There will be a Republican vs. Republican race for the open state Senate seat in the Milwaukee suburbs.
Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, on Monday said she is jumping into the race to replace Alberta Darling.
“After long hours of consulting with my family, friends and countless political allies, I have decided that the best place for me to continue to represent the people of Wisconsin would be in the 8th Senate District,” Brandtjen said in a statement.
Darling announced her retirement about two weeks ago. She’s served the area that includes parts of northern Milwaukee County, southern Washington County, and northern Waukesha County for more than 30 years.
Brandtjen is currently the state representative for a third of Darling’s 8th Senate District. She will face the other Republican in Darling’s district, Rep. Dan Knodl. Knodl announced his campaign for the state senate last week.
Knodl, who was first elected to the state Assembly in 2008, said in a statement launching his campaign that he plans to focus on inflation, education, and public safety.
Brandtjen is on the outs with leadership in the Assembly.
She was disinvited from the Assembly Republican caucus, and is widely expected to lose her committee chairmen position when lawmakers return for a new session in Madison in January.
Brandtjen became a very vocal critic of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos during the investigations into the 2020 election in Wisconsin.
Brandtjen went on to support Vos’ primary opponent Adam Steen.
Brandtjen talked up her conservative bona fides in her campaign announcement.
“I can guarantee that I will continue to fight for the principles that every American shares. No one has fought harder for Life, Second Amendment rights, keeping your family safe and allowing every family to send their children to a great school,” she added.
Republican Robert Albrightson of Brown Deer has also announced his candidacy.
Democratic state Rep. Deb Andraca of Whitefish Bay has decided not to make a run for the seat. So far no other democrats have announced their intentions to run.
Gov. Evers on Friday set the dates for the special election to replace Darling. They fall on the same dates as the previously scheduled spring election. That means the primary will be February 21, and Election Day will be April 4.