As I predicted in a post about Duey Stroebel entering the race, more contenders are coming out of the woodwork.
To back up, Wisconsin’s 20th Senate district is being vacated by long-term senator Glenn Grothman because he is going to the House of Representatives. There will be a special election to fill the seat, but the Governor hasn’t called for it yet. This is the most Republican seat in the state, so whoever wins the primary will win the seat. It is also, I would argue, the most conservative district in the state, so it will be a conservative Republican who wins it.
Earlier this week, Duey Stroebel was the first to announce that he is running for the seat. Stroebel is a successful businessman who has been representing an Assembly district that is part of this senate district (in Wisconsin, there are three Assembly districts in each senate district). He did not run for reelection for the Assembly because he ran for Congress. He lost the primary to the aforementioned Glenn Grothman. Stroebel has a very solid conservative record in the Assembly and can finance his own campaign. That’s important in what will be a very short election cycle in the middle of the holidays. He has also already represented a third of the district and has good name recognition after a run for Congress. He ruffled some conservatives, including me, in that congressional primary, but I have little doubt that he would make a great senator.
Also this week, Ozaukee County Board Chairman Lee Schlenvogt entered the race. I don’t know Schlenvogt, so some more homework will be required.
Just today, we hear that Ralph Prescott is also running. Prescott is a familiar name in the district because the Prescott family successfully grew a grocery store business and is well-known for being great corporate partners in the community. Prescott is coming off of a primary loss in a run for the 59th Assembly district – one of the three that make up the 20th Senate district. He has served on the Calumet County board and touts his conservative principles. While I don’t know this Prescott’s specific financial situation, I have to believe that he is in a position to also self-finance a good chunk of a campaign just like Stroebel. The fact that he just lost the primary to a political unknown (granted, a political unknown who really worked his tail off in the campaign) would throw some doubt on Prescott’s ability to win a lot of support in a district three times the size of the district he just lost in.
As of now, I think Stroebel is still the clear leader in this race and the guy to beat. We may see a few more names come up in the next couple of weeks. What is great is that the voters of the 20th Senate District are going to have solid group of conservative candidates from which to choose. It is also great for the voters of the 20th that with a more conservative Republican caucus in the state senate, the senator from the 20th – hailing from the reddest district in the state – will certainly be immediately viewed as a leader in the senate.
This will be a fun race to follow. Be sure to tune into B&S!