GAB continues checking Wisconsin recall candidate petitions

Jun 15 2011

By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka

There are 26 days 7 hours left until the first election date (likely to be primaries) for Wisconsin Senator Recalls.

Earlier today, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board released updated documents based on the signature filing deadlines for candidates in the recall races.

Thus far, sufficient levels of signatures have been validated for the following candidates:

The following candidates applications are still being reviewed by GAB staff.[1]

Additionally, the GAB is maintaining a document with potential candidates for the July 19 recalls of Democratic incumbents. Thus far, the possible candidates are:[2]

2012 Democratic strategy

With the nine recall elections set, Democratic strategists have been looking at what possible foreshadowing and impact they may have on the 2012 elections. One of the biggest questions for the party at the moment is who will run in place of retiring U.S. Senator Herb Kohl. Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is a top contender, as are U.S. Representatives Tammy Baldwin and Ron Kind.[3] Three U.S. House seats are additionally considered to be competitive.

Feingold’s name has also been mentioned as a possible contender in a recall campaign against Governor Scott Walker. Democrats announced plans to initiate a recall against Walker at their convention in early June. Walker is ineligible to face recall until January 3, 2012. In order to trigger a recall, 540,208 valid signatures will need to be collected — which is 25 percent of the votes cast in the 2010 general election. Mike Tate, Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said they may start collecting signatures as soon as next winter, but that their goal is to have Walker on the November 2012 ballot.[4] Feingold’s PAC, Progressives United, has been raising money for all 9 Democrats involved in the recalls.[5]

At the state level, 16 Senate seats and all 99 assembly seats will be up for election in 2012.

Recalls and redistricting

The Wisconsin legislature is currently in the midst of redrawing state and congressional districts, which must be completed by the end of the 2011 session. Republican control of the governorship, house, and senate gives them power over the process. However, the recall elections could significantly alter that. If Democrats are able to hold onto their three senate seats and win an additional three, the balance of the senate would swing into their control, giving them power over redistricting in that body and creating a divided government.

Media reports indicate that Republicans are seeking to alter the Congressional districts in order to protect U.S. House freshman Sean Duffy, considered to be the most vulnerable Republican incumbent. A Democratic senate would greatly increase Duffy’s chance of losing his seat.[6]

Sensing that Republicans may try to speed through redistricting legislation before the recalls, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate issued a statement saying, in part:[7]

Wisconsin’s redistricting process has never gone forward under such a dark ethical cloud. Conceived in darkness and obscured from the voters, this heinous redistricting plot now is foisted on Wisconsin as a fait accompli.
Never before in Wisconsin’s modern history has the process taken place without local participation and the creation of wards. Never before have the people of this state had so substantial a decision made in such an absence of democratic principle.

During the last redistricting cycle following the 2000 census, Democrats controlled the Senate and Republicans the Assembly. Unable to agree on a map, the task was ultimately completed by the courts.[8]

2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results