Onward to Wisconsin Tuesday
Tuesday is the last round of recall elections in Wisconsin, in which Democratic Senators James Holperin and Robert Wirch are being challenged.
The races are expected to be tight (h/t reader Charles):
The Wisconsin recall fight ends Tuesday, and while the state Senate is no longer in play, Republicans could cut into the gains Democrats made last week. One Democratic seat in tomorrow’s election is probably safe; the race for the other one is very close.
“Here we’re fighting on our turf,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski. “We’re cautiously optimistic.”
State Sen. Jim Holperin appears to have the slight edge in the hotly-contested 12th district as a well-liked incumbent, but increased Republican enthusiasm in this GOP-leaning territory makes it basically a toss-up….
Of the remaining two Democrats facing recalls, Holperin is by far the more vulnerable. His district went 57 percent for Walker in 2010, and only 53 percent for President Obama in 2008. Obama performed better in every other state senate district held by a Democrat — and in seven held by Republicans. Holperin faces Kim Simac on Tuesday, a local tea party activist.
The other state senator targeted for recall tomorrow, Bob Wirch, is statistically safer; his district went 53 percent for Walker and 57 percent for Obama in 2008. He also faces a political newcomer — Jonathan Steitz, a corporate lawyer who works in Chicago. Spending here suggests the race is not nearly as heavily contested.
I’ll be covering the results as they come in Tuesday night starting at 9 p.m. Eastern.
(Should the Republicans pick up one of the seats, there will be a victory dance here. Should they pick up two, well, who knows what may happen.)
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Hmmm… I wonder what percentage of teachers are sending in their dues? It looks like enough aren’t that WEAC is already having a money crunch.
Maybe if they didn’t waste so much money on endless recall elections some of those folks would still have jobs.
I think at this point the Democrats are hedging their bet with the 12th District. As I analyzed in the prior thread, Holperin is EXTREMELY vulnerable. I would say that it’s leaning toward the Republican, and the Democrats are trying to make the story that “well, it was a fluke and nothing should be read into the result” should they lose, but still leave themselves enough wiggle room to say “the voters have spoken, and rejected the TEA Party tide” if they manage to win.
It all comes down to turnout and which base is more motivated tomorrow.
Chuck . . . Amongst the commenters here, you and, of course, Steve Eggleston seem to have a very solid handle on what is going on in Wisconsin. For example, Steve has a good “wrap-up” posted on “No Runny Eggs” today.
I may well have missed it, but have you seen any written explanation about how the decision was reached to “bifurcate” the recall elections, with the challenges to the Republicans having all been held last week, and the challenges to the two Republicans being held this week?
Was that a choice made by the Government Accountability Board (GAB)? Was splitting them compelled by State law in some way? Or, was there essentially a coin flip to see who went first? Why did they split them? Why didn’t they hold them all on the same day?
It seems to me that there are several reasons why it was a very bad idea to split the races into two election days, the first and most obvious one being cost. Holding elections is expensive. Seems to me that holding two elections would almost automatically be more expensive, at least from the state’s perspective. Obviously, a significant number of officials of the State, including from the GAB and probably the AGs office would have to be dispatched to local areas to quickly be available to get involved in any disputes of various kinds that can arise.
Secondly, it seems to me that there was a highly charged political issue involved as well. Obviously, the distinct advantage went to the Democrats for having all of their challenges held on the same day last week because they had to put nothing in the way of resources into defense, such as into the two districts that are up for grabs today.
The timing is a long story. The short one is that, had the letter of the state law been followed to a T, there would have been 4 different sets of election dates due to the differing times the recall petitions were turned into the GAB. The GAB, swamped with both the unprecedented 9 recall petitions turned in within weeks of each other and the Supreme Court recount, got a Dane County judge to consolidate the timeline to what they had hoped would be a single set of election dates. The Democrats tossed up enough dust that certain staff members of the GAB were able to once again cause a split the timelines.
I am able to answer at least part of my question based on information I received from an official at the GAB who told me in a phone call a little bit ago that the election schedule was essentially set by Dane County Circuit Court Judge, Judge Richard G. Niess, who approved the schedule via a court order.
Apparently, there was a possibility of one of the elections (one of those several that were held last week) being scheduled for Tuesday, July 5th, immediately following the July 4, 2011 weekend, and GAB officials pointed out to the court that this would have necessitated state officials from their office and others being at work and at their desks in preparation for the election on a national holiday — on Monday, July 4th.
Niess apparently bought that argument and set the schedule with two, rather than three “recall” election days. Exactly why Judge Niess did not consolidate all the races into one election day, however, is still unclear to me.
Judge Niess was just reelected in Dane County to a second 6 year term on the Circuit Court on April 5, 2011. He was originally appointed to the bench by former Governor Doyle back in 2004, following which he then successfully ran for his first full 6 year term in 2005. Here was his campaign website from his Re-Elect campaign this year.
Interesting, Steve. I was writing my partial reply to myself when you posted your answer.
I don’t seem to be able to find a campaign website for Judge Maryann Sumi, who was interestingly the only other Circuit Court Judge in Dane County who was up (and successfully re-elected) this past spring (held on April 5, 2011). Of course, she ran unopposed, while Niess had a challenger — who withdrew late from the race, but whose name nevertheless appeared on the ballot. Judge Sumi was listed as one of his supporters.
Given the electoral reality, my cynical take-away from all of this is that if you happen to be a Republican attorney, you might not want to move to Dane County in order to make a living!
If my memory of the timeline is good, that would have been the Cowles recall, though it might have been Darling and the three Dems.
District 12 – According to campaign finance reports filed this week, Democrat James Holperin outraised conservative tea party candidate Kim Simac for the year by more than double – $494,000 to $221,000. To tell you how out of touch and liberal Holperin is, he said tax increases he voted for were “not harmful.”
District 22 – Campaign reports filed Tuesday show liberal Democrat Robert Wirch’s campaign has raised $257,000 for the year, while conservative Republican Jonathan Steitz brought in $72,000.
Thanks for all you have done for us in Wisconsin District 22. You have been a diligent reporter of the facts and an outlet for the truth from the beginning. You have been a valuable part of the recall of Senator Wirch from the beginning helping raise awareness of what we have been fighting against.
We are hopeful that when the dust settles tonight we will see the recall succeed. Tonight is the culmination of all of the hard work on the part of thousands the last 6 months. We are very hopeful that we will win.
I’ll be dancing with ya by God
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