After badly bungling his first attempt to schedule a special election in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, Governor Tony Evers announced on Friday a new schedule for the election.
The special primary in the 7th district will occur on the same day as the regularly scheduled spring primary, February 18, 2020. However, the special election will occur on May 12, 2020, not on the regularly scheduled spring election day of April 7th.
Evers claimed he made the decision after consulting with local clerks, and then had the nerve to ask the legislature for more money to pay for special elections.
“We know that any time an elected official leaves before their term is over, it puts a strain on the system,” Evers said in his statement announcing the election. “This legislation will ensure that local governments are not solely responsible for the financial burden associated with administering special elections.”
Let’s start with the obvious. Democrats are afraid that scheduling the 7th congressional district election to occur on April 7th will help bring out more Republicans to vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.
Justice Dan Kelly, an appointment by Governor Scott Walker, is running for a full term on the Court. Democrats will be holding their presidential primary the same day as the Supreme Court election and are hoping that their higher expected turnout will be enough to help their preferred candidate defeat Kelly. If there is an election in the 7th congressional district, a district won by Trump in 2016, the increased Republican turnout could help Kelly.
So Evers scheduled the special election for May 12th instead. For this in-kind contribution to the Democratic Party, Evers actually has the nerve to ask the legislature for more money.
When Republicans tried playing with the election dates of the Democratic Presidential Primary Election, Democrats (and their accomplices in the state media) cried foul. But Evers’ playing with the election date of the special election, at some cost to local municipalities, has so far been met with silence.
Republicans should seriously consider moving the Supreme Court election date to May 12th. If the additional time after the primary is good for the 7th Congressional district special election, it should also be good for the Supreme Court election. Let Evers explain his partisan election scheduling when he vetoes the change in the election calendar for the Supreme Court race.
But if they decide not to fight fire with fire, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald have an easy answer about the cost of the special election in the 7th congressional district. If Evers insists on scheduling the election for May 12th as an in-kind contribution to the Democratic Party, then the Democratic Party should reimburse the state the cost of holding the election one month after a regularly scheduled election.
Given the Democratic complaining about moving the presidential primary election day, the Democrats should cheerfully write the check to reimburse the state.