Wisconsin GOP Chair Andrew Hitt, who took over the state party as it was reeling from the losses of the 2018 cycle, is stepping down from the post to spend more time with his family.
Hitt, 43, was re-elected as chair last fall shortly after the November election amid Donald Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to overturn Wisconsin’s election results.
Party rules require officer elections by 45 days after an election in even-numbered years, and Hitt told WisPolitics.com that was no time to step aside. But as 2021 wore on, it became clear his family needed a change. His daughter is entering middle school, while one son is 10 and the other will soon turn 7.
The decision to leave crystallized when the family was on vacation last week, he said.
“This is a volunteer job. You can only do two full-time jobs for so long,” Hitt said. “When you’re being stretched, there’s only so much time in the day.”
Hitt was first elected chair in April 2019 to fill out the remainder of Brad Courtney’s term. Courtney agreed to stay on as chair on an interim basis as the party initiated a postmortem on the 2018 election cycle that found it was too reliant on consultants and had lost touch with grassroots activists. Hitt was first vice-chair at the time.
The report also detailed the party’s financial troubles, and Hitt said that was one of the issues he’s addressed as chair.
The party finished June with just over $1.2 million in its federal and state accounts. Still, the state Dem Party had a 6-to-1 advantage for cash on hand, and the state GOP announced in late October hackers stole $2.3 million. It has since recovered $943,810 through insurance and BMO Harris Bank’s Fraud Department in coordination with law enforcement.
Hitt said he addressed the other issues that were outlined in the postmortem and the party has re-engaged with the grassroots, adding “I kind of am sort of the fixer guy.”
Hitt said he plans to stay in the position until the party’s executive committee selects a replacement. The next planned committee meeting is Sept. 11, though Hitt noted it can meet with 10 days notice. He expects the committee to coalesce around a single candidate before picking his replacement. He mentioned First Vice-chair Gerard Randall, at-large member Brian Schimming and Finance Chair Paul Farrow as among those who could lead the party going forward.
“I think now is the time for someone who’s steeped in the political campaigns and is experienced in those types of things to come in and step in and be a great leader,” Hitt said.
See a state GOP overview of Hitt’s term.