Now that Joe Parisi has been elected Dane County executive, another race begins: to fill his seat in the state Assembly.
"It's going to be a free-for-all," predicts Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison), who was elected last fall to replace longtime Rep. Spencer Black. "Typically, Dane County seats are well contested."
Parisi, whose district includes the east side of Madison and the towns of Monona, Blooming Grove and Dunn, cruised to victory with 70% of the vote over conservative Eileen Bruskewitz. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2004. His current two-year term began in January.
Mike Haas, a spokesman with the state Government Accountability Board, says that when a vacancy occurs in the Legislature, it's up to the governor to call a special election. But there's no specific timetable for when this must occur. Parisi says he'll urge Walker to act swiftly. Once Walker calls for an election, a primary must be held within 62 to 77 days.
Says Parisi, "At last count, I knew of eight people looking at it." Among the names floating about: legislative staffers Vicky Selkowe and Bethany Ordaz, county Supv. Patrick Miles and Planned Parenthood policy director Chris Taylor.
Dane County Supv. Dave de Felice, who is announcing this week, expects stiff competition. "Every day I hear a new name," he says. "There's a lot of pent-up demand. It's not every day there's an opening for legislative seat in Dane County."