Gov. Walker Wants to Change the Law So the GOP Can Avoid Losing a Special Election

The hammerheaded governor of Wisconsin won’t let an adverse court decision thwart him. He’ll just change the law the judge was applying! Photo: Andy Manis/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is nothing if not consistent. He refused to call two legislative special elections – to fill vacancies his own appointments created – because he didn’t want to risk the kind of embarrassing Democratic wins and near-wins that have been happening all over the country since Donald Trump took office. A state judge – one that Walker himself appointed, as it happens – told him the law required that he hold these election because otherwise the citizens in the affected districts would be denied representation.

So how are Walker and the state GOP responding? They’re trying to change the law on which the judge based her decision. And this isn’t just a recommendation, either, as TPM reports:

Republican legislative leaders in Wisconsin called lawmakers back to the Capitol Friday afternoon to change state law governing special elections ….

“It’s clear that little thought was given to the impact of the special elections ruling,” Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement, saying an extraordinary session of the legislature was necessary to “clean up” the statute on special elections.

“In essence, there will be two elections occurring simultaneously for the two offices,” the statement continued. “It will undoubtedly lead to voter confusion and electoral chaos. Also, holding the special elections after the conclusion of the regular session is a waste of taxpayer dollars and local government resources.”

There’s nothing in this particular critique of special elections that isn’t true of all special elections. Yet somehow it’s these special elections that are so objectionable that a special legislative session – which might also represent a “waste of taxpayer dollars”– is necessary.

Unsurprisingly, Wisconsin Democrats are going ballistic over this maneuver, calling it (among other things) a “clear attack on democracy.” But Scott Walker has always been impervious to this sort of criticism, and like a hammerhead shark, determined to continue his course of action, no matter what. Only the voters can deter him.

Walker Wants Special Session to Avoid Special Elections