Kitchens Challenged for District 1 Seat

No primary for state Senate seat; Door County offices unchallenged 

Incumbent Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) has a Republican challenger for the 1st Assembly District seat, which covers Door and Kewaunee counties, a part of eastern Brown County and a small portion of Manitowoc County. 

Milt Swagel, a Kewaunee farmer and Kewaunee County Board supervisor, filed his nomination papers by the June 1 deadline. 

The two men will vie for the seat in the Aug. 9 partisan primary election. Kitchens, who is going for a fifth term in office, has not faced a primary challenge since first being elected in 2014.

Whoever wins that contest will face Democratic challenger Roberta Thelen of Baileys Harbor in the Nov. 8 general election. Thelen serves as a Baileys Harbor Town Board supervisor. She ran against Kitchens in 2018 as an Independent candidate, but Kitchens won that contest by capturing 20,651 votes to Thelen’s 9,519.

Assembly District 1 (shown above in gray) includes Door and Kewaunee counties, an eastern portion of Brown County, and a small northeastern corner of Manitowoc County. Source: 

Candidates are not viable until the Wisconsin Elections Commission has processed and approved their filing papers. All three candidates for the District 1 seat had been approved as of June 3.

Candidates for state office must file a campaign-finance registration statement and a statement of economic interest with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, as well as a declaration of candidacy form and nomination paper for partisan office with the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

State Assembly candidates must also gather a minimum of 200 valid signatures, but not more than 400. 

The reason for the limits, especially in small districts, is to prevent one candidate from gathering signatures from most of the eligible voters, depriving his or her opponent of the opportunity to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Kitchens had 397 valid signatures, Swagel 394 and Thelen 368, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

Senate District 1 (shown in gold above) includes Door and Kewaunee counties, most of northern Manitowoc County, much of southern and eastern Brown County, northern Calumet County, and part of southwestern Outagamie County. Three consecutive Assembly districts form a single Senate district. Senate District 1 comprises Assembly Districts 1, 2 and 3. Source:

No Primary for State Senate Race

Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere), the incumbent for Senate District 1, does not have a primary-election challenger, but Democratic candidate Andrea Gage-Michaels, a private-practice attorney in Green Bay, will be on the Nov. 8 ballot vying for Jacque’s seat. 

The valid signatures required for state Senate candidates is between 400 and 800. Jacque secured 699 valid signatures, Gage-Michaels 773.

Door County Partisan Offices Unchallenged

Incumbent Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard, a Democrat, and incumbent Door County Clerk of Circuit Court Connie DeFere, a Republican, have filed for reelection and are unchallenged by any other candidates. The positions are the only countywide partisan offices that will be on the ballot for the Nov. 8 election. 

DeFere was first elected to office in 2014, Sternard in 2018.