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Exodus from Wisconsin Senate continues with GOP retirement

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The exodus in the Wisconsin Senate continued Tuesday with one of its most conservative members announcing he will not seek reelection, bringing to at least seven the number of incumbents who will not be returning next year.

Sen. David Craig, a Republican of the town of Vernon, said in a statement that he, his wife and six children “need a break from public life” and that he is pursuing work in the private sector.

“An additional commitment of another term of service is not in our family’s interest,” Craig said.

He is the second Republican after Sen. Luther Olsen, of Ripon, to announce their retirements. Tom Tiffany, of Hazelhurst, was sworn into Congress on Tuesday after winning a special election last week. And Republican Senate

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is running for Congress in a GOP-friendly district this fall and would not return in 2021 if he wins.

Last week, former Democratic Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, of La Crosse, resigned from her seat. She had already announced she would not seek reelection and stepped down as leader.

Three other Democrats are not returning next year. Sens. Mark Miller, of Monona, Fred Risser, of Madison, and David Hansen, of Green Bay, are all retiring.

Friday is the deadline for incumbents to declare if they intend to seek re-election.

Republicans have a 19-14 majority in the Senate. The districts being vacated by Shilling and Hansen are both competitive, presenting Democrats with a greater challenge as they must defend those while trying to edge into the GOP majority.

Craig, 41, is completing his first term in the Senate. He previously served five and a half years in the Assembly. He frequently joined with other conservative senators to push for less spending, and last month called for the firing of Wisconsin’s health secretary over her issuing a “safer at home” order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It was always my mission to use my limited time in public life to advance the conservative movement, and the Lord is leading me to pursue opportunities in the private sector,” Craig said.

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