Oh Governor Evers, say it isn’t so, it looks like you’ve just been caught in a quid pro quo.
Here we are in the middle of a must-win Supreme Court election and now a short 90 days after being RE-elected for yet another four-year term, Wisconsin Secretary of State, Doug La Follette has just resigned.
The timing is suspect for sure because La Follette doesn’t appear to be sick or unable to fulfill the duties of his office. So was this part of a backroom deal to get Godlewski to dropout out of the US Senate race last summer and pave the way for Evers Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes to get the nomination? Remember, Godlewski was the last Democrat to drop out and waited several days after Thomas Nelson and Alex Lasry dropped out.
This suspicion has nothing to do with using the incumbent strength of the La Follette name occupying the Secretary of State office for decades. That is actually normal. What is suspect, is Evers appointing former State Treasurer and Senate Candidate, Sarah Godlewski with nearly all of 4-year term remaining.
State law says the Governor has the authority to call a special election in circumstances like this, or he could appoint a replacement. The right thing to do with so much time remaining on LaFollette’s term is call a special election. Let the voters decide who they want to fill that seat for the next 4 years. Governor Tony Evers has instead, immediately bypassed the voters and has appointed Sarah Godlewski.
This was clearly a QUID PRO QUO by fulfilling an agreement to get Godlewski to drop out of the US Senate race. This didn’t just happen. LaFollette didn’t get sick or become unable to perform his duties in such a short period of time. This was a cooked deal last fall and Republican were wise to call Evers on it. The GOP majorities have proffered a Joint Resolution calling on the Governor to call for a special election to fill this seat. Granted, the office doesn’t have many duties, but it is a statewide platform – and that is exactly how Sarah Godlewski intends to use it as she prepares to run for US Senate again in 2028.
I know the focus of the grassroots should be on the Supreme Court race for the next two weeks, rightfully so, but every Republican should be repeating what Senator Devin LeMahieu said on Friday regarding the Secretary of State vacancy that Governor Evers filled with Sarah Godlewski: This seat should be filled by a special election. The Governor has the authority under Wis. Stat. 8.50(4)(c) to call a special election to fill this seat.
Also, Wisconsin GOP Chairman, Brian Schimming, should immediately get lawyers ready. This breach of protocol by Governor Evers MUST NOT STAND.
I know Secretary of State is basically a symbolic position in Wisconsin, but it is one that is elected by the people, not an Evers Cabinet position. This also brings to bigger light the fact that Dan Knodle must win in order to keep the Senate Super Majority.
Since this will likely come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I cannot express yet another reason to bust our behinds to get Dan Kelly elected. Call your Senators and State Representatives and make your voices heard.
Here is the full text of 2023 Senate Joint Resolution 21:
2023 – 2024 LEGISLATURE
2023 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 21
March 20, 2023 – Introduced by Senators LeMahieu and Kapenga, cosponsored by
Representatives August and Vos. Referred to Committee on Senate
1Relating to: calling on the governor to call a special election to fill a vacancy in the
2Office of Secretary of State.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This joint resolution calls on the governor to call a special election to fill a
vacancy in the Office of Secretary of State.
3Whereas, Secretary of State Douglas J. La Follette resigned the Office of
4Secretary of State on March 17, 2023, thereby creating a vacancy; and
5Whereas, the Office of Secretary of State is responsible for recording official acts
6of the executive branch, affixing the state’s great seal to official documents, having
7custody of books and records of state government, maintaining and compiling
8enrolled laws and resolutions, and preserving and keeping deeds, conveyances,
9abstracts of title, and options and leases of land belonging to this state; and
10Whereas, the voters of Wisconsin expect, deserve, and are entitled to select
11their state constitutional officers, including the secretary of state; now, therefore, be
1Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That the Wisconsin
2State Legislature calls on Governor Tony Evers to exercise his powers under section
38.50 (4) (c) of the Wisconsin Statutes and call an immediate special election to fill the
4vacancy in the Office of Secretary of State.