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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

 12:49 PM 

Senate Dems elect Shilling leader, Hansen assistant leader

The Senate Democratic caucus today elected Sen. Jennifer Shilling as minority leader and re-elected Sen. Dave Hansen assistant leader.

Shilling, D-La Crosse, ran unopposed after Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, announced yesterday he wouldn't seek re-election and threw his support behind Shilling.

Hansen, D-Green Bay, was also unopposed, as was Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, who was re-elected caucus chair, and Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, who was re-elected caucus vice chair.

--By David Wise

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 4:17 PM 

Barca re-elected minority leader

Assembly Dems this afternoon re-elected Peter Barca of Kenosha to serve as minority leader in the upcoming session.

Barca defeated Evan Goyke of Milwaukee to retain the post. Goyke told the caucus Dems need to convey more substantive and more innovative ideas despite "obstacles beyond our control."

"We are not victims," Goyke said.

Rep. Chris Danou, who nominated Goyke, was more blunt, saying, "We are in a results-oriented business, and I think the results speak for themselves."

"It is time for a new generation to take up the leadership mantle," said Danou, D-Trempealeau.

Barca told the caucus the next two successive elections -- one in a presidential year, the other with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on the ballot -- would be better for the party, noting the "headwinds" facing Dems both at the top of the ticket and nationally.

He also said vulnerable members met their goals for resources and outreach, and that each of the three Dem incumbents to lose out-performed the top of the ticket.

"If our candidates that just ran did poorly and the rest of the ticket did well, I wouldn't even ask for your vote,” Barca said.

Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, said in nominating Barca that he had "never in my life met a person with more energy, more tenacity, more knowhow and ability."

"Now is not the time for inexperienced hands on the wheel,” Wachs said.

- By Staff

 9:12 AM 

Larson drops out of Senate Dem leadership race, backs Shilling

Sen. Chris Larson posted to his Facebook page this morning that he will not seek re-election as minority leader and is instead backing Sen. Jennifer Shilling.

Shilling, D-La Crosse, announced last week she was considering a bid for the post after Senate Dems lost a seat in last week's elections.

"I called Jen Shilling last night to let her know I would be voting for her and would be encouraging my supporters to unite behind her as well," Larson wrote. "I hope for a united caucus as we prepare to take on the incredible threat ahead. We will do well under her guidance and leadership. I will also be focusing more on helping our community and continuing to serve my neighbors in the 7th senate district."

Senate Dems meet tomorrow to elect caucus leaders for the next session.

Monday, November 10, 2014

 1:15 PM 

Knodl elected assistant majority leader

Rep. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, will serve as assistant Assembly majority leader in the next session after defeating Mark Born of Beaver Dam and Dave Murphy of Greenville.

Knodl was elected on the first ballot; he also served in the post in the 2011 session. Newly elected Majority Leader Jim Steineke served in the position in current session.

 12:42 PM 

Steineke chosen as majority leader; Vos re-elected speaker

The Assembly GOP caucus today elected Rep. Jim Steineke as majority leader.

Steineke, R-Kaukauna and the current assistant majority leader, won on the first ballot over Reps. Joan Ballweg of Markesan and Andre Jacque of De Pere.

The caucus also re-elected Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and Speaker Pro Tempore Tyler August of Lake Geneva by unanimous consent.

Friday, November 7, 2014

 3:28 PM 

Larson to seek re-election as Senate minority leader

Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson today asked his colleagues to re-elect him as leader of the Dem caucus for the next legislative session.

Larson, D-Milwaukee, wrote in a letter to Dem members that Tuesday's "frustrating" election saw "obscene amounts of Republican special interest spending, redistricting, and a national GOP tidal wave left most of our candidates short of victory."

"Given this, now more than ever, Senate Democrats need to be unified in working together to restore balance and common-sense solutions to our state," Larson wrote.

Larson vows to "work to ensure that each of you plays a key role in restoring Wisconsin’s values and priorities," and says the caucus "will need to be strategic in collectively reinforcing our Democratic message and priorities in communities throughout the state over the next two years."

Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, earlier this week indicated she's mulling a bid for the position after the Senate GOP majority grew to 19-14 on Election Day.

 3:10 PM 

Barca will run for re-election to minority leader

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, will run for re-election Tuesday to his post, a spokeswoman said.

That sets up a contested race with freshman Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, to lead the caucus, which will vote Tuesday on leadership.

 2:57 PM 

Goyke announces bid for Assembly minority leader

Freshman state Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, announced today he will run for minority leader, a post now held by Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.

"Democrats in the Assembly need a new voice. I'm stepping up to be that person," Goyke said in an interview.

Asembly Dems caucus on Tuesday for leadership elections.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

 2:56 PM 

Senate Republicans retain Fitzgerald as leader, elect Lazich president

Senate Republicans have selected their leadership slate for the upcoming session, retaining Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, as majority leader and elevating Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, to Senate president.

They also selected Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, as president pro tem and Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee, as assistant majority leader.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

 3:15 PM 

Shilling opens door to run for Senate minority leader

State Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, indicated today she is weighing a bid for minority leader.

“Middle class families need an effective voice and strong leadership to represent their values, strengthen our communities and move Wisconsin forward," Shilling said. "Everyone in our state deserves the opportunity to get ahead and we need to find new ways to promote economic growth and prosperity from the ground up. As we look to the future, I will continue to reach out and talk with my colleagues to determine how Senate Democrats can be most effective in advocating for Wisconsin families.”

Shilling did not mention Minority Leader Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, in her statement. But there have been questions on whether he would face a challenge after Dems lost a seat in yesterday's elections and will come back in a 19-14 majority next session.

Senate Dems will caucus Nov. 12.

-- By JR Ross

 10:57 AM 

Jacque, Steineke officially in for Assembly majority leader

State Reps. Andre Jacque, R-DePere, and Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, have officially asked their colleagues for support in running for majority leader.

Steineke, the assistant majority leader, noted in an email to colleagues this morning that he led the Assembly GOP effort to back top candidates, an operation dubbed "leggiepalooza."

"This work has provided me with invaluable insight into the variety of issues that affect our districts," he wrote. "While we are all citizens of the same state, our districts can be very different. We need to craft our legislation and our message with those differences in mind."

Jacque said in a short interview he has spent the past 70 days helping colleagues seek Assembly seats and is now looking to take a greater leadership role. His efforts include donating to a number of his fellow GOP candidates, according to his campaign finance reports.

"I’m not going to be outworked," he said.

-- By JR Ross

 10:44 AM 

Ballweg to run for Assembly majority leader

Rep. Joan Ballweg announced this morning she will run for majority leader in the Assembly in what could be a three-way race.

The post is open after Republicans elected the retiring Pat Strachota, R-West Bend, to the the job earlier this year after they dumped Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, over allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Assistant Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, is also expected to run for the job, as is Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, according to multiple sources.

Ballweg, R-Markesan, currently serves as caucus chair.

Assembly Republicans will hold leadership elections during a Monday caucus.

-- By JR Ross

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