Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has had quite the duel with his state’s judicial system in recent days. First he dragged his feet in calling general elections to fill two legislative vacancies that he created by appointments. When a state judge told him to do his job and call the elections, Walker then threatened to call a special session of the legislature to get the underlying law changed. But after failing to get an extension of state circuit court judge Josann Reynolds’ order for long enough to get the legislature back to Madison, Walker chose not to risk a contempt charge. He’s scheduling special elections in the two districts (one for the Senate, one for the Assembly) for June 12, with primaries on May 15.
The not-so-hidden motive for all this chicanery was the fear that Democrats might pull an upset, or at least over-perform expectations, in one or both of the districts. And for a hammer-headed pol like Walker in a hyper-polarized state like Wisconsin, leaving a couple of hundred thousand people without representation for a year was small potatoes compared to the terrible possibility of his enemies being emboldened in the run-up to the governor’s own reelection bid in November.
For now, though, Scott Walker has chosen the path of strategic retreat. But it’s just a matter of time before his next act of partisan provocation. That’s how he rolls.