NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (WBAY) - On Thursday, Governor Walker scheduled special elections to fill two vacant legislative seats, and some potential candidates in Northeast Wisconsin are already trying to win over voters.
The vote affects Senate District One of northeast Wisconsin and Assembly District 42 in south central Wisconsin. The seats have been vacant since December, when the governor appointed Representative Keith Ripp and Senator Frank Lasee to his administration.
The governor wanted to wait until the November general election to fill the seats. However, a democratic group run by former U.S. Attorney General Eric holder filed a lawsuit, generating a series of court battles. It ended with governor walker calling for the elections in June.
District one now has three potential candidates:Republican Representative Andre Jacque, Republican manufacturing executive Alex Renard and Democratic Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Caleb Frostman.
Almost 175,000 people will be eligible to vote in a district one special election, including parts of Brown, Door, Calumet, Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties.
Since President Trump took office, the Republican Party has lost more than thirty legislative seats nationwide, giving momentum to democrats like Frostman.
“This is the right time. I think the special election is a step in the right direction,” Frostman told Action 2 News in his first interview following his announcement Thursday. “If my history is correct, I think our country was founded on a fight over taxation over representation so I'm really encouraged by that.”
I would not have jumped in if I didn't feel good about the possibilities of making real change to the folks in the first district— here at home and also down in Madison,” said Frostman.
De Pere Republican and State Representative Andre Jacque said, “I feel like I've been a very active representative for my constituents, and something that they'd like to see more of in the state senate. It's just a different opportunity to be able to serve my friends and neighbors a little bit more effectively, but it is kind of a natural progression. It's something I feel like I've been very successful in my time in Madison getting legislation passed. Behind each of those bills are the stories of my constituents."
Representative Jacque and will face off against manufacturing manager Alex Renard in the May 15th GOP primary.
"As an outsider someone who is a job creator and a business owner, someone who has worked in the workforce for going on ten years now in a manufacturing company, and someone who has grown up in and lived in the district and been here for quite some time, I want to bring a fresh approach new ideas,” said 24-year-old Renard of Renco Machine Corporation.
The candidates began circulating their nomination papers immediately to be turned in on April 17th.
Whoever wins the seat will need to run again in the November election.