If necessary, Primary for 7th CD seat would be held December 30, 2019

Well, it’s official. The General Election to replace Sean Duffy will be held next January 27th, per an executive order issued by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers this afternoon.

If, as expected, a Primary Election is necessary, it will be held on December 30, 2019. Nomination papers can begin to be circulated immediately and are due by 5pm on December 2, 2019.

Last month, Duffy announced his retirement, which became effective today.

“On September 23, I will step down and allow others to step forward to begin laying out their own vision and plans for leading this beautiful district and the most honest, hard-working, family-oriented, patriotic, and God-fearing constituents in America,” Duffy wrote in a Facebook post.

His wife is Rachel Campos-Duffy, a popular conservative figure and a spokesman for conservative causes on national television talk shows.

Duffy announced he was leaving Congress due to a complication with his wife’s most recent pregnancy with their ninth child.

“Recently, we’ve learned that our baby, due in late October, will need even more love, time, and attention due to complications, including a heart condition,” Duffy wrote. “With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now. It is not an easy decision – because I truly love being your Congressman – but it is the right decision for my family, which is my first love and responsibility.”

The surprise announcement came on the same day Duffy’s re-election campaign announced the re-launching of the campaign website on Twitter.

The Cook Political report indicated Duffy’s retirement moved the seat from Solid Republican to Likely Republican.

Even in the “blue wave” of 2018, Democrats couldn’t attract a top-tier candidate to run and Duffy defeated attorney Margaret Engebretson 60 percent to 39 percent, virtually identical to Trump’s margin. Today, the Wisconsin State Journal reported state Sens. Tom Tiffany and Jerry Petrowski as potential Republican candidates and state Sen. Janet Bewley and state Rep. Nick Milroy (both of the labor-heavy Iron Range) as possible Democrats. 

For perspective, Wisconsin’s 7th CD voted for Trump by about the same margin as Pennsylvania’s old 18th CD, which Democrat Conor Lamb flipped in a March 2018 special election. But only 22 percent of adults in WI-07 hold college degrees, well below the 36 percent in PA-18. And so far in special elections held in 2019, Democrats haven’t outperformed the partisan fundamentals of districts by nearly the same margin as last cycle.

It would take a combination of a massive Democratic turnout advantage and a deeply flawed GOP nominee to put this race in play. But special elections can be volatile, so we’re putting this race on our watch list in Likely Republican for now.

Two weeks ago State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) announced that he was officially a candidate for the vacancy.