Wisconsin state Senate Democratic leader plans to run for a county executive post in 2024

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin state Senate’s top Democrat announced Thursday that she’s going to leave the body to run for local office in 2024.

Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard of Madison said she will run to replace retiring Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. State law specifically bars her from holding both a Senate office and a county executive office simultaneously for more than two months.

Agard’s spokesperson, Aaron Collins, said Agard plans to convene her fellow Democrats for an election to name a new minority leader “in the near future.” He said no date has been set yet, though.

Sen. Kelda Roys of Madison plans to run for the leadership spot, her aide, Jalen Knutson, said. Other possible candidates include Sens. Dianne Hesselbein of Madison and Jeff Smith of Brunswick.

State Rep. Melissa Ratcliff, a Cottage Grove Democrat, announced Thursday morning that she plans to run for Agard’s open seat next fall.

The jockeying comes as the state Supreme Court’s liberal majority appears poised to invalidate Republican-drawn legislative district boundaries, perhaps by the end of the year.

The boundaries have helped the GOP maintain control of both the Senate and Assembly since 2012. Republicans currently hold a 22-11 majority in the Senate and a 64-35 majority in the Assembly. New maps could help Democrats gain seats in both chambers.


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