Wisconsin conservatives are now going after one of the last moderate Republicans to hold elected office in the United States, Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz.
Howard Markelin, a Republican state assemblyman from the southeastern part of Schultz's state senate district, has announced his intention to mount a primary challenge to Schultz, and has already attacked Schultz for being a "long-time incumbent who has been in office since 1982."
Dylan Jambrek has reported via Twitter that Americans for Prosperity, a Koch Brothers-affiliated front group, has already done an e-mail blast in support of Markelin's primary challenge against Schultz. According to January 2013 campaign finance filings, Schultz currently has $12,000 cash-on-hand, while Markelin has $32,000 cash-on-hand.
Schultz is a rarity among Republicans these days...he has voted against some of the more extreme measures of Republican Governor Scott Walker's "divide and conquer" agenda, including Act 10, which stripped most public-sector workers in Wisconsin of most of their collective bargaining rights, and the Open-Pit Mining Bill.
Schultz, who represents the 17th State Senate District of Wisconsin, has yet to announce whether or not he will seek re-election in 2014. Additionally, there is the possibility that Schultz may run for re-election as an independent, which would likely result in a competitive three-way race, or as a Democrat. If Schultz runs for re-election as a Democrat, he may face a primary challenger there, as he voted for a Republican gerrymander of Wisconsin's congressional and state legislative districts in 2011. If Schultz runs for re-election as a Republican and loses the primary, Wisconsin has a "sore loser law" that would prohibit Schultz from running as an independent in the general election.
Additionally, Marklein's state assembly district, the 51st State Assembly District of Wisconsin, is also now an open-seat race, and one that Democrats have a good shot of winning if they recruit a strong candidate. Both the 17th Senate district and the 51st Assembly district are located in a region of Wisconsin that is ancestrally Republican but voted for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.