Wed July 24, 2013
Appleton State Representative Will Challenge Mike Ellis For His Senate Seat
State Rep. Penny Bernard-Schaber, D-Appleton, has announced that she will challenge Senate President Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, for his seat.
Bernard-Schaber will have to give up her Assembly seat to challenge the longtime lawmaker Ellis. Bernard-Schaber was a physical therapist before she was elected to the Assembly in 2008. Ellis is a former teacher who was first elected to the Assembly in 1970 and to the Senate in 1983.
Bernard-Schaber says Ellis has not been representing his district well. She contends three positions Ellis took this year were out of step with the views of his constituents: voting for the mining bill, voting for school voucher expansion, and declining federal funds for Medicaid.
Ellis did not respond to a request for an interview yesterday. Beyond name recognition, he has a financial advantage in this race, at least in the early going. Ellis has more than $140,000 sitting in a campaign account, mostly because nobody has challenged him in years. Bernard-Schaber reported less than $30,000 in the bank.
Republicans hold an 18-15 majority in the Senate going into next year's elections. Democrats view this seat as one of their top two or three best chances at pickups in 2014.