Dem candidates seeking former Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling’s western Wisconsin-based seat offered a range of policy positions when quizzed by on some of the pressing issues lawmakers will face next legislative session.

Brad Pfaff, the former DATCP secretary who was rejected by the GOP-controlled Senate, provided the most centrist positions of the trio.

The former aide to U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, demurred when asked if he supported Gov. Tony Evers’ proposals on reforming police and curbing gun violence and did not clearly articulate a position on calls to shift police funding to social service and a GOP-backed tough-on-crime package vetoed by the guv earlier this year.

But he blasted the Republican lawmakers for rejecting Evers’ proposal to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid.

“I think that the fact that Wisconsin taxpayers are paying into the federal government and we’re not receiving the money back from the federal government — I think that’s something that I’m going to let the voters decide what they think of that,” he said.

Jayne Swiggum, a nurse and political neophyte who said her run for office stems from disgust at seeing a news clip of GOP candidate Dan Kapanke at a May rally without a mask, offered a more progressive vision.

She wholeheartedly backed Evers proposals that seek to expand Medicaid, ban police chokeholds and no-knock searches, ensure deadly force is used by law enforcement only as a last resort, expand background checks to more gun sales and transfers and implement a “red-flag” law.

She also called for solutions to help the incarcerated re-enter society, slamming the tough-on-crime package.

The final candidate, Paul Michael Weber, offered answers that on nearly every issue aligned far closer with the GOP than with the party whose banner he is running under. Quizzed on why he was running as a Dem, Weber said he was “not running for a party.”

“I’d run as an independent if I was truly running,” he told

The winner of the three-way August primary will face Kapanke in the November general election. Kapanke previously held the 32nd SD seat between 2005-2011, when he lost to Shilling in a recall election.

Hear the interviews:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email