A state representative who didn’t have the support of his party leadership and a Lodi town board member who did have support won the Republican nominations in two special legislative primaries Tuesday.
State Rep. Andre Jacque defeated Alex Renard in the 1st Senate District primary, which includes the Door County peninsula. He will face Democrat Caleb Frostman in the June 12 general election.
If Jacque wins the seat, Republicans would hold a three-vote margin in the Senate should it convene again to vote this year. If Frostman wins, the margin would be down to two votes. The Legislature is not scheduled to reconvene until next year.
Jacque is one of the Assembly’s most conservative members. Renard, the operations manager at his family’s Green Bay machine shop, had pledged to work for free this year if elected.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, of Kaukauna, and Joint Finance Committee co-chairman John Nygren, of Marinette, had backed Renard.
As of May 1, Renard had raised $146,560, which includes a $75,000 personal loan, and had spent $112,700, according to recently filed campaign finance reports. Jacque had raised $52,290, which includes a $15,000 personal loan, and had spent $27,935.
Jon Plumer, a karate school owner who received hefty financial backing from Assembly Republicans, bested three other Republican contenders — Colleen Locke-Murphy, Darren Schroeder and Spencer Zimmerman. He faces Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd on June 12 for a south-central Wisconsin Assembly seat that includes part of Dane County.
Plumer raised $43,679 — $16,600 of which came from 24 Republican Assembly lawmakers’ campaigns.
The winner of both special elections will stand for re-election in November.
The seats came open last year when Gov. Scott Walker appointed Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi, to his administration.
Walker resisted calls from Democrats to call the special elections, saying they were a waste of money and redundant, even though initially they could have been held concurrently with the spring election. He finally called the elections as required by law in late March after three judges ordered him to do so.