WI Senate drops plans to cancel elections, Gov. Walker schedules special election for June 12

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Published: Mar. 29, 2018 at 7:15 AM CDT
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Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the state Legislature will not proceed with a bill designed to cancel two special elections for vacant seats.

The Republican Fitzgerald told WTMJ-AM on Thursday that lawmakers are "boxed in" by court rulings ordering Gov. Scott Walker to call the special elections.

Walker minutes earlier called the elections in the vacant state Senate and Assembly seats for June 12. Walker had tried to delay having to call the elections until after the Legislature could meet next week to change the law.

But Walker dropped his legal fight after a state appeals court judge rejected his request, upholding a decision by a Dane County circuit court judge.

Fitzgerald says if the Legislature passed the bill it ran the risk of another judge "slapping us down."


Gov. Scott Walker is scheduling special elections for June.

The governor issued an executive order Thursday setting elections to fill vacancies in the 42nd Assembly District and the 1st Senate District for June 12. Primaries for both seats will be held May 15 if needed.

Candidates can begin circulating nomination papers Thursday. They must file the papers with the state Elections Commission by 5 p.m. on April 17.

Rep. Keith Ripp and Sen. Frank Lasee resigned in December, creating the vacancies. Walker had refused to order elections to fill their seats. A Madison judge last week ordered him to schedule the elections by noon Thursday.

Republican lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit special elections after the spring elections in a year with regular fall elections. The bill would ensure that neither seat is filled until January.


Gov. Scott Walker says he will schedule special elections for June 12 to fill two legislative vacancies.

Walker decided not to ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court to delay a court order to schedule those elections.

Walker told WTMJ-AM Wednesday night that he considers the special elections a waste of tax dollars because regular elections are held in the fall.

The governor had refused to order elections to fill Rep. Keith Ripp and Sen. Frank Lasee's seats. But a Madison judge last week ordered Walker to schedule the elections by noon on Thursday. Walker on Wednesday asked the 2nd District Court of Appeals to review that decision and delay the order to April 6. The appellate court refused to delay the order.