Gov. Tony Evers today announced that he will order a special election to fill the 7th Congressional District vacancy created by the resignation of U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis). The election will occur on January 27, 2020. A primary, if required, will occur on December 30, 2019.I had mentioned back when Duffy announced his return to the real world that my preference was for the primary to be in mid-January and the general election on the same date as the statewide primary for Supreme Court in February, partly as a cost-saving measure for the locals in the Northwoods.
The governor has received notification from Mr. Duffy stating Mr. Duffy will resign the office of U.S. Representative, effective Monday, September 23, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. EST.
State law dictates when the governor can order a special election. Once a congressional seat becomes vacant, the governor can order a special election. Gov. Evers will issue an order for the special election immediately following the effective time of Mr. Duffy’s resignation.
“Our rural communities have been directly affected by unproductive trade wars, political attacks on healthcare and public education, and economic uncertainty because of the volatility we’re seeing in Washington, D.C.,” said Gov. Evers. (Was that necessary, Tony?) “The people of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District deserve to have a voice in Congress, which is why I am calling for a special election to occur quickly to ensure the people of the 7th Congressional District have representation as soon as possible. I thank Rep. Duffy for his service and wish him and his family all the best."
But apparently Evers wanted to fill the seat as quickly as possible, which is NOT what the Republican Party of Wisconsin wanted.
I get that WisGOP will whine about anything Evers does. But where's the logic behind this release? "Shield his party from rural voters?" WTF does that even mean? If Evers wanted to do that, he wouldn't have called the election at all and would have waited till November 2020 to fill the seat, like what Republican Governor Scott Walker tried to do with 2 seats in the State Legislature last year. At least until Eric Holder handed Walker his ass in court.
But Evers isn't a scumbucket like Walker, and wanted to get the seat filled quickly, so the people of WI-7 would their voice restored to the House sooner than later. Maybe there's a legitimate point in that the end of the year and end of January has more people in local government offices to pay their property taxes, but those places usually aren't open at 7am (when polls open) or at 8pm (when polls close). In addition, are most of the polling spots at the same place people pay their taxes? I doubt it, so that's a pretty soft angle to criticize.
No, what WisGOP is complaining about is that Evers wouldn't keep the seat vacant for an additional 2 1/2 months, so that the WI-7 election would have happened at the same time as the Supreme Court election, the presidential primaries, and other Spring elections in April 2020. I guess that's because in their minds this would help right-wing nutjob Daniel Kelly stay on the court by having more people vote in a pro-GOP district. Apparently that was so important to WisGOP, the party that claims to speak for the "real Wisconsin" in the sticks, that they wanted the Northwoods to not have a person representing them in the House for 6 1/2 months!
That's telling to me, because it shows how GOPs only think in terms of electoral gaming when it comes to things like filling a seat in Congress. There is no concept of a greater good or improving access for voters, and if the shoe was on the other foot, WisGOP wouldn't give a damn about whether the timing of an election coincided with property tax payments or if a primary election was close to New Year's. They certainly haven't cared about giving local governments enough funding or flexibility to operate effectively over the last 8 years.
Their act is pathetic, but I shouldn't expect any less from a WisGOP that has completely given up on trying to be an honest broker. Anyway, let's see what landscape develops in this rare special election for Congress in the Northwoods. Normally, you'd figure this would be a GOP hold, but given the volatility in DC and the economy these days, I don't have an idea how people might be feeling in 4 months.