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Republicans trade accusations in primary battle for Harsdorf's seat

Campaign-trail accusations ramped up last week between Republican Reps. Adam Jarchow and Shannon Zimmerman in the run-up for a primary in the Senate District 10 special election. File photos1 / 3
Shannon Zimmerman2 / 3
Rep. Adam Jarchow3 / 3

The gloves came off last week and an old issue resurfaced in the race to see who will be the Republican to run for Sheila Harsdorf's former Senate seat.

Reps. Adam Jarchow and Shannon Zimmerman traded blows over the airwaves in the run-up to the Dec. 19 primary election for Senate District 10, which became an open seat after Gov. Scott Walker appointed Harsdorf to lead the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Democrats John Calabrese, Patty Schachtner and Reuben Herfindahl are also headed to a primary, while Libertarian Brian Corriea sees no opposition in advance of the general election.

Jarchow took aim last week at Zimmerman's residency, an issue the freshman lawmaker first encountered during his 2016 Assembly campaign.

Zimmerman owns two Pierce County homes, one in the town of Clifton in Rep. Warren Petryk's 93rd Assembly District. He also owns a home at 429 Jefferson St. in River Falls, which lies within Assembly District 30, which he represents.

Jarchow, a Balsam Lake resident representing Assembly District 28, says Zimmerman doesn't live at the River Falls home, a claim his fellow Assembly colleague calls a lie.

"I live in the district and I've kept my promise to the constituents," Zimmerman said in reference to his pledge to move within Assembly District 30 upon winning the 2016 election.

Zimmerman's registration records, both last year and in this year's special election, list his residence as the Jefferson Street home. He said his son Nick and grandson live upstairs while he lives downstairs and "is proud to do so."

"I live in the district," he said. "Everything I do is in the district."

Zimmerman said allegations he lives at the Clifton home are politically motivated.

The town of Clifton home remains a place he said he visits and has no intention of selling for its sentimental — and geographical — value. The home sits next to the Belle Vinez winery he and his wife Angel Zimmerman own.

"It's never going to happen," he said of selling the Clifton home. "We're going to keep it for generations."

Jarchow said Zimmerman's living situation struck him as an unlikely one.

"I guess I'll let the voters decide whether he lives with his wife or lives with his son," he said.

Zimmerman responded to the residency attack by raising concerns about Jarchow's opposition to the state budget passed this fall. In voting against the budget, Jarchow was "choosing to trash the governor," Zimmerman said.

"Unlike Adam, I did not vote against Walker and his budget reforms," he added.

Zimmerman never technically cast a formal vote for the budget since he was on a flight delay in Amsterdam while returning from a business trip. He voiced his support of the budget in an Assembly floor speech after returning.

Jarchow said Zimmerman mischaracterizes his opposition to the budget as one that sides with Democrats.

"I stood with the conservatives," Jarchow said. "Shannon stood as a rubber stamp with party leadership."

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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