On July 8, as had been previously noted, Wisconsin Assemblyman Jeff Wood said that he is leaving the Republican Party and is running for re-election as an independent candidate. Because he didn’t reveal this news until just before the primary filing deadine, no one else filed a petition to be on the Republican primary ballot for the 67th Assembly district. Also, no one filed for that office in any other party’s primary either (a Libertarian, Andrew McKenzie, tried to get himself on the Libertarian primary ballot for that seat, but McKenzie failed to get enough valid signatures).
On July 9, the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Reince Priebus, wrote a letter to Assemblyman Wood and warned him not to destroy the petitions that Wood had circulated earlier in the year to get himself on the Republican primary ballot. Wood, of course, had not submitted these signatures, since he had changed his mind and had petitioned instead as an independent. Priebus claimed that anyone who had signed Wood’s Republican petition could not validly sign Wood’s independent candidate petition. However, Priebus dropped that claim two days later, and no formal challenge was made to Wood’s independent candidate petition.
But Priebus said that the Republican Party will find someone to run as a write-in in the Republican primary on September 9. Wisconsin election law permits write-ins in partisan primaries, but no one can be nominated unless he or she receives a number of write-ins equal to 5% of that party’s last general election vote for Governor. Any Republican who runs as a write-in will need 485 votes, not an easy task, since Wisconsin Assembly districts typically have about 25,000 votes cast even in the general election, and a small number in the primary.