With the passing of the June 1 filing deadline at the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the races throughout Wisconsin for Democratic and Republican positions on the November 6 ballot are coming into focus. As of Friday evening, ten Democrats had filed signatures for the opportunity to oppose incumbent Governor Republican Scott Walker this fall. Among them are Senator Kathleen Vinehout of Alma (D-31), and Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire (D-91).
Since Vinehout and Wachs can't run for their current seats and for Governor at the same time, their slots are now open and have generated competitive races locally for the chance to succeed them in Madison. In Wachs' 91st Assembly District, which is essentially the City of Eau Claire, four Democrats have submitted nominating petitions: Fierce Freedom director Jodi Emerson, UW-Stout lecturer Rich Postlewaite, and former City Council members Eric Larson and Thomas Vue. Real estate investor Echo Reardon has filed for the Republican nomination.
In the 31st Senate District, which includes parts of Eau Claire, Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo, Trempealeau and Jackson counties, Democratic primary candidates include Steve Boe of Taylor, Jon W. Schultz of Arcadia, and former Rep. Jeff Smith of Eau Claire. The only Republican candidate is Mel Pittman of Plum City, who ran against Vinehout four years ago, and will face the winner of the Democratic primary in November.
In the 92nd Assembly District, which includes the southern portions of the 31st Senate district, three Democrats will vie for the chance to oppose Republican incumbent Treig Pronschinske of Mondovi: Desiree Gearing-Lancaster and Max Hart, both of Black River Falls, and Rob Grover of Galesville.
While no other local Senate or Assembly races will feature in-party primary races in August, the June 1 filings do set up contests for the fall election:
* 23rd Senate: Current Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) is retiring. The fall election will feature current Republican 68th District Rep. Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls, seeking to move up to the Senate, and Democrat Chris Kapsner of Boyceville.
* 67th Assembly: Incumbent Republican Rob Summerfield of Bloomer will face Democrat Wren Keturi of Chippewa Falls.
* 68th Assembly: Bernier's current seat, which she's giving up to run for Senate, will feature a fall contest between Democrat and former School Board member Wendy Sue Johnson of Eau Claire and the Republican, Altoona Police Chief Jesse James.
* 69th Assembly: Indumbent Republican Bob Kulp of Stratford will be unopposed in the fall.
* 93rd Assembly: Incumbent Republican Warren Petryk of Eleva will face Democrat Charlene Charlie Warner of rural Mondovi.
* 29th Assembly: This seat, which includes the City of Menomonie in its district, will see incumbent Republican Rob Stafsholt of New Richmond opposed by Democrat John Rocco Calabrese of Menomonie and Libertarian Brian Corriea of Wilson.
Competitive races in our region are already gaining some statewide attention. JR Ross of WisPolitics.com told the Leader-Telegram, "If Democrats want to climb out of their hole in the Legislature, they need to find a way to win in the Chippewa Valley." Retaining, or picking up, seats in the Legislature is the plan for candidates who filed election papers by Friday’s deadline (Leader-Telegram).
To see the Wisconsin Elections Commissions' full list of candidates who have submitted signatures for the August primary, click here and select "Candidates Tracking by Office."
Posted by: Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director