Recall: Stage One Set for May 8th
Written By: ECJ staff | Posted: Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Primaries will be held on May 8th for what could be called an annual summer event here in Wisconsin. Recall elections will be held in early June for not only Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, but four State Senators as well. Scott Fitzgerald, Van Wanggaard, Terry Moulton, and Pam Galloway all face potential recall this spring. All are Republican.
Several Democrats have stepped up to challenge Governor Walker. State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug LaFollette each announced their intent to become the next Governor. Several other Democrats made hints at running but all were waiting the announcement of the runner-up of the last regular gubernatorial race, Tom Barrett, who announced in early April that he will indeed run for the nomination of this state's Democratic Party.
Right away, many elected officials endorsed Barrett, including Ron Kind, Dave Obey, and Herb Kohl; making him the favored to win the nomination. Public Policy Polling (PPP) data shows such to be the case with Kathleen Falk remaining a distant second place among Wisconsin voters.
The same poll shows Governor Walker barely ahead among voters against the two front runners. This is an improvement for him from last February when Walker was down by the same amount according to PPP.
Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch will be facing the winner of the Democratic nomination this spring as well. Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin President Mahlon Mitchell of Fitchburg is running for the nomination against investigative consultant and former police officer Ira Robins of Wauwatosa and "protest" candidate Isaac Weix of Menomonie. Like Walker, Kleefisch runs ahead by a few points in the polls against the likely nominee Mitchell.
Four State Senators are facing recalls this summer. Chippewa Falls' Terry Moulton will be facing likely Democratic nominee Kristen Dextor for the 23rd Seat. In the 29th District, Pam Galloway of Wausau resigned her seat. Republican Assemblyman Jerry Petrowski of Marathon will be facing fellow Assemblywoman Donna Seidel of Wausau, after she likely wins the nominee this May.
John Lehman of Racine will be facing Van Wanggaard for the 21st Senate seat if he wins the Democratic nominee. And Lori Compas will likely be the Democratic nominee to face Scott Fitzgerald in the 13th district.
All of these Democratic nominees must be considered "likely" due to the Republican's use of "protest" candidates designed to keep the Senate recall elections from occurring during the gubernatorial primaries, which would tend to draw more Democrat voters.
Says Republican Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Ben Sparks, "These candidates are running to ensure election fairness, and today's [GAB] ruling [approving the candidates' petition to run] guarantees that there is one primary and one general election date for all candidates facing a recall."
But 13th district candidate Lori Compas argued, "If we allow a Republican to appear on the ballot as a Democrat, we're saying that it's acceptable to place false information on a ballot. This undermines citizens' confidence in this process specifically and in government in general."
The protest candidates are James Engel of Fall Creek (23rd), Jim Buckley of Antigo (29th), Tamra Verebrook of Union Grove (21st), and Gary Ellerman of Lake Mills (13th).
Despite Democratic anger over the GOP disruption of their recalling goals, there is also a left-leaning protest candidate running for the Republican nomination against Scott Walker. Arthur Kohl-Riggs, who calls himself "the real Republican", decided to run and use his campaign "as a platform to highlight the hypocrisy of Scott Walker's rhetoric."
Practically speaking, "I also see a practical and strategic reason for running in the Republican primary. By ensuring that Walker has an opponent on the primary ballot I am encouraging his supporters to cast their vote for him, rather than voting to disingenuously influence the Democratic nomination process."
No matter what happens, this summer's recall will be monumental not only for this state, but also for the entire country. - ECJ staff