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What a Day in Wisconsin Politics

by Jerry Bader

There were seismic shifts in the Wisconsin political landscape Friday, involving a State Senate race and a U.S. House Race. To the surprise of few, State Senate President Mike Ellis announced he would not seek re-election. As I had reported, there were numerous meetings Thursday, the goal of which was to see Ellis retire after two embarrassing videos were released this week. The Ellis announced has prompted potential candidates for the Republican nomination for his seat to announce they are considering a run. They include former Representative Roger Roth and Representative Dave Murphy.

Less expected, but not shocking, was the announcement by Tom Petri that he'll not seek re-election. Petri was said to be rattled by the prospect of a primary challenge and a source told me earlier this week that it was becoming increasingly unlikely Petri would run. State Senator Glenn Grothman has already announced in the 6th CD. State Representative Duey Stroebel will likely get in now that Petri is out.

Stroebel was going to get in, it seemed, when Grothman surprised everybody by jumping in. State Senator Joe Leibham of Sheboygan announced this afternoon he is considering a run. A run is high risk for Stroebel and Leibham, who'd have to give up their current Assembly and Senate seats respectively.

And there are no strong Republican names in the 9th State Senate district to run if Leibham doesn't. But it was widely believed Leibham had been waiting for a Petri retirement, which many expected would come in 2016. If it's something Leibham wants, he'll need to get in now. It could be decades before he gets another chance. The campaign landscape in Eastern Wisconsin just got very interesting.