Ripp resigned Friday to take the No. 3 position at DATCP as assistant deputy secretary.It's a bit eye-rolling, but not unusual, especially since this raises what these guys can get on their pension when they retire. And I sure wouldn't want to be a Republican having to defend this crap in November either.
Ripp, 56, raises livestock and grows grain on the family farm in Lodi. He and his wife also operate a trucking business. Ripp is the former president and vice president of the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.
Ripp has been in the Assembly since 2009. He will make about $105,000, more than double his $50,950 salary as a legislator...
Lasee has been in the Senate since 2011 and previously served in the Assembly from 1995 to 2007. He resigned to become the administrator for the Department of Workforce Development's Worker's Compensation Division. Lasee will make about $101,000 a year.
But the real story is that the resignations immediately took effect on December 29 (try that in your job), and the Walker Administration's insisted that no one needed to replace Ripp and Lasse until 2019.
NEW questions about @GovWalker plan to leave these seats vacant. State law says if a legislative vacancy occurs "before the 2nd Tues. in May in the year in which a regular election is held to fill that seat, it "shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election" https://t.co/rm006HflhO— Mark Sommerhauser (@msommerhauser) December 29, 2017
I'm sure the people of NE Wisconsin and of Columbia and northern Dane County appreciate having their voice taken away in the Legislature for more than a year. As for whether the Walker Administration can even do that...
.@GovWalker spox contending his decision not to hold special elections for the seats "is consistent with the statute. ... Since Senator Lasee and Rep. Ripp resigned in 2017, special elections are not required."— Mark Sommerhauser (@msommerhauser) December 29, 2017
In other words, the Walker Admin is saying that if those resignations had happened in calendar year 2018, they would have had to fill it. But since these two GOP legislators quit in at the end of 2017, 3 DAYS EARLIER, they don't have to fill the opening?
That's laughable on its face, and even more absurd when you look at the statute itself.
The date for the special election shall be not less than 62 nor more than 77 days from the date of the order except when the special election is held to fill a vacancy in a national office or the special election is held on the day of the general election or spring election. 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. If a special election is held concurrently with the general election or a special election is held to fill a national office, the special election may be ordered not earlier than 122 days prior to the partisan primary or special primary, respectively, and not later than 92 days prior to that primary.In other words, the "2017 loophole" that the Walker Admin is trying to pull is complete bullshit, and the only way that they could avoid having an election would be if the entire Legislature went on a paid vacation for 2018 and did nothing. While it looks like little will happen at the Capitol 2018 (and even less action that will be any good), there still are floorperiods scheduled for January, February, and March.
(b) If a primary is required, the primary shall be on the day 4 weeks before the day of the special election except when the special election is held on the same day as the general election the special primary shall be held on the same day as the partisan primary or if the special election is held concurrently with the spring election, the primary shall be held concurrently with the spring primary, and except when the special election is held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of an odd-numbered year, the primary shall be held on the 2nd Tuesday of August in that year....
Any vacancy in the office of state senator or representative to the assembly occurring before the 2nd Tuesday in May in the year in which a regular election is held to fill that seat shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election. However, any vacancy in the office of state senator or representative to the assembly occurring after the close of the last regular floorperiod of the legislature held during his or her term shall be filled only if a special session or extraordinary floorperiod of the legislature is called or a veto review period is scheduled during the remainder of the term. The special election to fill the vacancy shall be ordered, if possible, so the new member may participate in the special session or floorperiod.
So let's admit the real reason behind why the Walker folks don't want these special elections to happen- both of these districts are marginal enough to fall to the Democrats, given past history and the Dems' current advantages in enthusiasm. Look at what happened in the last November election when Dems did well in Wisconsin - 2012, when both Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin won statewide.
Vacant district results, 2012
SD-1 52-47 Romney
AD-42 51-48 Obama
Looks competitive to me. Yes, Republicans did better in these places in 2014 and 2016, but that was the case in a lot of the state, and the dynamics seem a lot different than those "angry white male resentment" years today. (Also noteworthy, Romney only won by 6 in SD-10 in 2012. Patty Schachtner can flip that district in that special election on Jan 16).
Also, those special elections could/should coincide with this Spring's Supreme Court election in April (if the special election was called in mid-January, then it could be held on the same day (lessening costs to these communities). Higher Dem turnout in those special election races would also make it likely that a non-GOP hack would win that Supreme Court seat and cut into the WMC-bought majority.
If Dems or anyone else that believes in democracy is awake in this state, the Walker Admin's attempt to avoid the election should be the subject of a lawsuit as soon as people get back to work tomorrow. My guess is that Gov "Unintimidated" and his crew would back down really fast. 2018 is here, whether WisGOP likes it or not, and they should man up and deal with the electoral consequences that will be inflicted on them.
Sure, it may prove to be a pain, as the person who wins would stand for election again in November. But that doesn't mean those 230,000 Wisconsinites deserve to be "represented" by an empty chair in the Legislature. Fill the seat, Scotty. And do it in April.