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Friday, February 09, 2018

Cost To His Party Outweighs Cost To The State In Walker's Special Election Decision

Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 8 Excerpt:
(d) 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.

Thanks to a very questionable decision by Gov. Scott Walker - whose governorship has been propped up by out-of-state dark money and failed reforms - to skip filling two seats vacated by his appointees, taxpayers in Kewaunee, Door and Columbia Counties will continue to pay taxes to the state even though they will not have representation in the State Legislature.

But is that a problem? Well, it can be a problem for some since “taxation without representation” is what fueled much of the resentment towards the crown in the Revolutionary War.

Daily Cardinal Excerpt:
Special elections will not be held for two vacant seats in the state Legislature, Gov. Scott Walker announced, leaving thousands of Wisconsinites unrepresented for the time being.

The decision leaves the 42nd Assembly and 1st Senate district seats empty for most of 2018.

The offices were vacated when former state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi, took jobs in the Walker administration.

There is no question that Walker not calling for special elections stinks of partisan politics, but his excuses don't look much better even if we dismiss that aspect. Walker defended his decision by citing the fiscal burden two additional elections can have on the state. However, the "burden" can't be much since Walker also recently boasted of a $579 million budget "surplus." So there's that.

Then there's the results of a special election held in January that showed a significant enough net swing toward Democrats, including picking up a seat, that Walker - instead of congratulating the winners - immediately sounded a "wake-up call" warning to his party loyals. It's now obvious that it's more important to Walker to hold off his party's slide as much as possible - call for special sessions to legislate emergency repairs - than to call for special elections so the people can choose a new representative in a timely manner.

Then there is this insightful analysis composed by Scott Gordon of WisContext on Walker's decision including a chart showing days of vacancy to election covering the last fifty years in Wisconsin. Gordon's perspective, layered with the state's tradition of prompt special elections as seen through a non-partisan lense, shows Walker's recent decision as a disturbing anomaly from a historical perspective. Gordon's work on this is a highly recommended read.


CapTimes - Scott Walker's rejection of representative democracy is shameful John Nichols

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