While many people voted with absentee ballots for the special Congressional election last Tuesday, some residents visited polling places despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters and officials at the Lincoln Town Hall took precautions. —STAFF PHOTO
While many people voted with absentee ballots for the special Congressional election last Tuesday, some residents visited polling places despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters and officials at the Lincoln Town Hall took precautions. —STAFF PHOTO
State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) easily defeated Democrat Tricia Zunker in a special election Tuesday, May 12, for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.

With about 99% of the precincts reporting, Tiffany had 57% of the vote compared to 43% for Zunker, a member of the Wausau School Board and associate justice on the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court.  

The special election was called to fill the vacancy left by Sean Duffy’s September 2019 resignation. Duffy stepped away from the office to spend more time with his family.

In Vilas County, Tiffany collected 5,227 votes and Zunker got 3,392 votes. In Oneida County, Tiffany received 7,519 votes and Zunker garnered 5,918 votes.

Tiffany served one term in the 34th District of the State Assembly and is currently serving his second term as a state senator for the 12th District. In his victory statement Tuesday night, Tiffany thanked his supporters. He delivered his remarks via Facebook.

“First and foremost, thank you to all the voters of the 7th Congressional District that cast ballots in today’s election,” said Tiffany. “And a huge thank you to all the supporters who worked so incredibly hard to make tonight’s decisive victory possible. This campaign would not have been possible without the support, enthusiasm and energy you gave.”

The campaign for the two candidates took on a new twist due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no opportunities for large group gatherings or door-to-door visits. 

“Throughout this campaign, one thing was made resoundingly clear: the people of our district want a strong, experienced voice who will take some North Woods common sense to Washington, D.C.,” said Tiffany. “Someone who will work with President Donald Trump to get our families safely through these rough times and back to prosperity. That has always been my promise to you and I am ready to hit the ground running on day one.”

Tiffany also mentioned his family.

“Lastly, thank you to my family. This journey would not have been possible without you by my side,” said Tiffany.

Tiffany has established deep roots in the 7th Congressional District over the past 30 years where he and his wife, Chris, have lived and raised their three daughters. Tiffany grew up on a dairy farm near Elmwood and graduated from UW-River Falls with a degree in agricultural economics. 

A small business owner, Tiffany owned and operated Wilderness Cruises for 20 years. He also has worked as a dam tender for 25 years on the Willow Flowage. He is a former town supervisor in the town of Little Rice and served on the Oneida County Economic Development Corp. board of directors. 

Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District is the largest congressional district in the state geographically, covering 20 counties in northwestern and central Wisconsin. 



Dems respond

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Ben Wikler commented on the results in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, saying the Democrats made progress in the loss.

“Trump went all in for Tiffany and got egg on his face. For Trump to win re-election, red areas have to get redder to balance out blue areas getting bluer. But tonight, thanks to the terrific campaign run by Zunker and the organizing work of thousands of volunteers, Wisconsin’s reddest congressional district swung drastically toward Democrats,” said Wikler.

“Zunker was a powerhouse candidate running a brilliantly executed campaign in a district gerrymandered to lock in Republican victories. In a district that went for Trump by 20 points in 2016, Zunker led a vital, honest and principled campaign centered on the issues that keep northern and western Wisconsinites up at night,” said Wikler. “Over her career serving the public, Zunker has proven to be a relentless advocate for Wisconsin’s working people and her star is only rising. Moreover, Zunker’s historic candidacy will pave the way for more native Wisconsinites to seek elected office. We couldn’t be more thankful for her leadership, and the work of every volunteer that made calls and sent texts to support her.”

Tiffany will have to seek re-election in the fall election.

“The Democratic Party of Wisconsin will continue to organize every square inch of Wisconsin over the coming 175 days,” said Wikler. “We’re taking no voter for granted and intend to earn every vote cast for Democrats in November.”