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Scott Walker calls special election after failed efforts to defy court order

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has scheduled a special election for June 15 to fill two legislative seats vacated by Republicans. The move on Thursday ends a legal battle with a national democratic group, led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, which sued Walker in February for refusing to promptly fill the vacancies as mandated by state law.

The backstory: Walker said filling these seats, vacant since December, would be a waste of tax dollars since the seats will be up for reelection again in November. But last week, a lower court ordered Walker to schedule the special election by Thursday. Walker appealed the decision two times this week, but his request got denied, forcing him to schedule the special election.

  • The move also led Wisconsin GOP leaders to abandon their bid to change state law on special elections.

The bigger picture: Democrats are hoping the June election will be a repeat of the special election in January, when they flipped a Wisconsin district that had long been held by Republicans since 2000. After the election, Walker warned the Democratic victory was "a wake up call for Republicans."

What they're saying:

  • In a series of tweets Thursday, Walker lashed out at Holder for thwarting his failed efforts: "Holder and the other liberals from Washington, D.C. are using the situation in Wisconsin to raise money for their battles in the fall."
  • Holder responded: "We will continue to advocate for the people of Wisconsin whose voting rights you have undermined and diluted."