Three Republican candidates, two Democrat candidates and a Libertarian candidate are seeking the office of Wisconsin Secretary of State.
The Republicans whose names will appear on the Aug. 9 primary election ballot include Wisconsin State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton who represents the 31st Assembly District; Jay Schroeder of Neenah who previously ran for Secretary of State and Justin Schmiatka of Green Bay. Democrats running include incumbent Secretary of State Doug LaFollette of Madison and his opponent Alexia Sabor of Madison. The Libertarian candidate is Neil Harmon of West Allis.
Candidate information follows:
Amy LoudenbeckAmy Loudenbeck, 52, currently represents the 31st Assembly District. She previously worked for the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce from 2003 to 2010.
Education: She earned a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
Family: She and husband, Matt, live in the Clinton area.
Political experience: She has served in the Wisconsin State Assemly since being elected in 2010. She also served on the Town of Clinton Board of Supervisors from 2010 to 2012.
Issues facing Secretary of State’s Office: Loudenbeck believes the Secretary of State’s Office has fallen into disrepair due to the neglect of the incumbent Secretary of State Doug La Follette, who has been in office for 44 year.
“The less he did, the more people forgot there was such an office,” Loudenbeck said. “The people of Wisconsin want and deserve a Secretary of State who actually earns their paycheck by performing duties in a timely, transparent and professional manner.”
She said her work ethic and record of cussess as an elected official is unmatched by other candidates in the race.
Candidate Priorities: Loudenbeck said she would work to modernize the office and implement fast, secure, electronic processes and provide real customer service. She said she is committed to serving with distinction on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which oversees nearly $1.5 million in assets and 76,000 acres of public land. She said she would work with the legislative and executive branches to start restoring traditional Secretary of State duties, such as elections functions, registrations, filing deeds and preservation of documents.
Jay Schroeder, 60, is a real estate investor and he owned a home mortgage company for 15 years.
Education: He earned an associate’s degree in applied science at Fox Valley Technical College and he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin—Stout.
Family: Schroeder has been married for 27 years and has four children.
Political Experience: Schroeder served for two terms on the Menomonie City Council while he was a student at UW-Stout. He ran for Wisconsin Secretary of state in 2018 and received 71% of the primary vote.
Issues Facing the Secretary of State’s Office: Schroeder said for about 40 years election procedures have been controlled by appointed bureaucrats on the Government Accountability Board, which recently was renamed the Wisconsin Election Commission. He said these bureaucrats allowed illegal drop boxes for voting, they kept over 600,000 deceased residents’ names on the voter lists and they avoided using voting deputies in skilled nursing facilities.
Candidate Priorities: Schroeder wants to return the duties of election oversight to the Secretary of State’s Office. He said 33 states have elections duties assigned to the Secretary of State’s office.
He noted his primary opponent voted to create the Wisconsin Election Commission and she sat on the state budget committee when the WEC requested $10 million in the last state budget. Of La Follette, Schroeder said he has accomplished little as Secretary of State.
“His tired, do-nothing approach is going to end as evidenced by a reliable poll predicting that I have the fire power to beat him,” Schroeder said.
Justin Schmiatka did not respond to requests from the Beloit Daily News for information. The Daily News is providing the following information, which was posted on his campaign website.
Schmiatka is the host of the Badger State Resistance podcast, which was founded after the 2020 election. His campaign website states the podcast has a goal of educating and encouraging individuals to actively participate in state and national elections.
The site also states Schmidtka served in the U.S. Marines and was an on-call firefighter for the Village of Howard.
The site states he is running for Secretary of State to ensure every vote is valued and respected.
Douglas La Follette
Douglas La Follette, 82, has served as Wisconsin Secretary of State for over 40 years.
He was employed as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin—Parkside in Kenosha. He served as a Wisconsin Senator representing Kenosha County from 1972 to 1974. He served as Secretary of State from 1975 to 1979. In 1978 he ran for lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, but lost. In 1983, he again ran for Secretary of State and won and has been re-elected in each subsequent election. In 2012 he ran in the primary election for Wisconsin Governor, but he lost. He ran for U.S. Senate in 1988 and for the First Congressional District representative in 1970 and 1996, both without success.
He is known as an environmentalist. He authored the book The Survival Handbook: A Strategy for Saving Planet Earth.
He wants election oversight to remain the responsibility of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. He believes the motive of those who wish to shift oversight to the Secretary of State’s office is an effort to control election outcomes in the future.
Alexia Sabor has worked as a project manager in the technology industry and before that she worked for an environmental non-profit organization. She has been chair of the Democratic Party of Dane County since 2019. She and her husband, Scott, have a daughter.
She is a board member for the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health.
She has earned four degrees, including a Ph.D. in forest ecology and management.
She believes she can bring new energy to the office of Secretary of State and can push back against those who want to undermine elections or limit voter rights.
Neil Harmon is a Libertarian who believes government is too intrusive in the lives of people in this country. He believes election oversight should be the job of Secretary of State. He does not believe in doing away with the Wisconsin Election Commission, but he believed the commission membership should be reduced to four members.