- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - No last-minute surprise retirement announcements by office holders in Wisconsin were expected this week ahead of a deadline for incumbents to announce whether they will seek re-election.

Office holders not seeking re-election must file the paperwork by Friday. They can miss the deadline, but that would give anyone running for the seat three additional days to circulate nomination papers.

As of Thursday, two retiring Republican state lawmakers had yet to file the required form, but both were expected to meet the deadline. They are Sen. Dale Schultz, of Richland Center, and Rep. Chad Weininger, of Green Bay.

“I am not running,” Schultz said. He said his form would be turned in by the deadline.

The head of the committee working to elect Republican Assembly members said that Weininger still planned to retire and should submit the required document on time.

Jenny Toftness, executive director of the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, said she did not expect any last-minute retirement announcements. Likewise, the head of the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee, Joel Gratz, said he did not think any more Democrats would retire.

Fifteen Assembly Republicans and seven Assembly Democrats - 22 out of 99 members - are not running for re-election this year. In the Senate, four Republicans and three Democrats - seven of 33 members - are moving on.

Republicans currently hold a 60-39 majority in the Assembly and an 18-15 advantage in the Senate. Even with the retirements, Republicans are expected to hold their majority in the Assembly, while it will be a tougher fight for the GOP in the Senate.

Friday is also the deadline for other statewide and congressional office holders to announce whether they are retiring. U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, a Republican, and Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen have both filed the form declaring they will not be candidates. State Treasurer Kurt Schuller has said he won’t run again, but he had yet to file the form.

All of the other incumbents are expected to run for re-election.

The deadline for candidates to submit the required signatures to get on the ballot is June 2. If any incumbent who did not declare they were retiring does not submit the required signatures, challengers would have an additional three days - until June 5 - to file their petitions.

That law was passed in the mid-1990s after three state lawmakers attempted to cherry-pick their successors by telling those candidates but not announcing their retirement until near the signature deadline, making it nearly impossible for anyone else to run, said Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board.