Secretly-taped WI Senator Mike Ellis tells Post-Crescent he won’t run for re-election in November

Ellis unhinged-2

No primary required. Ellis isn’t running for reelection.

From the Post Crescent:

Ellis said he had no one handpicked to replace him on the Republican ticket.

“It’s wide open,” he said. “They can get whoever they want.”


In case you missed it, here’s what happened to Ellis recently:

Somebody used a hidden camera to record statements Ellis made while drinking to include that Ellis was planning on creating an illegal SuperPAC to help him hold his seat, that he thought the John Doe investigation was a “blessing in disguise”, that Scott Walker is self-interested (“Walker’s working for Walker”), and that it’s been Ellis that’s been in charge of the state senate and not Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.

Ellis’ campaign finance director Judi Rhodes resigned shortly after the video was disseminated by the right wing smear organization headed by James O’Keefe called, “Project Veritas”.

And The Reaction?

A few Wisconsinites have, with a roll of the eyes, commented that Ellis was caught red-handed plotting what many people suspect that Walker did (John Doe II).* In the case of Ellis, the revelation has shocked those not yet jaded (the few) that saw Ellis cultivating alliances to further campaign finance reform – such as with the non-partisan good government advocate Jay Heck of Common Cause. Ellis also repeatedly introduced a comprehensive campaign finance bill with Dem. Party state senator Jon Erpenbach.

From Jack Craver’s article: “His main incentive for campaign finance reform was that he really despised the outside groups that rained a lot of money on races,” says Heck. “His big thing was that legislators should be able to control as much as possible of the dialogue.”

Online speculation has so far suggested that Michelle Litjens might run for Ellis’ seat against Dem. Penny Bernard Schaber.

Jeff Simpson assumes that the GOP’s scandalized ex-convict and school privateer Scott Jensen is behind the hit job on Ellis.

His assumption seems like it’s in the right ballpark. Ellis stood in conflict with Scott Walker’s plan to expand voucher-funding of education.

From a 7/23/2013 article on Schaber’s campaign announcement:

“Ellis opposed Walker’s original proposal to allow vouchers in nine districts, with no enrollment caps after the second year, while public school spending would remain frozen. He worked out a deal that allowed public school spending to increase while capping voucher school enrollment at 1,000 students statewide. Ellis also got rid of vouchers for special needs students, which Walker wanted.

However, under the deal voucher schools were allowed statewide under the deal, instead of the more limited growth tied to performance on statewide report cards as Walker proposed.

Voters in Ellis’s district opposed Walker’s original voucher plan, and the deal Ellis struck with Walker wasn’t any better, Schaber said.

“I don’t think Sen. Ellis’ negotiating with the governor did us any good,” she said.

Ellis said the deal was a good one, noting the extra funding for schools and elimination of special needs vouchers.

Schaber also said Ellis was wrong to go along with Walker’s decision to reject federal money to pay for an expansion of Medicaid services as well as voting to ease environmental regulations to make it easier for an iron ore mine to open near Lake Superior.

“He needs to be held accountable,” Schaber said.

Ellis stood by those votes as well.”

Mike Ellis has held the 19th state senate district seat, which includes Appleton, Menasha and Neenah, since 1982.

*Asterisk in post indicates an update: I earlier said that Walker has been “formally” charged. That’s not correct.


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