15th Senate seat up for grabs
Democrat Tim Cullen and Republican Rick Richard will lock horns as their parties battle for control of the state lawmaking apparatus, where Democrats now hold sway.
The two men, both of Janesville Township, said they filed the required number of nominating signatures by Tuesday’s deadline and should be on the Nov. 2 ballot for the 15th Senate District.
The Democrats are trying to hold onto what had been a secure seat for them until Sen. Judy Robson, a longtime Democratic legislator from Beloit, announced in February she was retiring.
In Cullen, the Democrats have found someone with instant name recognition.
Cullen served in the state from 1975-87 and was senate majority leader before stepping down to serve a Republican governor as secretary of the state Department of Health and Social Services.
Cullen later was an executive for a large health insurer. After he retired, he served three years on the Janesville School Board, stepping down in April.
Richard announced his candidacy almost a year ago, Cullen in February.
“I have an uphill fight against my opponent, Tim Cullen, a longtime member of the Wisconsin political machine,” Richard said. “However, when I’m out meeting voters one at a time, the response has been positive as we discuss my background as a small business owner, that government must live within its means, and my focus on a stronger business climate in Wisconsin.”
Cullen, 66, served a year on the Janesville City Council before becoming local ombudsman for U.S. Rep. Les Aspin, from 1971-74.
“I’m in this race to improve the economy of Rock County and try to do some education reform and try to improve the behavior in the state Legislatures and deal with, somehow, finally, the ongoing state deficit that’s been carrying on now for over a decade,” Cullen said.
Richard, 43, and his wife Diedre Richard, run RD Worldwide, which is described on its website as “a multi-million dollar leader in employee search and staffing” that was founded in 1999.
Here’s a rundown of other state Senate races in the area:
One Elkhorn Democrat has gathered the necessary signatures to challenge incumbent Republican Neal Kedzie in the 11th Senate district.
L.D. “Red” Rockwell, 70, is challenging Kedzie for a second time.
Rockwell has told the Gazette he is running on a platform of strengthening Wisconsin's educational system and promoting a cleaner environment.
Kedzie is completing his second Senate term. He also served in the Assembly from 1996 to 2000.
Kedzie said job creation is one of his top priorities.
He has authored several bills dealing with the environment and was at the forefront of the Great Lake Compact, which details how eight states—including Wisconsin—will manage Great Lakes water usage.
Republican Dan Proko of Burlington in June filed his declaration of candidacy, but as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday he had not filed nomination papers, according to Wisconsin Government Accountability Board data.
The district includes parts of Walworth, Waukesha, Jefferson and Kenosha counties.
A Republican primary will feature Thomas Lamberson, Verona, owner of a home-building business; Kurt Schlicht, Cross Plains, a village trustee and Dane County board member; and Tony Wickersham, Evansville, who is unemployed.
Incumbent Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, will seek re-election.
Libertarian Jonathan Haus, Madison, had filed declaration of candidacy papers in April but as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday the state Government Accountability Board website did not list him as having filed his nomination papers.