It’s “Special Election Day” on Tuesday in the 42nd Assembly District and the 1st Senate District. Jon Plumer, a member of the Lodi town board, is the Republican candidate for Assembly. He faces Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd, a fake farmer and an alderman in Lodi who apparently is just the most evil social media user on Earth. Republican Rep. André Jacque (R-De Pere) is taking on Democrat Caleb Frostman.
The winners will get temporary office space and staff member courtesy of the taxpayers. In the case of Jacque, his office space will improve.
Other than that, life will not change regardless of who wins, except bragging rights in a mid-term election year. And that’s what this election is about.
The candidates will all face each other again in November, unless Jacque somehow loses the August 14 primary (extremely unlikely). In the meantime, the legislature is not planning on meeting. None of the issues the candidates are using in the campaign will be considered between now and then. The only practical effect will be to spend local money on meaningless elections, just as Governor Scott Walker claimed when he originally said he did not want to schedule the special elections.
Unfortunately for the local taxpayers, the Democrats sued to force the special elections. They have two goals: win more special elections to create an appearance of momentum heading into November and bring the state legislature closer to Democratic control, at least in one chamber.
The latter goal has a definite purpose in mind. The Democrats are hoping to control or have a say in drawing the state legislative and congressional district boundary lines after the decennial census. They gave that game away when Eric Holder’s group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, both sued to force the elections and then gave money to the Democratic candidates. It’s the same reason Eric Holder’s group game money to Wisconsin Supreme Justice-elect Rebecca Dallet’s campaign.
You’ll note that Holder isn’t so concerned about the process of drawing the district lines in his home state of Illinois where his fellow Democrats currently control the process. Nor were any Democrats in Wisconsin concerned about how district lines were drawn before the 2010 election when Democrats in control of both houses of the legislature and Democrat Jim Doyle was governor. Their complaints about the current district lines are not based upon some principle, it’s about power.
Control of either legislative chamber is not on the line on Tuesday. Republicans currently maintain an 18-14 advantage in the Senate and a 63-35 advantage in the Assembly with one vacancy in each. Adding a Democrat now will not make any difference.
But if Democrats can build on the gain so far in the Senate by adding another seat now, they only need to flip two seats in November to have a majority with still another election to go before redistricting. They can put a stop to more of Walker’s reforms in the next budget cycle and have a say in how district lines are drawn, affecting elections in Wisconsin for a decade.
That’s not the only route for Democrats. If liberals hold onto the Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Shirley Abrahamson in next year’s election, and defeat Justice Dan Kelly the following year, Republicans could find themselves on the losing side of a court-ordered redistricting, just as they were in Pennsylvania.
That’s why it’s so disingenuous for the Capital Times to pretend that there is some great principle concerning redistricting at stake when it comes to supporting Groves Lloyd with their endorsement. Almost nobody on the left cared about redistricting before when they assumed they would be in control. Does the Capital Times really believe Democrats are interested in a “fair” process now?