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Reports: Ellis won't seek reelection to State Senate

Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah)
Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah)

UNDATED (WSAU-WRN)  State Senate President Mike Ellis will not run for re-election. Several news organizations including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Gannett Media are reporting that Ellis, one of the most powerful Republicans in the legislature, is discontinuing his campaign.

Ellis' decision comes two days after a videotape surfaced where he discussed forming an illegal political action group to target his opponent Penny Bernard Schaber, a state rep. from Appleton. The recording was made in a bar by the conservative political watchdog group Project Veritas.

Republican Senator Mike Ellis of Neenah says he now knows that it’s illegal in Wisconsin for a candidate to coordinate with an outside group. Jay Heck of Common Cause says to hear Ellis talk about that, even in a hypothetical manner, is shocking and disturbing. He says it’s a sign of the times. In the secretly taped video at a Madison hotel bar, Ellis said the PAC could run attack ads against Bernard Schaber.

Heck says he worked closely with Ellis several years ago to push for reforms. He says Ellis was concerned about third-party, outside groups, and the money they were putting into campaigns. He doesn’t think the fallout from the video will end anytime soon.