In the special election Republican primary to replace Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), state Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) handily defeated Jason Church, an aide to U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, 57.6% to 42.4%.
Tiffany will face Democrat Tricia Zunker in the Special Election on May 12. Zunker defeated fellow Democrat Lawrence Dale in Tuesday’s election.
As was predicted in our special election turnout preview, voter turnout was higher in the eastern part of the district, the location of Tiffany’s senate district. Church was unable to make up the votes needed in the western part of the district.
Tiffany stressed the need to support President Donald Trump in his remarks after the race was called.
“This campaign has always been about protecting freedom and opportunity for my family and yours. I’m so thankful for the grassroots volunteers who worked so hard and everyone who voted for me at the polls Tuesday.
“As a small businessman who grew up on my family’s dairy farm, I know the challenges that Wisconsin families face. I’ve signed both sides of a paycheck and will work to bring my business experience to Congress, where Nancy Pelosi and her radical allies need some Wisconsin common sense.
“Now, it’s time to rally together and win on Tuesday, May 12. President Trump needs strong reinforcements in Congress who will work to stop socialism and defend freedom. I’m running for Congress to keep America great. We must ensure our children and grandchildren can grow up with the same freedom and opportunity that we did.”
Church quickly endorsed Tiffany on Twitter after the results were known.
The race was marked by strong support for Tiffany from prominent Wisconsin conservatives and grassroots organizations like Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin, the National Rifle Association and Associated Builders and Contractors-Wisconsin (ABC-WI).
Church received national support from Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Charlie Kirk of Turning Point U.S.A. The difference in the type of endorsements in the election was reminiscent of the 2018 U.S. Senate GOP Primary between state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) and Kevin Nicholson.
However, Church also received the support of lobbyist John Gard, a former Speaker of the Assembly, after flip-flopping on the issue of the repeal of Davis-Bacon on a questionnaire by ABC-WI. Gard has supported candidates in Republican primaries to oppose GOP legislators who voted for the repeal of the state’s prevailing wage laws. So far, Gard’s efforts have been unsuccessful.
The special election became necessary after Duffy announced in October that he was resigning due to a health issue for the latest child to be born into his family. Duffy is now a contributor to CNN.
Despite a pre-existing spring election schedule, Gov. Tony Evers (D) set two different sets of election dates to try to avoid holding the special election on April 7, the same day as the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Evers had to cancel the first set of dates because it did not allow enough time under federal law to provide absentee ballots for military personnel stationed overseas.
The district is considered a pro-Trump district, even supporting the president in the 2016 Wisconsin primary when Trump was defeated by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. However, the race may attract national money as it is a special election.