Residents of Wisconsin’s 42nd Assembly District will vote Tuesday in a special election. The two candidates running are Republican Jon Plumer and Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd. The winner will replace former Rep. Keith Ripp, a Lodi Republican, who left office at the end of last year when Gov. Scott Walker appointed him to a post in the state agriculture department.
The 42nd District includes Columbus, Fox Lake, Lodi and Waupun.
There will be a regular election in the district again in November.
Jon Plumer is a town of Lodi supervisor and was recently elected to the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. Plumer is also the past president of the Lodi and Lake Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. He owns a chain of karate studios.
Even though he serves as an elected official, Plumer doesn’t like to be described a politician. He calls himself a man who drove a truck for 30 years, who now owns seven karate studios.
Ann Grove Lloyd has a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked as an academic adviser, director of career services, associate dean for Student Academic Affairs in the College of Letters & Science and senior director of campus outreach at the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
Lloyd traces her roots in southcentral Wisconsin to the early 19th century. Recently when Wisconsin celebrated its 170th anniversary, she said that the Groves family had “settled down on our family farm” well before 1848.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Since it's unlikely the Legislature will do much work between now and the beginning of the next session in January, the winner of Tuesday's election will have little opportunity to influence the direction of the Assembly or any committees. Even if Lloyd wins, the Republicans will still hold a 63-36 advantage.
However, the race offers an opportunity for voters to gauge the state’s mood months before the November midterms. This past April, left-leaning Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet defeated her Republican-backed opponent by 12 points. In January, Democrat Patty Schachtner won a state Senate special election in a northwest Wisconsin district that President Donald Trump won by 17 points in 2016. This has led to predictions of a “blue wave” by Wisconsin Democrats.
Dallet and Schachtner’s elections caught the attention of state Republicans. Walker advised Republicans at the annual party convention in Milwaukee last month that they should be considered “wake-up calls.”
Lloyd is continuing a trend of women running for elected office. According to an analysis by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, more than 680 women, about 70 percent Democrats, are either running or expected to run for the U.S. Senate, House, governor, lieutenant governor or other statewide elected positions this year.
This race hasn’t been without controversy. Plumer was cited for disorderly conduct after he kicked his daughter out of the house 21 years ago, when she was 18 years old. Plumer denied hurting anyone with regards to this incident, and said his daughter exaggerated the episode.
The race has also attracted national attention, and has tens of thousands of dollars being poured in by outside groups who support Democrats. Three groups have reported to have spent about $40,000 in the race so far.
ISN'T THERE ANOTHER ELECTION TUESDAY?
Wisconsin’s 1st Senate district, in northeastern Wisconsin, will also hold an election for its open seat. Like Ripp, former state Sen. Frank Lasee resigned in December to join the Walker administration. Republican state Rep. Andre Jacque will face Democrat Caleb Frostman on Tuesday.
Polls open 7 a.m and close at 8 p.m. on June 12. To find out where to go and vote, visit MyVoteWisconsin.