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Former county GOP chair dies of COVID19; daughter asks Republican legislature to postpone tomorrow’s vote


The Republican-controlled legislature is forcing the spring election to go on tomorrow, despite fears of spreading COVID19 and despite pleas from civil rights and voter rights organizations, as well as a personal appeal from Dr. Sarah Knuteson Fox, the daughter of former Racine County Republican Party Chair John Knuteson — who died from COVID19 on Friday.

The election which will decide a State Supreme Court seat for the next 10 years in addition to several local races and the state’s Democratic presidential primary.

In a Facebook post Monday afternoon, Knuteson Fox, a family physician in Mineral Point, posted the text of a letter she says she sent this morning to Assembly speaker Robin Vos as well as her own representatives: State Representative Todd Novak and Senator Howard Marklein.

Vos represents Racine County in the State Assembly.

In the letter, she wrote that her father, a 70-year-old attorney and municipal judge in the Racine County village of Wind Point, began feeling ill last Sunday but still went to the office on Tuesday.

“At my urging, he called his doctor and went home on Tuesday around noon, and never left the house again. His coworker found him dead Friday morning,” Knuteson Fox wrote.

She wrote that a post-mortem test confirmed that he died of COVID19.

“I am deeply concerned that he exposed people before he was symptomatic, and after he was symptomatic but feeling relatively well,” she wrote, adding that had the election been held a week ago, he would have gone out to vote, and probably would have gotten more people sick.

Knuteson Fox wrote that she is vice president of primary care at Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville, and that the medical group had gone to great lengths to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“I beg you to consider the health of your neighbors, yourself, your colleagues, and the citizens of this state and work to delay or cancel in person voting for tomorrow,” she wrote. “My dad would have been devastated if he learned that he spread this to someone else. Our family is heartbroken right now, and muddling through the terrible grief of losing a beloved family member, in the midst of a pandemic and social isolation. I can’t even hug my mom right now for fear of spreading virus to or from her. I don’t want other families to go through this. Please, work together to find a solution that doesn’t put the health of Wisconsin citizens at risk.”

Knuteson was an attorney at Knuteson, Hinkston & Quinn in Racine. He had previously served as a Wind Point Village Trustee and Village President, and was a retired Lt. Colonel of the US Army Judge Adjutant General Corps, according to the firm’s website.

Vos, along with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, turned to the State Supreme Court Monday after Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order postponing tomorrow’s in-person vote to June 9. In a 4-2 vote, the court struck down that order.