Two Republican Assembly members vying to be the next state senator from northwestern Wisconsin's 10th Senate District share similar political persuasions — except for one major exception: their vote on the recent Foxconn deal.
State Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsom Lake, and state Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls are among six candidates including three Democrats and one Libertarian competing to replace former longtime state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf who was appointed secretary of Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection by Gov. Scott Walker last month.
Both are newcomers to the Assembly, Jarchow was first elected in 2014 and Zimmerman in 2016. Both are conservative. And they each say they are friends. They declined a chance to appear at the same time on Wisconsin Public Radio's "The West Side," saying they didn't want to be seen as attacking each other.
One area where they differ is their vote to lure Taiwanese tech manufacturer Foxconn to southeastern Wisconsin with a promise of $3 billion in tax incentives based on creating thousands of jobs.
Jarchow was one of two Assembly Republicans to vote against the plan.
"In this instance, I just didn't think the deal was fair to the people of northwestern Wisconsin," he said. "This is a $3 billion expenditure on a foreign corporation which is going to locate 350 miles away from northwestern Wisconsin."
Zimmerman voted for the Foxconn deal and said it reminds him of a deal the company he owned, Sajan, Inc, made with the state of Wisconsin in 2004 to accept a $50,000 tax credit in exchange for 30 new jobs to help build a new office building to stay in River Falls.
"That strategy worked. We created at that time 130 jobs as a result of that. The company remains headquartered here and it was a successful program all the way around," he said.
Republican and Democratic primaries in the 10th Senate District will be held Dec. 19 with the primary winners joining the Libertarian candidate in the Jan. 16 general election.