Republican Senate President Mike Ellis says the release of a secret recording of him discussing an illegal campaign scheme was the "tipping point" that made him decide not to seek re-election.
Ellis announced Friday that he would not run again, ending a 44-year career in the state Legislature.
The announcement came two days after the release of a hidden recording of Ellis during which he talks about illegally coordinating with a political action committee to smear his Democratic challenger.
Ellis tells WTMJ-Radio in Milwaukee that he had been thinking about not running for a while, but the video's release put him over the top.
The 73-year-old Ellis said he feels like he no longer fits in in the Senate.
"I see that compromise is not valued in today's Capitol environment, and that means I don't fit in anymore," Ellis said in a statement. "Special interests hold too much sway, instead of the voice of the people."
He said attention put on he and his family has taken toll over the last nearly five years.
Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson released a statement on Friday regarding Ellis's announcement.
"Mike Ellis not running for re-election is a good start, but he needs to be held accountable by those in his Party who elected him head of the Senate." Larson said.
"They should join us in calling for his removal as President of the Wisconsin State Senate."