In a victory for democracy, Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker finally agreed to call special elections on Thursday for two state legislative seats that have been vacant since December. Walker had tried leaving these seats empty until the regular November elections solely because Republicans were worried Democrats could win them. This would have meant these voters would have gone without representation for nearly a year. However, a state judge recently ordered Walker to call the special elections by Thursday as required by state law.
Walker and Republicans didn’t react well to the court’s initial ruling. Instead of calling the elections, they decided to call a special legislative session to change the law governing special elections in order to nullify the court’s order. However, Republicans have now dropped those plans, after both the circuit and appellate courts declined—in scathing terms—to extend Thursday’s deadline and give Republicans more time enact their nullification plans.
Consequently, the elections for these vacant state Senate and state Assembly seats will now proceed, with primaries on May 15 and general elections on June 12. Though both districts (SD-01 and AD-42) were carried by Trump, Democrats flipped a Senate seat that was just as red in January, so they have a real chance to flip a two more.