With the August 9th Primary fast approaching, Michael Best Strategies will be providing three separate updates on the Legislative Primary Elections. With this week being the second installment of the series, we will be focusing on “open seat” primaries in the State State. Next week we will provide an update on incumbent lawmakers being challenged by members of their own party.

Open Seat Primaries in the State Senate

  • Senate District 5: Two Democrats and a Republican are running to replace retiring Senator Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield). Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) spent eight years representing the 13th District in the WI State Assembly, where he led in Right to Work campaigns and worked to eliminate the Prevailing Wage law. Tom Palzewicz (D-Brookfield) is campaigning on the platform of equality in education, fairness in taxation, equity in marriage, and fairness on justice. Jessica Katzenmeyer (D-West Allis) advocates for affordable healthcare and has become a leading voice in Wisconsin on LGBTQ rights as the state’s second-ever transgender candidate to run for state office.
  • Senate District 15: Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) is running to succeed Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville). Spreitzer is the former president of the Beloit City Council and was elected as the Assembly Minority Caucus Chair in 2017 and 2019. He will face Mark Trofimchuck (R-Brodhead) in the general election.
  • Senate District 19: Two Republicans are seeking to replace Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton), who is seeking the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor. Rep. Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton) is a Family Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber and has been endorsed by several of her colleagues in the State Senate and State Assembly. Andrew Thomsen (R-Appleton) is a small business owner in the pulp and paper industry from the Fox Valley region. The winner will face Kristin Alfheim (D-Appleton), a retirement income certified professional who serves on the Appleton Common Council and the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Wisconsin.
  • Senate District 23: Three Republicans are running to succeed retiring Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls). Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona) is an Army veteran and former police chief of the Altoona Police Department. Sandra Scholz (R-Chippewa Falls) is a registered nurse and home renovator. Brian Westrate (R-Fall Creek) is the owner of a small insurance agency in Altoona and has been endorsed by former Governor Scott Walker.
  • Senate District 25: Two candidates are running to replace retiring Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Mason). Kelly Westlund (D-Ashland) is the former Northwest Regional Representative for Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) who unsuccessfully ran for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional district in 2014. She will face Romaine Quinn (R-Cameron) in the general election, who served as a State Representative between 2015 and 2021; he did not seek re-election in 2020.
  • Senate District 27: Two candidates are vying to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point). Rep. Diane Hesselbein (D-Middleton) has served in the State Assembly since 2013 and previously served on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. She is opposed by Robert Relph (R-Cross Plains), a businessman and former firefighter and basketball coach, in the general election.
  • Senate District 29: Three Republicans are campaigning to succeed retiring Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon). Brent Jacobson (R-Mosinee) is the Mayor of Mosinee, a member of the Marathon County Board, and the owner of a law practice in Central Wisconsin. Jon Kaiser (R-Ladysmith) owns an investment advisory firm and serves on the boards of the Ladysmith Community Industrial Development Corporation and the REALTORS Association of Northwest Wisconsin Political Action Committee. Cory Tomczyk (R-Mosinee) is the owner of Industrial Recyclers of Wisconsin. The winner will face Bob Look (D-Rothschild), a broadcaster and one-time candidate for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional district, in the general election.
Michael Best Strategies (Strategies) helps companies accelerate their success through a combination of strategic business consulting, lobbying, government relations, public affairs, and communications. The firm has thrived by providing a diverse team of professionals with the experience, skills, and relationships necessary to help each client achieve their goals more quickly and fully.