Gov. Evers to Order Special Election in 7th Congressional District

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced that he will order a special election to fill the 7th Congressional District vacancy created by the resignation of U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis). The election will occur on January 27, 2020. A primary, if required, will occur on December 30, 2019.

The governor has received notification from Mr. Duffy stating Mr. Duffy will resign the office of U.S. Representative, effective Monday, September 23, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. EST.

State law dictates when the governor can order a special election. Once a congressional seat becomes vacant, the governor can order a special election. Gov. Evers will issue an order for the special election immediately following the effective time of Mr. Duffy’s resignation.

“Our rural communities have been directly affected by unproductive trade wars, political attacks on healthcare and public education, and economic uncertainty because of the volatility we’re seeing in Washington, D.C.,” said Gov. Evers. “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. I thank Rep. Duffy for his service and wish him and his family all the best.”

View the executive order here.

BACKGROUND

When can a governor order a special election?

State law dictates when the governor can order a special election. Once a congressional seat becomes vacant, the governor can order a special election. The order must be issued 92 to 122 days prior to the special primary. The special primary, if necessary, must occur 28 days before the special general election. No special election can occur between February 1, 2020, and April 7, 2020, unless it aligns with the nonpartisan spring election.

What is the earliest date a special election could occur?

With U.S. Rep. Duffy resigning effective Monday, September 23, 2019, the earliest a special election could occur is a primary election on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, and a special general election on January 21, 2020. This is problematic because the primary would occur on Christmas Eve, a state holiday.

Why wasn’t the election ordered to run concurrently with the spring election?

Ordering the special election to run concurrently with the spring election would have deprived the people of northern Wisconsin of representation in Congress until April 7, 2020. This would mean that the 7th Congressional District would be without a representative for more than six months.


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