MBS Capitol Insights – June 7, 2024

June 7, 2024 | NewsNewsletter


In this update:

  • ‘Meet the Cabinet’ Recap
  • Election Updates
  • Administration Updates

‘Meet the Cabinet’ Recap

DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek featured guest at MBS luncheon

Michael Best Strategies hosted Department of Workforce Development Secretary Amy Pechacek at the Madison Office on Tuesday as a part of our ‘Meet the Cabinet’ series. Sec. Pechacek met with clients, answered questions, and spoke about current events within her agency. Sec. Pechacek was appointed Wisconsin’s DWD Secretary in September 2020.

Election Updates

State Assembly and Senate

Schutt announces she is not seeking re-election

Representative Ellen Schutt (R-Clinton) announced last week that she will not seek re-election. Her announcement avoids the need for a primary between her and Assembly Majority Leader Rep. Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva). Schutt joins 26 other incumbent lawmakers in not seeking re-election to their current office in 2024. The majority of Rep. August’s previous district is in the new 31st AD, so he will be seeking re-election in that district instead of the 32nd AD.

“This was not an easy decision to make but one that was made with thoughtful consideration and conversations with my family, friends and neighbors,” Rep. Schutt said. “I want my constituents to know that I will continue to advocate for them and their needs. I know that I can, and will, still make a difference for our community in other ways.”

State Assembly and Senate election filings

Nomination papers for state and federal candidates to obtain ballot access were due on June 3 at 5 PM with challenges to signatures due on June 6. The Wisconsin Elections Commission will hold a ballot access meeting on Monday, June 10 to make a final determination on which candidates are eligible to be listed on ballots for the 2024 partisan elections. Items of note from the recent candidate filings include:

Assembly and Senate Candidates

  • All 99 Assembly districts are up for election. Democrats have candidates running in 97 of the districts while Republicans have candidates in 84 of the districts.
  • 16 of the 33 State Senate districts are up for election in 2024. Democrats have candidates in all 16 races, while Republicans have candidates in 11 of 16 races.


  • 11 incumbents in the state legislature are either unopposed or do not have a major-party opponent.
    • Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee)
    • Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison)
    • Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie)
    • Rep. Darrin Madison (D-Milwaukee)
    • Rep. Kalan Haywood (D-Milwaukee)
    • Rep. Supreme Moore Omokunde (D-Milwaukee)
    • Rep. Clinton Anderson (D-Beloit)
    • Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine)
    • Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison)
    • Rep. Francesca Hong (D-Madison)
    • Rep. Alex Joers (D-Middleton)
  • In the Assembly, 22 GOP incumbents have primary opponents compared to 4 Democratic incumbents.
    • Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay)
    • Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay)
    • Rep. Peter Schmidt (R-Bonduel)
    • Rep. Elijah Behnke (R-Oconto)
    • Rep. Tom Michalski (R-Elm Grove)
    • Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls)
    • Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc)
    • Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)
    • Rep. Calvin Callahan (R-Tripoli)
    • Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam)
    • Rep. Scott Johnson (R-Jefferson)
    • Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh)
    • Rep. Nate Gustafson (R-Neenah)
    • Rep. Kevin Petersen (R-Waupaca)
    • Rep. Bob Donovan (R-Greenfield)
    • Rep. David Armstrong (R-Rice Lake)
    • Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer)
    • Rep. Karen Hurd (R-Thorp)
    • Rep. Chanz Green (R-Mason)
    • Rep. Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield)
    • Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield)
    • Rep. Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc)
    • Rep. Ortiz-Velez (D-Milwaukee)
    • Rep. Ryan Clancy (D-Milwaukee)
    • Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison)
    • Rep. Mike Bare (D-Verona)
  • 27 incumbent lawmakers will not return to their current office for the 2025-26 Legislative Session.
  • The list includes 13 Assembly Democrats and 10 Assembly Republicans. Meanwhile in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans each have two incumbents who will not be returning next session.

See the full list of candidates from Michael Best here: Wisconsin Elections Hub 2024 – Michael Best Strategies

U.S. Senate

Cook Political Report releases US Senate poll

Cook Political Report and GS Strategy Group released a new poll finding U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) with a lead on GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde. Among registered voters in Wisconsin, 49% backed Sen. Baldwin, giving her a 12-point lead over Hovde at 37%. The survey consisted of 503 likely Wisconsin voters and was conducted May 6-13 using text to web and online panel methodologies. The margin of error was +/- 4.4 percentage points. FiveThirtyEight rates GS Strategy Group 1.5 stars out of 3.

AFP launches new ad

Americans for Prosperity Action launched a new ad campaign supporting GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde while knocking U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) for being a career politician. The campaign includes two ads that will run statewide on digital, online, and streaming TV. Hovde and Sen. Baldwin each get a dedicated ad with 15-secon and 30-second versions. The Hovde ad says he brings people together while the Sen. Baldwin ad says her record includes high costs and being a “rubber stamp for Biden-Harris” regarding the border.

Watch the pro-Hovde 30-second ad here.

Watch the pro-Hovde 15-second ad here.

Watch the anti-Baldwin 30-second ad here.

Watch the anti-Baldwin 15-second ad here.

U.S. House of Representatives

Congressional election filings

Candidates seeking federal elected office in Wisconsin were required to submit their 2,000 valid nomination signatures by June 3 to gain ballot access. Each of the seven incumbent members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation drew an opponent this year with Democrats and Republicans fielding candidates in every congressional district. See the full list of candidates here.

1st CD Race

Santos ends campaign to support Barca

1st Congressional district candidate Lorenzo Santos (D-Racine) suspended his campaign and endorsed Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) in his race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville). In his press release, Santos thanked his supporters and encouraged them to vote for Barca. Barca still faces Diane Anderson (D-Racine) in August Primary to determine the Democratic nominee.

Administration Updates

Evers appoints three UW regents, Regent Atwell resigns

Governor Tony Evers (D) appointed three regents to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents: Tim Nixon, Jack Salzwedel, and Desmond Adongo. Nixon is a commercial lawyer at Godfrey & Kahn and fills the vacancy left by Regent Bob Atwell. Salzwedel is the former chair and CEO of American Family Mutual Insurance Company, and he fills Regent Mike Jones’ vacancy. Adongo is a student at UW-Oshkosh studying environmental science and economics. He fills Regent Jennifer Staton’s vacancy. “Our UW System is at a critical juncture after a decade-long war waged on higher education by Republican lawmakers in our state, the devastating results of which we are seeing firsthand as campuses close their doors, layoff staff, and cut programs,” said Gov. Evers.

GOP appointed UW Regent Bob Atwell resigned for his position with an immediate effective date. Last week, Bob Atwell said he was going to follow Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ (R-Rochester) advice to serve until a successor is appointed and confirmed. The announcement last week was met with criticism including Governor Tony Evers. In an email to UW President Jay Rothman, Board President Karen Walsh, and others, he said his reasons for staying on the board were clearly expressed, “but I certainly left room for people to assume I was planning to reenact the scenario playing out on the DNR board.” The reference was to Wausau dentist Fred Prehn who refused to step down from his position on the Natural Resources Board to block Gov. Evers’ appointment from taking the post and keeping former Governor Scott Walker’s (R) picks on the board.

In 2022, the state Supreme Court ruled that political appointees are not required to vacate their posts until the Senate confirms a successor. Now, Atwell’s decision to resign allows Nixon to attend and participate in the meeting in Milwaukee to select a new president and vice president.

AG Kaul files charges against Troupis, Chesebro, Roman

Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) filed charges against attorneys Jim Troupis and Kenneth Chesebro, and former Donald Trump campaign aide Michael Roman, regarding the 2020 fake elector scheme in Wisconsin. AG Kaul filed a class H felony against all three in the Dane County Circuit Court, and their initial appearance is scheduled for September 19th. In 2020, Troupis and Chesebro were included in the legal team that advised Wisconsin’s ten Republican electors to meet and cast their votes for former President Donald Trump despite Joe Biden winning the state. Roman was indicted in the Georgia election interference case and has been connected to other states with similar happenings. If they are found guilty, they would face up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The indictment includes details on Troupis and Chesebro allegedly driving the effort for Republicans to submit an alternate slate of electors in order to stall Biden’s victory or upend the certification of the official results to swing the election to Trump. The efforts include creating certificates for false electors. communication with Trump aides and GOP officials, and weaponizing the Electoral County Act.

AG Kaul defended his investigation’s pace but did not say specifics on why he filed and whether there will be more charges in a press conference. He reiterated it was an ongoing investigation, and his agency were following the facts. “Our focus in any investigation, in any prosecution, is not on the speed with which something is done,” AG Kaul said. “It’s on doing high-quality investigations, conducting high-quality prosecutions and getting things right.”

Governor Tony Evers (D) released his response to the charges, and it simply read, “Good.” Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) posted on X, “Now Democrats are weaponizing Wisconsin’s judiciary. Apparently conservative lawyers advising clients is illegal under Democrat tyranny. Democrats are turning America into a banana republic.”

Superintendent Underly nominates Novak as director of the Wisconsin Reading Center

State Superintendent Jill Underly nominated Dr. Barb Novak as director of the Office of Literacy. The position was created under Wisconsin Act 20, the state’s new literacy law, and she must be approved “with the advice and consent” of the state Senate. Dr. Novak has over 20-years of reading and literacy experience such as a reading teacher, literacy coach, and more than a decade serving at the Department of Public Instruction.

“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Office of Literacy and to help our school districts improve reading instruction across the state,” Dr. Novak said. “Ensuring every child can read by the end of third grade is, undoubtedly, one of a school’s most critical responsibilities.”

Evergreen Collaborative announces ad campaign featuring Evers

The Evergreen Collaborative, a political action committee whose mission is to “put bold climate action at the top of America’s agenda” announced an ad campaign in Wisconsin with Governor Tony Evers (D). The governor touts the Inflation Reduction Act, saying morning light is “powerful, and now it’s set to energize over 750,000 Wisconsin homes.” The ad will run in the Milwaukee market.

Watch the ad here.

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