1st District State Senator Frank Lasee’s current term runs until 2018, but Madison is alive with rumors that Lasee will be vacating the seat very soon. Lasee suffered a crushing loss in a Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District, falling to Mike Gallagher by a stunning 75 percent to 20 percent. Lasee ran a scorched earth campaign against Gallagher while dealing with questions about his own residency. Some political observers believe that the primary left Lasee badly damaged, to the extent that he could face a Republican primary challenger if he were to run for his senate seat again.
Two sources told me this week that Lasee is pushing hard, very hard, for a job in the Walker administration and will resign from the state senate if or when he secures one. I asked Lasee, in a brief text message exchange about the rumors. I first asked him to confirm or deny that he’ll be resigning his senate seat soon. He accused someone by name of spreading the rumor and said it wasn’t true.
In response, I texted Lasee that I had two sources and quoted one of them as saying “it’s an open secret in Madison that Frank is angling hard” for a job in the Walker administration. Lasee did not respond to that text. Lasee may be telling truth, but it would be charitable to say he was less than forthcoming when I asked him about his residency issues during the primary. And he could have put this rumor to bed more definitively by denying that he’s trying to find a post-senate landing pad with the Walker administration. He instead ignored that query.
Once source told me that the feeling is that Lasee is quite intent on leaving his senate seat. Madison speculation has it happening in the first quarter of 2017. If it does happen, state representative André Jacque would be expected to be in the best position of any Republican in the district to run for the seat. Only time will tell if Lasee’s denial is authentic.