Wisconsinites head to the polls on April 7th to vote in many local races, but those in Wisconsin politics are following two races: the special election for the 20th Senate District and the open seat for Waukesha County Executive. Also on the ballot is a referendum that if passed would change the way Wisconsin’s supreme court chief justice is selected.
The 20th Senate District seat became open after Congressman Glenn Grothman vacated the position to take his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the 6th Congressional District. Political commentators will not be watching the numbers come in too closely. It is expected that the 20th will almost assuredly go to former Representative Due Stroebel (R-Saukville), who is officially unopposed on the ticket though a Democratic candidate did announce a write-in campaign after the February primary.
While the Waukesha County Executive position does not have a role in state level government, the anticipated winner will likely leave an empty spot in the state Senate. Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) is running for the position and is expected to easily beat his Democratic opponent, Lee Schellinger, in the conservative-leaning county.
The referendum that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot, if passed, would amend the state constitution to state the chief justice must be selected through a peer election among the justices. The chief justice would hold the position for two years, and would be eligible for peer re-election. Under current law, the chief justice is selected by seniority. The legislation was passed by the state legislature in January and during the 2013 legislative session. All amendments to the state constitution must be passed by two consecutive state legislatures and by a ballot referendum.