With the retirement of Rep. John Murtha (R – Baldwin), the open 29th Assembly District will be a coveted seat for both parties this November. The northern Wisconsin district lies in St. Croix and Dunn counties and is comprised of communities such as Menominee, New Richmond and Star Prairie.
Both parties will hold a primary election in August. There are two candidates running on the Republican side. One candidate, Rob Stafsholt of New Richmond, has worked as a mortgage loan originator, has managed his family’s food manufacturing company called Scoop’s Delight Salad Dressing, and currently helps run his family farm. Challenging Stafsholt to run as the Republican nominee is Vince Trudell, the former village president of Hammond.
There are also two candidates running the Democratic side of the ticket. Menominee Mayor Randy Knaack, who has served as mayor since 2010, faces Scottie Ard, a New Richmond alderperson.
Murtha held the seat for ten years being re-elected by comfortable margins each time. But, an open seat during a presidential election means that the seat is up for grabs come November. Republicans hold the historical down ballot electoral performance edge, but the Democrats have recruited candidates with some name recognition who could be viable in a district that is often a toss-up at the top of the ticket. In 2012, for example, the 29th Assembly District gave 49 percent of the vote to Barack Obama.