RACINE — The race is on for the 66th Assembly District seat, and it could end up being decided in the primary.
Cory Mason announced his resignation from his Assembly seat when he was sworn in as the mayor of Racine on Nov. 7. Following his announcement, Gov. Scott Walker declared a special election to determine who will fill Mason’s seat through January 2019.
Mason’s former aide, Greta Neubauer, a 26-year-old Racine native, was the first to enter the race on Nov. 9. Neubauer is the daughter of former state representative Jeff Neubauer and Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer.
“I am running for State Assembly because we need the next generation of leaders to stand up to the powerful special interests that buy our politicians and corrupt our democracy,” Neubauer wrote in her candidacy announcement. “Together we can enact a Green New Deal that provides living wage jobs and protects our environment.”
On Nov. 15, Racine 3rd District Alderman John Tate II announced he would also run. The 32-year-old social worker and lifelong Racine resident was elected to represent District 3 in April.
“As a social worker and an alderman for the 3rd District, I see through the eyes of my clients and constituents. And as a lifelong Racine resident, I have seen first-hand the toll that shuttered factories and right-wing attacks have taken on our county,” Tate wrote in a Facebook announcement of his candidacy. “I will fight every day to bring family-supporting jobs to our neighbors and communities.”
Both Neubauer and Tate are running as Democrats, so a primary is set to take place on Dec. 19. The general election is scheduled for Jan. 16.
Two other state Legislature special elections will be held on the same date. Senate District 10 in northwest Wisconsin will elect a successor for Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, who resigned to join Walker’s administration as his secretary of agriculture, trade and consumer protection. Assembly District 58 will elect someone to fill the late state Rep. Robert Gannon’s seat, after Gannon, R-Slinger, died on Oct. 3.
Reid Magney, the Election Commission’s public information officer, said the special election dates were set partly because of state law, which states special elections cannot be held between the February primary and the April election.
“State law is very specific on when special elections can and cannot occur,” said Magney.
Another factor was that the Wisconsin Legislature opens its spring session in early January.
“Those areas would be without a representative until the first week of April had (Walker) waited,” said Magney.
The deadline to file as a candidate with the state’s Election Commission was at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. For the 66th District, no Republican or independent contenders registered by that deadline.
Magney said there’s still time for a write-candidate to file their paperwork and be counted. Otherwise, Mason’s successor could be determined by the Dec. 19 primary.