Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker refused to schedule special elections he feared Republicans would lose. Now a judge he appointed is making him do it anyway.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has tried to avoid the fate so many other Republicans across the country have faced: devastating special election losses in previously safe red seats.
So he simply refused to schedule special elections for Republican-leaning Assembly District 42 and Senate District 1.
But on Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds ordered him to do it anyway, after voters in those districts sued him.
“To state the obvious,” Reynolds said, “if the plaintiffs have a right to vote for their representatives, they must have an election to do so.”
What makes this particularly painful for Walker is that he’s the one who appointed Reynolds in 2014.
That makes it especially difficult for Walker to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Republicans in Pennsylvania, who are now trying to impeach judges for issues elections-related rulings they don’t like.
It’s not hard to understand why Walker refused to schedule these elections. In January, Patty Schachtner became the first Democrat to win Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District in nearly two decades.
At the time, Walker said his party’s loss was a “wake up call.”
Since Trump’s election, Democrats have flipped 39 state legislative seats, many of them in districts Trump won by double digits. Republicans have even lost seats once considered so red, Democrats didn’t bother fielding candidates.
It’s happening at the federal level too. Last week, in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, which Trump won by 20 points in 2016, Democrat Conor Lamb defeated Republican Rick Saccone.
It also what happened last December in Alabama, when Doug Jones beat alleged pedophile Roy Moore for the Senate seat Jeff Sessions once held.
It’s understandable that Walker has tried to evade the same kind of humiliating loss in his state. But now he no longer has that option. Instead, he and his party will have to brace for what could be even more humiliating losses.