There’s been an unexpected shakeup in the Wisconsin state Senate. News that first-term Wausau Republican Pam Galloway will resign came as a surprise at the Capitol on Friday. In a statement, Galloway said that her family “has experienced multiple, sudden and serious health issues,” and she’s putting their needs ahead of politics. “I think all of us who value our families certainly appreciate that,” said Governor Scott Walker. The move means the Senate is now evenly split – sixteen Democrats and sixteen Republicans.
Galloway is one of four Senate Republicans facing recall. The state Government Accountability Board says that recall election will continue as scheduled – but Galloway’s name would not appear on the ballot. Democratic state Representative Donna Seidel, seeking to defeat Galloway in a recall, says she has no plans to alter her campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he was interested in recruiting an Assembly Republican – either Representative Jerry Petrowski of Marathon or Representative Mary Williams of Medford – to take Galloway’s place on the recall ballot. “We have talked,” said Petrowski. “I actually ran the battery of my phone dead already today.” Governor Walker said he’d like to see Petrowski run. “Jerry, because of his longtime service in that region, may be actually more well-known than the incumbent,” said Walker. “Should he choose to run and be elected, he’d be a great Senator.”
Galloway, a physician and Alabama native who defeated veteran Democratic Senator Russ Decker in 2010. “She’s established herself as a hard worker,” said Matt Lehman, news director at WSAU in Wausau. “One of the first acts that she got involved with was the concealed carry legislation. She was the chief sponsor of that, and for a freshman lawmaker, that’s pretty unusual.”
Galloway’s resignation will be effective at midnight Friday. She has scheduled a press conference for Sunday in Wausau.