Wisconsin Senate recalls: A recap of events to date

Jun 28 2011

By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka

MADISON, Wisconsin: Barring court challenges, yesterday’s rulings by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board were the final step leading up to the recall elections against 9 incumbent state senators.

Following the decision by the Board to deny him ballot access, Assemblyman John Nygren said he was considering his options regarding further actions to reinstate his name on the ballot. Nygren said he did not submit more signatures because he was busy working to re-write the state budget.[1] The GAB initially verified 424 signatures on Nygren’s petition to run in the recall targeting Sen. Dave Hansen, but after challenges, it was ruled that only 398 were valid, two short of the necessary 400.[2][3]

GAB director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy said the Board carefully considered all of the challenges against Nygren. “Some of the challenges were spurious, but others raised significant issues about the validity of enough signatures to keep him off the ballot,” he said.[4] Kennedy also said that most Senate candidates will file upwards of 700 signatures in order to make sure more than enough of them are valid.[1]

With Nygren off the ballot, the first recall election that includes a sitting Senator will be held on July 19 between incumbent Democrat Dave Hansen and Republican challenger David VanderLeest. In response to the news that there would be no primary, VanderLeest said, “When we started this, the ultimate goal was to take on Senator Hansen on in the final election. It’s moved up early, and since we’re leading in the early polls I would rather have the election sooner than later.”[5]

Did You Know?

On Monday, recall efforts failed against three state officials in Idaho. The failure of the recall campaigns in Idaho are common — further proof of the historic nature of the nine recalls in Wisconsin.

So where does that leave us? With two weeks to go until Wisconsin citizens head to the polls, here’s a quick summary of how we got here.

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