MADISON, Wis. — State Rep. Andre Jacque and Lodi businessman Jon Plumer won Republican primaries Tuesday in a pair of special elections for Wisconsin legislative seats.
Jacque defeated Alex Renard in a GOP primary in the 1st Senate District on Tuesday. He will face Democrat Caleb Frostman in the June 12 general election. The winner would have to run for re-election in November.
Plumer, a karate school owner from Lodi, defeated Colleen Locke-Murphy, Darren Schroeder and Spencer Zimmerman in Tuesday's primary in the 42nd Assembly District.
He'll face Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd in the June 12 general election. The winner will have to stand for re-election in November's regular elections to keep the seat
The two seats have stood vacant since December when Gov. Scott Walker appointed the Republican incumbents, Sen. Frank Lasee and Rep. Keith Ripp, to positions in his administration.
The governor had refused to schedule special elections in the districts as mandated by state law for months. It took a court order in March to force him to call the contests.
Walker's stance fueled speculation he's afraid Democrats are rallying voters angry with President Donald Trump and could flip the seats. Already this year Democrat Patty Schachtner won an traditionally Republican open state Senate seat in northwestern Wisconsin and liberal-leaning Rebecca Dallet won a spot on the state Supreme Court.
Jacque has built a reputation as one of the most conservative members of the Legislature, pursuing policy that sometimes put him at odds with caucus leaders.
Several of his Assembly colleagues, including Majority Leader Jim Steineke, had endorsed the 24-year-old Renard, an operations manager at his family's Green Bay machine shop.
Frostman served as the Door County Economic Development Corporation's executive director until he quit in late April to campaign full time. He raised $63,896 between the end of March and the end of April, according to state campaign finance reports.
The 1st Senate District stretches from the Fox Cities to the tip of the Door peninsula.
The GOP invested heavily in Plumer in the Assembly race. His campaign reports show contributions from multiple GOP Assembly incumbents, including $1,000 from Speaker Robin Vos' campaign and nearly $11,000 from the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee. He raised $43,679 in April alone.
Democratic victories in both districts won't change the balance of power in either house — Republicans control the Senate 18-14 and the Assembly 63-35 — but they would give the party two more incumbents heading into November, grab headlines and build momentum.