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Chippewa Falls Republican goes Independent

It's been 62 years since voters elected a third-party candidate to the Wisconsin Legislature.

It looks like it will happen in November, after Rep. Jeff Wood, R-Chippewa Falls, announced Tuesday he'll run as an Independent.

No Democrat filed for the seat by the deadline and the only other candidate is Libertarian Andrew McKenzie of Chippewa Falls.

Wood, a six-year incumbent, said he had enough of the GOP because it no longer stands for lower taxes and less government.

Wood, 38, has not always marched in lockstep with Republican Assembly leaders.

Among other things, he supported making the morning-after pill available to hospitalized rape victims.

While traveling abroad, Wood said he saw how much America's reputation has declined and he blames Republicans.

Other reports said Wood's independence cost him some plum committee assignments, but Speaker Mike Huebsch denied that.

He said Wood was one of the most independent members of the GOP caucus and he's proving it now.

In 1969, GOP state Rep. Jerry Wing became an independent after his election but he failed to win a second term.

The last third party candidate to win a legislative seat was a Progressive in 1946.