July 12 and August 9 – Recall Election for Republican Senators in Wisconsin
*UPDATE* Results – Democrats picked up two seats, District 18 and 32 while Republicans held on in the other 4 seats. For more details, click here
The price that 6 Republican lawmakers will pay in Wisconsin for the passage of a bill removing collective bargaining rights from the contracts of public employees such as teachers and firefighters is that they will face a new election a year before many were scheduled to be on the regular ballot. Signatures were collected in each district. This recall is not like the famous recall of Grey Davis in California – here, it simply triggers a new election between the Senator facing recall and an opponent, as opposed to the strange two part vote in California asking if the governor should have been recalled and, if yes, who should replace him.
This is also a precursor to the recall effort for Governor Scott Walker that has recently been initiated.
District 2 – Robert Cowles
Gathering more than 11 thousand extra signatures in this district in the north-east of the state, Democrats will put up Nancy Nusbaum, former Brown County Executive, to challenge Cowles, who has not faced a Democratic challenger in a decade.
District 8 – Alberta Darling
She only won with 50.5% of the vote in 2008 so incumbent Alberta Darling can’t be relishing facing voters in this recall. However, in recent polling, voters in her district have given her relatively strong numbers so she may face an easier time than some of her colleagues. She will be facing Assemblywoman Sandy Pasch.
District 10 – Sheila Harsdorf
A true swing district if polling is to be believed, Sheila Harsdorf will be facing off against Shelly Moore, a high school teacher.
District 14 – Luther Olsen
Luther Olsen did not face a challenger in 2008 so this will be his first difficult race in a while. The central district is swing-y and he has not proved very popular in recent polls. He faces Assemblyman Fred Clark in the recall.
District 18 – Randy Hopper
The incumbent in this race, Randy Hopper, made news, unwarranted since it is a personal matter, but nonetheless troubling, that his own wife was supporting the recall effort since he left her for another woman who in turn got a state job with a 35% raise over the previous occupant. Seen as one of the most vulnerable, he will have to campaign strongly to overcome his opponent Jessica King, the deputy mayor of Oshkosh who lost to Hopper in 2008.
District 32 – Dan Kapanke
One of the bluest districts up in this race, Dan Kapanke is up in the southwestern corner of the state. He didn’t help his cause by recently saying
“We’ve got tons of government workers in my district – tons. From La Crosse to Prairie du Chien and to Viroqua and to Ontario and to Hillsboro, you can go on and on and on. We have to overcome that. We gotta hope that they, kind of, are sleeping on July 12th – or whenever the (election) date is.”
State Assemblywoman Jennifer Schilling will be the Democrat in this race.
A poll by the partisan Daily Kos (D) in mid-March shows the following numbers for the Republican senators. There are two additional senators polled who will not face recalls.