Special election in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District to be held May 12

On May 12, Tom Tiffany (R) and Tricia Zunker (D) will face off in the special election for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Sean Duffy (R). During his daily COVID-19 briefing on April 29, Gov. Tony Evers (D) said the special election would proceed as planned.

The candidates participated in two debates over the past week, on May 1 and May 4. In both debates, the topic of the coronavirus pandemic was prominent, with the candidates disagreeing on correct responses.

Duffy, who left office in September 2019 in anticipation of the birth of a child with health complications, won his last election in 2018 by a margin of about 22 percentage points.

Before Duffy took office in 2011, former Rep. Dave Obey (D) held the 7th District seat for 42 years. Major independent observers rate the district’s regularly scheduled general election as solid Republican or safe Republican.

The 7th District includes or overlaps with six pivot counties, counties that voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016 after voting for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012: Jackson, Juneau, Forest, Lincoln, Price, and Sawyer.

The winner of the May 12 special election will serve from May 2020 to January 2021. To remain in office, he or she would need to win a partisan primary on August 11, 2020, and the district’s regular election on November 3, 2020. The filing deadline for the regular election is June 1, 2020.

Nine special elections had been called during the 116th Congress. Seven of those were called for seats in the U.S. House, and two were called for seats in the U.S. Senate.

Additional reading: