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Former lawmaker’s candidacy for open seat challenged

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Elections Commission is recommending that a former lawmaker who wants to run for a vacancy in the state Senate be allowed on the ballot, despite a challenge contending that he doesn’t live in the district.

Former state Rep. Don Pridemore, a Republican, filed to run for an April 6 special election to fill the state Senate seat that is vacant because of Scott Fitzgerald’s election to Congress. But Pridemore’s filing was challenged by someone who alleges the Hartford address Pridemore put on his nomination papers is not where he actually lives. The complaint alleges that Pridemore lives outside of the Senate district.

Pridemore told the elections commission that the address on his nomination papers is an apartment that he rents in the Senate district. He provided a copy of his rental lease.

The commission, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, was scheduled to vote Friday on the complaint.

Pridemore is one of three Republicans who filed to run for the seat. The others are state Rep. John Jagler and Todd Menzel, who owns a towing business. Democrat Melissa Winker, a teacher who previously ran for Assembly, also filed along with independents Spencer Zimmerman and Ben Schmitz. A Feb. 16 primary will narrow the field to the top vote-getter from each party.

Pridemore, 74, served in the state Assembly from 2005 to 2015 when he retired.

Republicans hold a 20-12 majority in the Senate with this one vacancy.

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