Tags: 2020 Elections | wisconsin | jim sensenbrenner | republicans | gop | house

Wis. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner the 15th Republican to Exit House

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Thursday, 05 September 2019 06:10 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The surprise announcement by Wisconsin's Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Wednesday night that he would not seek reelection brings to 15 the number of Republicans leaving the House in 2020.

With the number of GOP retirees exceeding those at this point in 2017, the scenario succession in Sensenbrenner's 5th District is likely to be one happening in open seats nationwide: a crowded and costly primary, with the nominee a cinch to win next November.

"Stunning" and "completely unexpected" were some of the expressions coming from Sensenbrenner's colleagues in Washington and fellow Republicans in the Badger State's 5th District upon hearing his announcement.

At 76 and after 41 years in Congress, Sensenbrenner seemed as near as anyone could be to the expression "Man of the House." Never reelected with less than 62% of the vote, he rose to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. There, he was a pivotal player in the successful enactment of the anti-terrorist PATRIOT Act and the ban on partial birth abortion signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Even after the Wisconsinite was termed out from his Judiciary chairmanship, he threw himself into his new assignment on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In announcing his retirement, Sensenbrenner gave no specific reason.

Republicans in the 5th District are now bracing for their first contested primary since 1978 — when the ever-disheveled, rock-solidly conservative State Sen. Sensenbrenner edged the moderate, 26-year-old State Sen. Susan Shannon Engleiter by 569 votes.

For years, State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald has been considered the Cardinal Ratzinger to mentor Sensenbrenner's John Paul II. As majority leader in 2011-12, he was considered the linebacker behind then-Republican Gov. Scott Walker's landmark reforms to end collective bargaining for most public employees in Wisconsin.

Whether Fitzgerald wants to become a freshman congressman at 56 is one of the major questions in the 5th District race.

Also mentioned is another close ally of the controversial former Gov. Walker: Rebecca Kleefisch, a former TV newscaster who was Walker's lieutenant governor and, with him, survived a nationally watched recall move by unions in 2012. Waukesha native Kleefisch, 44, was recently appointed executive director of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission.

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, 46, is also mentioned for the House seat. The son of former Lieutenant Governor Margaret Farrow, he was also an early and strong supporter of President Trump.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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The surprise announcement by Wisconsin's Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Wednesday night that he would not seek reelection brings to 15 the number of Republicans leaving the House in 2020, John Gizzi writes.
wisconsin, jim sensenbrenner, republicans, gop, house
409
2019-10-05
Thursday, 05 September 2019 06:10 AM
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