Election Preview

The end of the legislative session always signals the start of campaign season, however, this year the races have already started and the fights are projected to be intense.

Adding to an already tumultuous election cycle, legislators are running in newly redistricted seats, some of which have not been finalized because they are being challenged in the courts. Wisconsin also has a new, earlier primary date (typically September-now August), which means the deadlines for filing a declaration of candidacy and signature gathering have also been bumped up earlier in the year.

All 99 Assembly seats and 16 Senate seats (even numbered districts) were already scheduled to be on the fall ballot. In addition, four Senators are running in recall races with primary elections in May and the general scheduled for June 5th. (See Judge Sets Recall Election Dates story below.)

One of the Senators facing recall is Sen. Pam Galloway who announced on the last day of session that she was resigning. The Government Accountability Board responded to Sen. Galloway’s retirement with an announcement that the recall election against her would still take place since it is the quickest way to fill the empty seat.

In addition to Sen. Galloway, a number of other legislators in both houses have announced their retirement or intentions to seek another office, with potentially more to follow.

The following legislators have announced their retirement:


  • Rep. Barbara Toles of the 17th District.
  • Rep. Mark Radcliffe of the 92nd District.
  • Rep. Dick Spanbauer of the 53rd District.
  • Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer of the 25th District.
  • Rep. Dan Meyer of the 34th District.
  • Rep. Michelle Litjens of the 56th District.
  • Rep. Karl Van Roy of the 90th District.

A number of legislators are seeking another office:

  • Rep. Donna Seidel of the 85th District is running in the recall election against Sen. Galloway.
  • Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of the 39th District is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Herb Kohl.
  • Reps. Kelda Helen Roys of the 81st District and Mark Pocan of the 78th District are both running for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin.
  • Senators Spencer Coggs of the 6th District and Tim Carpenter of the 3rd District are both running for Milwaukee City Treasurer.
  • Senator Kathleen Vinehout of the 31st District has said she intends to run against Gov. Walker in the recall election. The 31st District seat is not up for election this year, so should her run for Governor be unsuccessful, she would retain her current seat.

Hamilton Consulting will continue to provide election analysis throughout the summer and fall.