WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW/AP) -- Special election dates still haven't been re-announced after the first set of dates was cancelled following Republican representative Sean Duffy stepping down September 23. Here's the current lineup of candidates who have announced campaigns in the district:
Sen. Tom Tiffany, (R)
The Minocqua state senator has served as the senator for the state's 12th district since 2012, and previously served one term as state representative for the 35th Assembly district. He's been endorsed by former Republican governors Scott Walker and Tommy Thompson, as well as multiple sitting Republican legislators.
Jason Church, (R)
The former combat Army veteran was promoted to captain before medically retiring and going on to earn his law degree from Wisconsin Law School. He has served as a counsel for Republican senator Ron Johnson, according to his Linkedin page. Church, who is a purple heart recipient, was raised in Menomonie and currently lives in Hudson.
Michael Opela, (R)
The Edgar hobby farmer has worked a number of careers, according to his campaign Facebook page, including management, general contracting, structural engineering, and business ownership. He was the third Republican to announce his run for the vacant 7th Congressional seat.
Tricia Zunker, (D)
Currently serving as president on the Wausau School Board, Zunker announced her candidacy on Monday. She also serves as an associate justice on the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court, and would be the first native American woman to represent Wisconsin in Congress if elected. She teaches law remotely at three different institutions, and is currently the only candidate to hail from Wausau, the largest city in the district.
Lawrence Dale, (D)
A 2014 Green Party candidate for the 7th Congressional District and 2016 candidate for the state Assembly, Dale currently lives in Michigan but sells health insurance in northern Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press. The Vietnam veteran also announced his candidacy on Monday in Madison, which is outside the district.
Any candidate winning the seat in the Spring would have more or less than half a year before needing to compete for the seat a second time in the November general election. Click here for a complete breakdown of how timing could impact the race.
The race will serve as a barometer in a deeply Republican district months before the November 2020 presidential election. Trump won Wisconsin by less than a point in 2016, but he carried the 7th District by 20 points.
Wisconsin’s sprawling 7th District covers all or part of 20 northern and northwestern Wisconsin counties, and it is the state’s largest congressional district geographically. The district was made more favorable for Republicans following redistricting, and it has also grown more conservative.
In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney carried the district with 51% of the vote, compared with 48% that went to then-President Barack Obama. In 2016, Trump won it by 57% to 37% over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Wisconsin’s governor is considering holding the special election primary on either Feb. 4 or Feb. 18, with the general election on either April 7 or May 5.