Updated: Candidates Emerge in 98th Assembly District Race
A half dozen people are showing interest in the special election that still has to be called by Gov. Scott Walker.
Editor's Note: This article was updated at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday with information about Jeanne Tarantino declaring her candidacy.
State Rep. Paul Farrow has not yet officially won the 33rd Senate District seat, although he is the only candidate on the Dec. 4 special election ballot, but nearly a half dozen people have expressed an interest in replacing him.
Jeanne Tarantino, a Waukesha Republican, became the latest candidate for the job, throwing her hat into the ring early this week while Steve Edlund, who was once considering a run, has announced he will not seek the office.
Republican Todd Greenwald, a Pewaukee resident, announced that he also running for the 98th District seat that includes Sussex, Pewaukee and portions of Waukesha (see map).
Adam Neylon, a local business owner and aide to State Rep. Bill Kramer, has also declare candidacy as a Republican in the 98th Assembly District.
Also running as a Republican is Matt Morzy. Eric Prudent, who lost earlier this month against Farrow for the 98th District seat, will be running as a Democrat. Contemplating runs on as a Republican are Jeanne Tarantino, Waukesha School Board member Steve Edlund and Pewaukee Police Chief Ed Baumann.
Farrow is moving to the State Senate – pending any write-in candidates in the special election Dec. 4 for the uncontested 33rd Senate District race – and his Assembly district seat will be vacant. Farrow won re-election to the 98th District seat on the same day he won the Senate primary.
The 33rd Senate District seat was vacated earlier this year by former Sen. Rich Zipperer. Zipperer was appointed as the deputy chief of staff and senior counsel for Gov. Scott Walker in July.
Walker has not yet called for a special election to fill the 98th Assembly District seat and will likely wait until Farrow wins the Dec. 4 election.
Running for Sure
Describing herself as a “Mom on a mission to make Wisconsin the best place to raise a family and start a business,” Tarantino served as Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch’s Chief of Staff for two years before helping the Walker administration’s efforts to increase employment by closing the skills gap, she said in a state.
“I will take the values I learned working in my family’s store and in building a business here in Waukesha to my work on your behalf in Madison,“ said Tarantino. “I know you can’t spend more than you bring in and that you should always give your customers a great value.”
Greenwald said in a statement that he looks forward to helping the conversavtive cause in Madison.
"Todd believes the conservative approach that has already been started in Madison by the existing Republican leadership is the correct way to lead Wisconsin forward, and as a representative he will work to grow that success," he said.
Greenwald is a project manager with experience in the architecture and construction fields. He is past president of the Lake Park Home Owners Association and volunteers as a soccer coach.
“I really believe in what the Governor and the Republican Party are doing for the state of Wisconsin, and I want to help,” said Greenwald. “I think the people of the district believe it too, and they want a representative that wants to keep it moving in the right direction.”
Neylon, who also worked for U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, said in a news release he is looking to “lower taxes, improve schools, create jobs and make the government more efficient.”
Neylon served as the Waukesha County field director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin during the 2010 election, according to his release. He has been a member of the Republican Party of Waukesha County for the past six years, and previously served on the executive board.
“I promise to always put taxpayers first, and stand for responsible budgets, and common sense government,” Neylon said in the release. “These principles have guided me all my life, and I will continue to be guided by that conservative compass in the state Assembly. Together, we can make Wisconsin the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.”
Morzy announced he was running two days after the Nov. 6 election. He told Patch then that he is motivated by what Walker and the other Republicans are doing in the state, which is why he decided to seek election.
“I want to make sure I can do what I can to contribute to that to make sure that we keep that process going and keep improving the state of Wisconsin,” Morzy said.
Prudent lost to Farrow in the 98th District on Nov. 6, but he’s approaching the new race as a different election with a different opponent.
“I already have established somewhat of a base and connections with people,” Prudent said. “Moving forward, that is something I want to build off of.”
Prudent said he grew up with political parents, which motivated his interest in politics. But what really pushed him to run for public office was seeing the public union workers rallying and protesting in Madison after Walker first proposed the bill that put strict limitations on collective bargaining for public workers.
“I was there, days and nights, with these people,” Prudent said. “You can’t help but be inspired by that – people standing up for these rights. … That is a big reason why I ran – to give them a voice.”
Still Testing the Waters
Baumann has been a police officer for about 38 years, but he is retiring early next year from the Pewaukee Police Department. While he has had to deal with politics during his career, he said: “By no means am I a politician.”
“I am a problem solver,” Baumann said. “I want to be able to do that.”
Baumann, who expects to finalize his decision to run in the next week or two after consulting with family, said he wants to help make the 98th Assembly District a better place. Friends and others have been encouraging him to run for the office.
“I’d get to do what I am doing for 30 years – helping people,” Baumann said. “That will be my focus.”