Jacque Hopes Bigger Republican Turnout Tips the Scales

Editor’s note: The Pulse covered each candidate extensively before the June special election. Here we explore the unique circumstances of this election. You can find more on Andre Jacque’s platform here. Read more about Caleb Frostman here.

For Andre Jacque, the four-term assemblyman from De Pere seeking a bigger voice in the state Senate, Nov. 6 will be his fourth election day in six months. Jacque won a short but hard-fought primary against newcomer Alex Renard in April, lost the special election to Caleb Frostman, then handily won another primary against Washington Islander Bill Nauta in August.

“It’s been a pretty lengthy process, a marathon that turns into a sprint at different points,” Jacque said. But he said he enjoys the process of knocking on doors and meeting constituents.

“The big thing is the special election didn’t really change anything,” he said. “The results don’t really mean anything for the general election.”

Jacque said he expects the turnout to be much different in November than in June, when many Republican voters weren’t engaged in the race and Frostman won a close race, 51-49 percent. And though polls show a tight race between Gov. Scott Walker and challenger Tony Evers, and a wide lead for incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Jacque said the statewide races may not trickle down to impact the local race.

“All of the races on the ballot now, you’re seeing a lot of back and forth up and down the ballot,” he said, indicating that even if voters lean blue in the larger races, they’ll split the ticket down-ballot.

Jacque said he is relying on grassroots Republican support, emphasizing that he wasn’t the handpicked candidate of his own party leaders.

“I’m not a prolific fundraiser,” he said, which is one reason his colleagues in the state Assembly endorsed Renard for the special election. Those colleagues have come around to support Jacque this time.

The unique nature of the contest between Jacque and Frostman has produced advantages. “It certainly started to raise people’s awareness a little bit earlier in the process,” Jacque said. “I’ve gotten to the things I would have gone to anyway. We’ve gotten opportunities to debate, though I would have liked more opportunities to debate.”

And he also said the fact that the legislature has not been in session since the special election is a plus. “I don’t know that Caleb will have done anything in office in the time he’s had the seat,” he said.

Jacque said voters are telling him they’re focused on growing the economy, workforce issues, and roads above all else, with health care also on some minds. Like Frostman he has pledged support for road projects such as completion of the southern bridge in De Pere and expansion of I-41 to six lanes.

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