Special election for Senate District 1 seeing statewide, national interest

Caleb Frostman and State Rep. Andre Jacque participate in a debate at UW-Green Bay on May 29, 2018 for the special Senate District 1 election. (Photo credit: WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Voters in five area counties will be heading to the polls in two weeks, but the race between Republican State Rep. Andre Jacque and Democrat Caleb Frostman has garnered attention beyond the state's 1st Senate district.

After Democrats claimed victory in Wisconsin's Supreme Court race in April, Republicans warned their base about a possible 'blue wave' heading into November's general election.

While some might think the special elections on June 12 could be another indicator, Republican strategist Mark Graul warns against using that notion.

“I would caution anyone into making too many predictions based on a June special election,” said Graul. “The weather could be beautiful like it is now, people could have other things on their mind rather than going to the polls. My guess is you're going to see a pretty small turnout.”

The state’s 1st Senate district covers all of Kewaunee and Door counties, as well as parts of Brown, Manitowoc, Calumet and Outagamie. The winner will replace Republican Frank Lasee, and will be up for re-election right away in November.

“I think whoever wins this time will be the favorite to win in November, that's for sure,” said Graul.

Jacque and Frostman squared off in a debate Tuesday night at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Both explained why they’re confident heading into the special election.

“People know that I'm going to be an independent voice down in Madison, not being swayed by party leaders or special interests,” said Jacque.

“I feel pretty confident about my private sector background, both in commercial real estate finance and in economic development,” said Frostman, who is executive director for the Door County Economic Development Corporation. “That seems to be a really good fit for this job in SD-1.”

There is also interest in this race from outside the state. A group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced it is spending $175,000 on Wisconsin's two special elections. The other special election is in Assembly District 42, in central Wisconsin.

In this race, the Holder group is backing Frostman.

“We're grateful for that kind of support and I think that group is highly responsible for the special elections being called, so it's not surprising to me their adding additional financial support to my race,” said Frostman.

“I think there probably will be some involvement from people on both sides of the race. I can only say I'm proud to have stayed positive in terms of what I've actually put out from my campaign,” said Jacque.

A Republican has held the 1st Senate district seat since 1977.

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