Updated: March, 16 1:32PM
Wisconsin state Sen. Pam Galloway (R) is resigning from the chamber today, citing a family health situation. Galloway was one of the targeted incumbents in upcoming recall elections.
This also means that as of now, the Republicans have officially lost their Senate majority, leaving the chamber split 16-16. The recall elections to come will determine who takes the majority.
Galloway released a statement Friday, saying in part:
“Today I am announcing my retirement from the Wisconsin State Senate. After a great deal of thought and consideration, I’ve decided to put the needs of my family first. My family has experienced multiple, sudden and serious health issues, which require my full attention. Unfortunately this situation is not compatible with fulfilling my obligations as State Senator or running for re-election at this time.
I thank my colleagues for all their support, and I wish them all the best in their work to rebuild this state. For the sake of the electorate, I hope that better days are ahead for this institution.
The recall for her seat, however, is still going ahead as scheduled, though Republicans will have to find a new candidate in what is now the special election for an open seat. The recall rules do provide, however, that her name will not be on the ballot if she resigns this soon.
State Senator Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R), who is also facing a recall, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was confident Galloway would have won her election.
After a career as a surgeon specializing in the treatment of breast cancer, Galloway won her Senate seat by a five-point margin in the 2010 Republican wave, defeating the incumbent state Senate Majority Leader in the traditionally Democratic Wausau district. This time around, she was being challenged in the recall by Assistant state Assembly Minority Leader Donna Seidel.
This past Monday the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, officially approved the recall petitions against Galloway and three other Republican state senators, in the Democrats’ second effort to recall their way to a majority.
Under the finalized timeline, the primaries will be May 8, and the general election on June 5 — the same timeline as the banner recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Also, if there are no primaries for any particular seat, then the May 8 date will in fact be the general election for that district.
In the immediate term, this means the state Senate will change from a narrow 17-16 Republican majority — in which moderate Republican Dale Schultz has held a de facto balance of power — to a temporarily 16-16 chamber.
Acting Senate Clerk Jeff Renk confirmed to TPM that Galloway has submitted her letter of resignation, to take effect at midnight. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin does not have a tie-breaking vote, Renk told us. There is, however, precedent for a temporary power-sharing agreement that will have to be worked out until the upcoming recalls put the Senate back at its full membership, and presumably a clear majority in the odd-numbered total of seats.