Weather Forecast


Campaign season hits full swing for county, state, federal offices

Kitty Rhoades' decision not to seek re-election to the Wisconsin Assembly has prompted greater interest among potential candidates -- and a Democratic primary election -- in District 30.

Still, since candidates were active long before the July 13 deadline for filing nomination papers for county, state and federal offices offered few surprises.

County level

In St. Croix County, Chief Deputy John Shilts is the only candidate for the position held by Dennis Hillstead, who is retiring at the end of the year. Shilts has over 30 years experience in law enforcement and has worked for the Sheriff's Department since 1987.

The St. Croix County clerk of court position is also open for election. The lone candidate is incumbent Lori Meyer, who has held the position since 1993 and has worked for the county for 21 years.

Wisconsin Assembly

The only local state legislative primary will be in District 30 where Democrats Matt Borup of Hudson and Ben Plunkett of River Falls both met filing requirements.

The winner of the District 30 September primary will face Republican Dean Knudson of Hudson in the November general election.

Borup is a production manager for a company that recycles antique timbers. Plunkett is a Pierce County Board member and UW-River Falls student. Knudson, a businessman, has been mayor of Hudson for two years.

Adam Johnson of River Falls registered as a candidate with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board but had second thoughts and did not submit nomination papers.

In District 28, incumbent Ann Hraychuck, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Erik Severson of Star Prairie.

Hraychuck is a former Polk County sheriff. Severson is an emergency room doctor.

In District 29, incumbent John Murtha of Baldwin, a Republican, is challenged by Liz Jones of Woodville, a Democrat.

Murtha is self-employed and has served in the Assembly since 2006. Jones is working at a law firm in Hudson and has worked with several community coalitions.

State Senate

The odd-numbered Wisconsin Senate seats are up for election this year, and the only western Wisconsin race will be in District 31 where Republican Ed Thompson of Tomah is challenging incumbent Kathleen Vinehout of Alma.


Area voters will also have primary elections for the District 3 congressional seat and one of Wisconsin's seats in the U.S. Senate.

In District 3, Republicans Bruce Evers of Holmen and Dan Kapanke of La Crosse will face off in September to see who challenges incumbent Ron Kind, a Democrat from La Crosse, in November. Independent Michael Krsiean of Houlton is also a candidate.

U.S. Senate

Incumbent Russ Feingold, a Democrat from Middleton who has served in the Senate since 1992, is challenged by three Republicans and an independent. Four other men -- two Republicans and two independents -- registered as candidates but didn't submit nomination papers.

Republicans Ron Johnson of Oshkosh, Dave Westlake of Watertown and Stephen M. Finn of Milwaukee will face off in a primary election. The lone viable independent candidate is Rob Taylor of Cumberland.


Wisconsin voters will also elect a governor in November, and there will be September primaries for candidates from both parties.

Democratic candidates include Tom Barrett of Milwaukee and Tim John of Oconomowoc. Republican candidates are Mark Neumann of Nashotah, Scott Paterick of Wisconsin Rapids and Scott Walker of Milwaukee.

Five other Democrats, including Jared Gary Christiansen of Ellsworth, and two other Republicans registered as candidates but didn't file nomination papers or didn't file enough signatures to earn a place on the ballot.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

(715) 426-1049