricia Zunker, Wausau
Tom Tiffany (I), Minocqua
Wisconsin State Legislature
Statewide: Significant turnover in the State Senate
The next legislative session in January 2021 will see a significant amount of turnover in the State Senate, where seven of the 17 Senators elected in 2016 did not seek reelection. They include Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua), who was relected to Congress, and retiring Senators David Craig (R-Big Bend), Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), Dave Hanson (D-Green Bay), Mark Miller (D-Monona), Fred Risser (D-Madison), and Jennifer Schilling (D-La Crosse). There is also likely to be one more, since current Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, whose 13th District seat is not up this year, is running for Congress and likely to win a heavily Republican district.
Locally, State Senators Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls, District 23) and Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire, District 31), were elected in 2018 and their four-year terms do not end for two more years.
10th District State Senate
There will be a hotly-contested Senate race this fall in the 10th District, which includes the City of Menomonie and significant parts of St. Croix, and Polk counties, plus parts of Dunn and Pierce counties. Democrat Patty Schachtner won a special election in 2018 for the remainder of the term of Republican Sheila Harsdorf, who was appointed Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Looking to reclaim a long-time Republican seat, current 29th District Assembly member Rob Stafsholt won the Republican nomination to run against Schachtner in the fall.
Patty Schachtner (I), Somerset
Rob Stafsholt, New Richmond (currently 29th District Assembly)
Assembly statewide picture: 12 Representatives not seeking reelection
As we enter the fall election season, there are 12 Assembly members who are not seeking reelection: Those who are retiring from the legislature include Reps. Deb Kolste (D-Janesville), Chris Taylor (D-Madison), Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), Bob Kulp (R-Stratford), and Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah). Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton) is running for 8th District Congress. Four Reps. are running for State Senate Seats, including Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma), Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond), and Melissa Sargent (D-Madison). Finally two Milwaukee are Representatives were elected in the spring to local offices: David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) and JoCast Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee).
You'll recognize three from the list above from our region: Reps. Romaine Quinn (R-75) and Bob Kulp (R-69) who are not running for reelection, and Rep. Rob Stafsholt, who is running for 10th District Senate.
Here are the ballot line-ups for nearby Assembly seats from our region:
John Rocco Calabrese, Menomonie
Clint Moses, Menomonie
Chris Kaspner, Boyceville
Rob Summerfield (I), Bloomer
Emily Berge, Eau Claire
Jesse James (I), Altoona
Brian Giles, Marshfield
Donna Rozar, Marshfield
John C. Ellenson, Shell Lake
David Armstrong, Rice Lake
Jodi Emerson (I), Eau Claire
Charlie Walker, Eau Claire
Amanda WhiteEagle, Black River Falls
Treig E. Pronschinske (I), Mondovi
Charlene Charlie Warner, Mondovi
Warren Petryk, Eau Claire
Link to candidate tracking (Wisconsin Election Commission)
Ballots set for fall elections (Leader-Telegram$)
Exodus from Wisconsin Senate continues with GOP retirement (AP)
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Posted by Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.