The Statewide Royal Rumble

Like pro wrestlers in an elimination match, the field for state treasurer and secretary of state keeps changing, with some contenders entering, others going over the ropes.

The race for Secretary of State is particularly interesting. The field started out with five GOP challengers for 36-year Democrat incumbent Doug La Follette. From the start we called Julian Bradley the frontrunner. Early in the campaign Fond du Lac Republican Party treasurer Rohn Bishop bowed out, endorsing Bradley.

Bradley went on to win three straw polls and the state GOP endorsement with 65 percent of the vote, the first time a candidate has ever won the needed 60 percent to be endorsed on the first round of voting.

Jay Schroeder was the next over the rope. The pro-elimination candidate dropped out to pursue a legislative seat.

Bill Folk, Republican from Racine, dropped out of the race several days ago as the deadline to submit 2,000 nomination signatures approached. Retiring Rep. Garey Bies, who is still in the race and turned in enough signatures to get on the ballot, got about 15 percent at convention, as did Folk.

While Bies has a long record in the state legislature and a stash of leftover campaign funds, his campaign for SOS is best described as one last hurrah capping off a good career, a way to exhaust those campaign funds while fighting the good fight.

Though the race’s primary has been reduced to two, Bradley is still the frontrunner, and he’s the candidate who represents the future of the GOP in Wisconsin.

The race for treasurer has also been in tumult. After receiving slightly less than 50 percent of the vote at the state GOP endorsement, state treasurer candidate Scott Feldt decided to bow out last month. Entering the field though is Brookfield Republican Randall Melchert, a well-known activist who burst into the race with fury by collecting more than the required number of signatures in just days.

Matt Adamczyk, a staffer for Rep. Tyler August, is also running for treasurer on the “eliminate the office” platform, the same one that current treasurer Kurt Schuller ran on that, after failing to achieve the goal, compelled the incumbent to decline seeking re-election in this cycle.

With a slate of Democrats running against Republican Brad Schimel for AG, Brett Hulsey’s bizarre candidacy against Mary Burke, and various other opportunities for intrigue prior to the August 12 primaries, it’s doubtful the last contender in the elimination match for statewide office has gone over the ropes.

About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.