Barring a write-in campaign by his losing opponent, current state Rep. Louis Molepske Jr., D-Stevens Point, will trade his state Assembly seat in for that of Portage County district attorney early next year.
Molepske received 4,074 votes to his opponent Veronica Isherwood’s 2,204 votes in the partisan primary Tuesday, Aug. 14, to capture the Democratic nomination for district attorney, and to move onto the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election where he will be unopposed, unless Isherwood pursues a write-in campaign.
“I think the supporters of my campaign actively came out for me, and the positive manner of my campaign helped,” said Molepske. “It also helped that I made myself available so people who weren’t sure saw that I could be capable as D.A.”
Molepske said he’s moving forward as though the position is his, because of the amount of work that will be needed to transition. The former district attorney, Tom Eagon, left it Wednesday, Aug. 1, to become a Portage County Circuit Court judge, four months after being elected to the position.
“I’ve already begun the process,” said Molepske. He said he met with Portage County Board Chair O. Philip Idsvoog one day after winning the primary and he plans on meeting with Portage County Executive Patty Dreier as soon as she is available, with purposes of departmental budget discussion.
Molepske said Justiceworks, a community justice organization designed to secure right relationships between offenders, victims and their communities, will lose some federal earmark funding in 2013, and should that happen the District Attorney’s office and the Sheriff’s Department should both plan on seeing increased budgets due to higher recidivism rates without this program. “This is weighing on my mind,” said Molepske. “It could become a reality, and that is why I am not waiting to be handed a (budget) document I didn’t put together.”
As for his current position as state representative, Molepske said he will make sure his successor, Democrat or Republican, will receive 10 years of data his office and his predecessors collected. “I don’t believe that person needs to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “Information is key.”
His successor as the 71st Assembly District representative will either be Democrat Katrina Shankland, a state political leader fellow with the Center for Progressive Leadership, or Republican Patrick Testin, a manager at Mattress Firm in Plover. Shankland warded off eight other Democrats on the primary ballot to win the nomination with 1,382 votes. Corey D. Ladick was a close second with 1,338 votes. Also on the ballot were Jeri McGinley, 835 votes; Andrew Logan Beveridge, 770; David J. Verhage, 319; Tom Mallison, 142; Robert L. Steinke, 118; Laura Hauser-Menting, 117; and Hans Schmid, 101.