With Sheila Harsdorf’s appointment to DATCP secretary official, speculation in the Capitol has turned to whether any other lawmakers will head to the administration this session.
Two of the most likely candidates mentioned are Sen. Frank Lasee, R-Green Bay, and Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi.
Lasee’s interest in a career outside the Capitol has been an open secret for months, while Ripp was viewed as a candidate for secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection before Harsdorf got the job.
Still, insiders believe several factors could go into whether they land administration jobs, including timing and fit.
Ripp said in a brief interview this week he’s focused on his legislative responsibilities.
“I haven’t had that phone call, and I’m focused on getting legislation done this session,” Ripp said when asked if he’s been considered for an appointment.
One factor insiders are watching is the possibility of a special election to fill another legislative seat if Gov. Scott Walker taps another lawmaker for his administration. Special elections are already scheduled for Jan. 16 for two open Assembly seats, and it’s expected the guv will try to schedule a special election for Harsdorf’s Senate seat the same day. That would mean having nomination papers in for that Senate race by Nov. 21, just 11 days away.
To have the special election for another vacancy match up with those elections, the order would have to be issued by the middle of next week at the latest, and it would leave a narrow window to circulate nomination papers.
What’s more, insiders point out with the Assembly and Senate only in for a few days each during the first months of 2018, it might make more sense to wait until the Legislature adjourns. That would negate the need for a special election ahead of the fall. Or the guv could elect to leave a seat vacant until the fall election.