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. 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.
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. 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.
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.”
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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.
- February 15: Assembly Bill 11, better known as the “Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill” is introduced at the request of the governor. Two days later all 14 Democratic senators walkout.
- March 9: Senate Republicans amend the bill, passing the revised version which includes limits on collective bargaining. It is signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker two days later.
- April 1: First set of signatures turned in for recall, targeting Republican Dan Kapanke.
- April 28: Last set of signatures turned in for recall, targeting Republican Robert Cowles.
- May 23: The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board certifies recall petitions against Republicans Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, and Luther Olsen.
- May 31: The GAB certifies recall petitions against Republicans Sheila Harsdorf, Alberta Darling and Robert Cowles.
- June 8: The GAB certifies recall petitions against Democrats Jim Holperin, Robert Wirch, and Dave Hansen.
- June 14: 15 potential candidates file to run in the Republican recalls.
- June 21: 6 potential candidates file to run in the Democratic recalls.
- June 27: At a special meeting to review challenges against candidates, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board denies John Nygren ballot access for not having enough valid signatures. All other candidates were approved for the ballot.