As instructed by Dane County Judge Josann Reynolds, Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday scheduled a special election for June 12 to fill the remaining seven months of former state Sen. Frank Lasee’s term.
Lasee resigned Dec. 29 to take a position as administrator of the Department of Workforce Development Worker’s Compensation Division. With the legislative session ending in March, Walker did not schedule a special election, but an affiliate of a group called the National Democratic Redistricting Committee filed suit to force the issue.
The governor also scheduled a special election in the 42nd Assembly District for the same day. Candidates have until 5 p.m. April 17 to file nomination papers. A primary election will be held May 15.
Walker could have called the election to coincide with Tuesday’s spring election if he had done so by Jan. 2. Wisconsin statute 8.50(2)(a) states, “If a special election is held concurrently with the spring election, the special election may be ordered not earlier than 92 days prior to the spring primary and not later than 49 days prior to that primary.”
But he argued that the Legislature’s last general business floor sessions would be completed by March 22, and the Senate district office would remain open to serve constituent concerns after lawmakers head home for the rest of the year. The Democratic group, chaired by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, said without a special election the district would be without representation for a year.
By noon Thursday, each of the major parties had at least one candidate in the race. Republicans Andre Jacque and Alex Renard had already announced they would run for the seat in November, and Door County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Caleb Frostman announced he would be running as a Democrat late Thursday morning.
“I’m running to fight for better investments in people, our businesses, and our lands,” Frostman posted on his newly minted campaign Facebook page. “It is time for our state to prioritize public education, repair our broken infrastructure, protect our public lands, and advance policies that help people succeed, like access to affordable healthcare and childcare.”
Jacque, a four-term Assembly representative from De Pere, was the first to declare his candidacy a week after Lasee’s resignation.
Renard, an operations manager for his family’s Renco Machine Co. Inc. of Green Bay, stepped into the field on March 6.
“It’s time for Northeast Wisconsin to have a new, forward-thinking leader serving area residents with the business experience, understanding, and urgency to expand opportunity, solve big problems, and make our state a place where both families and business want to come and grow,” Renard said when he announced.