GOV TONY EVERS (copy) (copy)

Gov. Tony Evers during an interview with Paul Fanlund, Cap Times Editor and Jessie Opoien, Cap Times Opinion Editor, at the State Capitol in Madison, on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. PHOTO BY MICHELLE STOCKER

Gov. Tony Evers has rescheduled the special election to replace former Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy after realizing he initially violated federal law when he first called it.

The special election in the northern 7th Congressional District is now set for May 12, more than three months after its original date of Jan. 27. The primary is scheduled for Feb. 18, the same day as the regularly scheduled spring primary. 

Evers first scheduled the primary for Dec. 30, meaning there wasn't enough time between that date and the originally scheduled general of Jan. 27 to accommodate overseas military voters under federal law. 

The new dates continue to avoid the spring general election of April 7, when voters will weigh in on the Democratic presidential primary and state Supreme Court race. 

The state Republican Party slammed the decision to not line up the general elections, which Executive Director Mark Jefferson said in a statement is "an effort to stack the deck for his liberal partisan Supreme Court candidates."

Evers' office previously told media outlets he couldn't align the special primary and general with the spring elections because the state wouldn't be able to follow the timeline required by federal law for national officials. 

Duffy left the seat Sept. 23 ahead of the birth of his ninth child, who was born at the end of September

Running for the seat are Republicans state Sen. Tom Tiffany of Minocqua, Jason Church, a retired Army officer, and hobby farmer Michael Opela, Sr. 

Democratic candidates include Wausau School Board President Tricia Zunker  and Lawrence Dale, a businessman who currently lives in Michigan. 

Evers in his announcement Friday called on lawmakers to pass a bill that would require the state Elections Commission to reimburse local governments for certain special elections-related costs. It cleared the state Senate with unanimous support earlier this month. 

A commission spokesman said staff haven't compiled any expected costs that would be born by local elections officials for the 7th CD special and currently aren't planning on doing so. 

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