UPDATE: Sen. Galloway to resign, recall election to proceed - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Sen. Galloway to resign, recall election to proceed


Just months away from a recall election, State Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) announced she will resign.


That resignation will take effect at midnight Friday.


In a statement, Galloway said, "I've decided to put the needs of my family first. My family has experienced multiple, sudden and serious health issues, which require my full attention."


This news comes at a crucial time for Republicans. Galloway was just months away from a recall election, stemming from her support of Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers.


But despite her resignation, the recall election will still go forward.


Galloway's recall opponent, State Rep. Donna Seidel (D-Wausau), said news of Galloway's resignation was surprising.


"It caught me off guard as with so many other people," said Seidel.


In fact, just this week, Galloway told Newsline 9 she was gearing up for the recall race.


"We're definitely prepared for this election," said Galloway in a March 12 interview.


Now, just four days later, she's out. Newsline 9 wanted to ask Galloway more about her decision, but a spokeswoman said she's not available until Sunday.


"She was probably going to have a very tight race," said Charley Jacobs, assistant professor of political science at St. Norbert College in De Pere. "She did in the last election in 2012."


Despite the tough race Galloway faced, Jacobs says he doesn't believe she got out for any reason other than her family.


"I think that she would have stepped aside earlier if it had been something partisan in nature, so that the Republicans could have had a greater amount of time to find somebody to run a very strong campaign in this election," said Jacobs.


And that recall election will still happen. Even though Galloway is out, state law requires the recall race to proceed. But another Republican will be on the ballot.


"I'm very curious about who my Republican opponent will be," said State Rep. Seidel.


Two people have already emerged as possible candidates: State Rep. Mary Williams (R-Medford), and State Rep. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon).


"It's kind of the natural progression of who you might speak to about the district having two sitting Republican assemblymen," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).


Petrowski said he's interested in the seat, but he hasn't made a decision yet.


"The next step is for me to get home and talk to me wife about it," said Petrowski.


An office spokesman told Newsline 9 that State Rep. Williams is also looking at running, but no decision has been made.


But potential candidates don't have too much time to decide. Anyone wanting to run has to file for the recall race by April 10. If there's more than one candidate, a primary would happen May 8. The general election would take place June 5.

The Committee to Elect a Republican Senate released a statement Friday saying they hope to have a Republican candidate selected by the end of March.


Until the recall election, Galloway's seat will sit empty. That means Republicans no longer hold a majority in the Senate. The makeup is split 16-16, and the majority and minority leaders will lead the chamber together.


However, it doesn't make much difference since the Senate is adjourned.


Galloway plans to hold a media availability Sunday at her Wausau district office at 12:30 p.m. Newsline 9 will be there and will bring you the latest.


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