Evers had an original plan of having the primary election for WI-7 on December 30 and then the General election following on January 27. This enabled the seat to be filled faster, and followed state statutes that say that special elections have a 4-week difference between the primary and general election. BUT…
1. Federal rules say that overseas electors must get 45 days to get their ballots for a general election. Since we wouldn’t know who is on the ballot until the primary is certified (around 1-2 weeks after the primary), it means there has to be more than 28 days between those two elections. AND…
2. A state statute says no special (General) election can be held between Feb 1 and the April Spring election. This is a rule intended to avoid extra elections at the state level, but it's causing major problems here, and there needs to be legislation pushed through to get rid of this limitation before it causes more disruption.
Part 1 prevented Evers’ first plan of having the seat filled by the end of January. And Part 2 prevented the WI-7 election from being filled at the same time as the Feb Spring primary, or in March. So now there’s a major conflict.
The logical response to me is to call the primary election at the same time that the general election was scheduled for in late January (except on Tuesday, not Monday). Then have the General Election at the same time as the April Spring election. Yes, it ignores the state law about the general election being 4 weeks after the primary, but I have a hard time believing Tony Evers is going to face any legal actions or political blowback for ensuring our troops get ballots by following federal law over state law.
And yes, this means that the WI-7 election would be at the same time as the state Supreme Court election and the Dem Presidential Primary. Maybe some Dems won’t want another election in a GOP-leaning seat up North while a 10-year term is being decided for the Supreme Court, but to me, it would be unfair to keep this seat vacant for even longer than the 6 months it’s already going to be under this “speedier” schedule.
In addition, there would likely be a lot of resentment in that part of the state against Evers and other Dems if they played games by scheduling extra elections or by delaying them. Given that Dems might need every vote they can in November 2020, it’s not a good idea to make enemies for avoidable reasons.
But I also want to go back to why we're in this spot in the first place - because Sean Duffy quit in the middle of his term to allegedly spend more time to care for his 9th child, who was born last week with a heart issue. That wasn't something that caught the Duffys by surprise in August, when Sean decided to go back to the Real World.
I don't want to cast aspersions, but ducking out in late September placed a mess on Evers' desk, given the conflicts between state law, the December holidays, and the looming April elections. And Duffy’s whole “disappearing from Congress to take care of family” routine seemed quite odd when he was posting things like this while driving to the hospital 2 weeks ago.
On the way to the hospital. Rachel was admitted and will have the baby in the next couple of days...one month early. Great doctors - so she’s in good hands. Keep us in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/M49VGdmFhX— Sean Duffy (@Duffy4Wisconsin) October 1, 2019
Within days of the kid being born, Duffy was back headlining fundraisers for WisGOP legislators. Even if those fundraisers were 150 miles from home.
If that newborn's health is such a concern that Sean Duffy had to quit his job and return to the real world, he's got a really weird way of showing it. Add in the fact that all of the Ukraine details and impeachment inquiry hit full force within a couple of weeks of Duffy’s resignation, and it sure looks a lot more like someone was running away from Congress before he had to make an even bigger fool of himself defending an indefensible president doing indefensible things.
In fact, it’s a lot like how Paul Ryan bailed out of Congress instead of facing an angry electorate in 2018, which now allows Purty Pau-lie the opportunity to complain about Trump without having to take the responsibility to do anything about it as Speaker.
Yes, I think something is suspicious here, and we should keep our antennae up on what kind of gig Duffy and Road Rules Rachel look to get over the next few months and years. It would be right in line with today's GOP to play the two-step of leaving town without having to take a vote or make a statement on impeachment, which maintains Duffy's good name in the Koched-up Bubble World without having to deal with some of the fallout that he deserves.
And Duffy quitting in late September definitely put Tony Evers in a bad position that Evers admittedly has made worse by not seeming to line up all of the state vs federal conflicts on election laws, and not going public with how screwy the situation was. At this point, Evers needs to get issue off his desk, call the General Election for April, and let the voters do what they're going to do with as little disruption as possible.