Sean Duffy officially left Congress on Monday. He is resigning reportedly to stay home with a baby he and his wife were expecting in October, which had already been diagnosed with special needs.
On the same day, Governor Tony Evers set the special election to replace Duffy:
Gov. Tony Evers on Monday called for a special election in January to fill the vacancy in northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. The announcement came the same day U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, resigned the position.
“Our rural communities have been directly affected by unproductive trade wars, political attacks on health care and public education, and economic uncertainty because of the volatility we’re seeing in Washington, D.C.,” Evers said in a statement announcing the Jan. 27 special election. “The people of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District deserve to have a voice in Congress, which is why I am calling for a special election to occur quickly to ensure the people of the 7th Congressional District have representation as soon as possible.
If a primary is needed, it will be held on December 30.
The Republicans immediately sprung into action by mewling about it, making broad and baseless accusation and, of course, fundraising:
While Evers said the special election date was chosen in order to fill the open seat as soon as possible, Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, was critical of the governor’s selection.
“(Evers) called for a special election on a Monday over the holidays in order to shield his party from rural voters during the spring election,” Jefferson said in a statement. “Governor Evers knows the problems that come with holding an election in 26 counties during the holidays, but he doesn’t care. Clerks are already burdened by existing end-of-year priorities such as budgets and property taxes, along with reviewing nomination papers for local offices.”
They also added gripes about the cost of having the special election.
Their complaints are foolish. The spring elections would be actually more beneficial to the Democrats, since that is when Wisconsin's presidential primary is. There is guaranteed to be a much bigger turnout in the spring than over the holidays (if a primary is needed) and in the dead of winter.
But not all Democrats are pleased about the choice either, as Ruth Conniff of Wisconsin Examiner, reports:
The January election date is not ideal, according to at least one Democrat, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Black Earth).
“If you have a primary or a general around Christmas … you get terrible turnout because real people don’t think about primary elections, they think about the holidays,” Pocan said in a conversation with reporters on Sept. 4, during which he was asked what would be the best election date in the 7th district for Democrats.
The best way to schedule the election, he said, was to “piggyback” the dates on already-scheduled elections, with a primary in February and a general election in April. “You don’t want to add elections,” Pocan said. “We like elections; most people don’t.”
“If you start putting a bunch of elections, especially at Christmas time or in other months, you’re not going to get turnout and that doesn’t benefit anyone,” Pocan added. “You should want as many people as possible to participate.”
One of the real reasons that the Republicans have their undies in a bundle over this special election is because they know that the party choice to replace Duffy, State Senator Tom Tiffany, is a strong Trump supporter and with Trump failing and flailing fast, they're afraid it's not going to go well for them because it would be an early referendum on Trump.
The other reason they're upset is because they are pining for the good old days, when they didn't have to worry about the voters. Y'know, like that time that Scott Walker was so scared of giving the people their voice that he refused to hold special elections in the beginning of 2018, until he was ordered by the courts - numerous times - to set the dates.