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Walker calls special elections, GOP drops bill to block them

Walker calls special elections, GOP drops bill to block them

The bill would eliminate requirements for prompt special elections to fill vacancies.

The two legislative districts in question are the First Senate District in northeastern Wisconsin and the 42nd Assembly District, located north of Madison. Walker had tried to delay having to call the elections until after the Legislature could meet next week to change the law.

Walker decided not to ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court to delay a court order to schedule those elections.

On Wednesday, Appeals Court Judge Paul Reilly absolutely and unequivocally rejected the claim by the governor's legal team that the special elections were an unnecessary waste of taxpayer resources.

Following a string of GOP losses in special elections nationwide, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is locked in a battle with prominent Democrats over Walker's refusal to call elections for two vacant state legislative districts.

Defeated at every turn in his attempt to dismantle democracy in Wisconsin, Walker finally surrendered. When Wisconsin last held special elections in January, Democrats won a surprise victory in a state Senate seat in an area that Donald Trump carried by 17 percentage points. The most recent special elections this January saw a traditionally Republican Senate District flip 'blue'.

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Last Thursday, Reynolds ruled that Walker had a "plain and positive duty" to call the elections, saying Walker's suggestion that the law gave him leeway was "absurd in its application".

Democrats contend Walker is dragging his feet because Republicans fear losing the seats.

Like Walker, the Republican House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader have argued that the timing of the special election races doesn't make sense because it will overlap with the process of scheduling the fall elections.

Walker specifically went outside of the Dane County circuit court after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos leveled insults at Dane County residents and called Dane County Circuit Court Judge Josann Reynolds an activist judge.

A Dane County Judge ruled last Thursday that Walker must call special elections to fill the seats held by former Senator Frank Lasee and former Representative Keith Ripp.

Walker has refused to order special elections to fill Rep. Keith Ripp and Sen.

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The two lawmakers resigned in December to take jobs in the Walker administration.

Lawyers for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which is led by Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel and represented Walker in this case, asked the court to delay its earlier ruling in light of the Legislature's plans to change the special election statutes.

The bill they could pass as soon as next week would apply regardless of any existing court orders.

Fitzgerald testified Wednesday that anywhere from 85 to 150 overseas voters, including some in the military, could be disenfranchised if the special elections proceed under the timeline set up in current state law.

"The governor was boxed in", Fitzgerald said.

"Most people can remember there's an April election and there's a November election, and as soon as you start throwing in an election on May 29 or June 5, people are not geared to that", Richardson says. They included Kathleen Finnerty of Sturgeon Bay - she's chair of the Door County Democratic Party and lives in one of the vacant districts. Spokesman Reid Magney said the commission stopped tracking costs past year after commissioners discontinued the practice because state law doesn't require it to do so.

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NY has lost six straight openers, the longest such streak in franchise history and the longest active skid in the major leagues. Other Yankees to homer twice on opening day were Babe Ruth and Samuel Byrd (1932), Russ Derry (1945) and Roger Maris (1956).

The extraordinary session in which this bill is scheduled will begin in the State Senate on April 4 with a public hearing on the measure this Wednesday.


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