Wisconsin state Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) announced Wednesday on social media that he is considering a run in a special election in the 7th Congressional District.
“Over the past two days I have received hundreds of phone calls, texts and emails asking me to run for the 7th Congressional District Seat,” Petrowski wrote. “The amount of support pouring in is both overwhelming and heartwarming. This is not a decision to take lightly, and I will be discussing options with my family over the next couple of weeks.”
The special election, which has not yet been set, became necessary after the announcement by Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI07) on Monday that he will be resigning on September 23rd. Duffy’s wife Rachel Campos-Duffy is pregnant with the couple’s ninth child who is having pre-natal heart issues.
Petrowski joins state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua), state Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), former Americans for Prosperity director Luke Hilgemann, and retired Army Captain and Afghanistan veteran Jason Church as potential Republican candidates for the congressional seat.
Tiffany, the likely frontrunner, said in an interview with WJFW on Tuesday that he would be “a logical candidate.”
“At some point, Congressman Duffy was going to move on from his seat, whether it was now or whether it was five years from now,” Tiffany said. “I’ve been looking forward to that day, that I may have that opportunity.”
Quinn said in an interview with DrydenWire.com that he was considering a run.
“I love my job in the Assembly and the people I currently represent, so leaving Wisconsin to spend more time in D.C. would be hard,” said Quinn. “However there are numerous issues, such as the current dairy crisis and the cost of healthcare that breaks my heart. Many of these issues require federal action — it’s not something my colleagues and I can completely fix at the state level.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley reported on Tuesday that Hilgemann was considering a run.
“I am very appreciative of the outpouring of support and words of encouragement,” Hilgemann said, according to Marley. “There is a lot at stake in finding the best replacement for Congressman Duffy, and I look forward to being a part of the conversation with friends and neighbors in Northern Wisconsin.”
The 7th Congressional District is considered to be solidly Republican after redistricting in 2011. However, until Duffy won the district in 2010, it was represented by Democratic Congressman Dave Obey for 22 years. Duffy’s win signaled a change in the voters in northern Wisconsin and now the district is considered a bastion of support for President Donald Trump.
According to Wisconsin Public Radio, potential Democratic candidates include state Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range), state Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Mason), Wausau attorney Christine Bremer Muggli, organic farmer Tony Schultz, former U.S. Senate staff member Kelly Westlund, and Navy veteran and attorney Margaret Engebretson.
Given the importance of Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential campaign, the race could be a nationally-watched test of Trump’s strength in the state.
Gov. Tony Evers has not yet set the date for the election. Speculation has centered on whether Democrats would like to schedule the election so it falls on the same day as the spring general election which coincides with the Presidential Primary election in Wisconsin. The presidential primary could potentially drive up Democratic turnout in the 7th congressional district race. However, the spring election also coincides with the Wisconsin Supreme Court election when conservative Justice Dan Kelly will be up for re-election and Democrats may not want to risk higher Republican voter turnout.