• WisPolitics

Friday, July 29, 2011

 5:19 PM 

July 29 PM recall roundup - New ads and press releases

* Holperin Campaign: 30-second TV ad "Year after Year"
* Hopper Campaign: 30-second TV ad "King of Taxes"
* Kapanke Campaign: 30-second TV ad "Why"
* PCCC, DFA: "Darling vs. BadgerCare" 30-second TV ad
* Sandy Pasch: 30-second TV ad "Alberta Darling, Are You Kidding?"
* Shilling for Senate: 30-second TV ad "Dan's Changed"
* Simac Campaign: 30-second TV ad "Taxes Paid"
* Wirch Campaign: 60-second ad "Bob Wirch"

* Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Medicaid/Medicare supporters stage funeral at Alberta Darling's office
* Clark Campaign: Clark sweeps debate
* Common Cause in Wisconsin: Total campaign spending in August recall elections could reach or surpass $25 million
* Hopper Campaign: New 30-second TV ad "King of Taxes"
* Hopper Campaign: “18 ways in 18 days” day 7 comparison: School reform
* One Wisconsin Now: Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity begins six-figure ad buy for GOP recall candidates
* One Wisconsin Now: Launches website: 'Stuff Simac Says'
* Pasch Campaign: Doublespeak Darling - No longer representing us
* Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin: Endorse Deputy Mayor Jessica King for state Senate
* Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin: Endorse Nancy Nusbaum for state Senate
* Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin: Endorse Shelly Moore for Senate
* Steitz Campaign: New ad "Wirch is nothing like us"
* We Are Wisconsin: Crosses the 1 million voter contact threshold
* Wisc. Corn Growers Association: WCGA endorses 3 senators for re-election
* WisDems Black Caucus: Darling must denounce race-baiting ads
* WisDems: Right-wing extremist groups rally to protect Scott Walker, recalled Republican senators
* WisDems: While middle class struggles with economic crisis, "struggling" Sean Duffy struggles with press image
* WisGOP: Hopper-supported reforms produce serious savings for schools in the 18th


Thursday, July 28, 2011

 5:15 PM 

July 28 PM recall roundup - Press releases

* Cowles Campaign: Environmental groups back Cowles
* Darling Campaign: Questions misinforming voters in the 8th Senate District
* Hopper Campaign: "18 ways in 18 days" day 6 comparison: Out of state contributions
* King Campaign: Prominent Fond Du Lac leader endores Jessica King for State Senate
* Moore Campaign: Sen. Sheila Harsdorf's trouble with the truth
* One Wisconsin Now: Simac soulmate Tom Tiffany has paid zero in state income taxes for last four years
* Pasch Campaign: Darling's ridiculous jobs claim is "FALSE"
* Simac Campaign: Simac addresses misleading attacks about her taxes
* Steitz Campaign: Receives "AQ" rating from NRA
* Steitz Campaign: Wirch asked to cease and desist
* WisDems: Corporate lawyer Jonathan Steitz rails against bipartisan wisconsin job creation
* WisDems: Kim Simac must produce state tax records now


 11:16 AM 

July 28 AM recall roundup - SD 10 profile, headlines

WisPolitics: Republicans confident in Harsdorf name, but Dems claim momentum in western Wisconsin

Chances are if you said the name Harsdorf in western Wisconsin during the past 35 years, you'd be talking about an elected politician.

Now first-time candidate and union activist Shelly Moore, a 37-year-old high school English teacher in Ellsworth, is hoping to overcome the Harsdorf name and help Democrats retake control of the state Senate.

But political handicappers say it won't be easy to beat Sen. Sheila Harsdorf -- in part because of that well-known name. Harsdorf, who turned 55 on Monday, is a farmer who has held state office since 1989 -- first in the state Assembly (elected 1988-96) and then in the Senate after knocking off Democratic incumbent Alice Clausing in 2000.

See more in a new WisPolitics profile of the 10th SD recall race.

- Recall debate shifts from unions to budget cuts
- Recall forums kick off this week
- Sheila Harsdorf and Shelly Moore debate for Senate seat
- Shilling leads in poll but Kapanke not flustered
- A glance at who's donating to Wisconsin Senate recall campaigns


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 5:55 PM 

July 27 PM recall roundup - New ads and press releases


Harsdorf Campaign: "Family" 30-second TV ad

We Are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Kim Simac on Taxes: Pay Your Own"

* Harsdorf Campaign: Releases first TV ad
* Hopper Campaign: Collective bargaining changes help the Fond du Lac School District eliminate a $4.4 million deficit
* Hopper Campaign: “18 ways in 18 days” day 5 comparison: Taxpayer funded raises
* King Campaign: Renews call on Hopper to remove false, misleading ad
* Media Trackers: Senator Wirch's rhetoric and record out of line
* Moore Campaign: Moore calls on Harsdorf to condemn fake, lying "Morgan Freeman" ad
* PFFW: Fire fighters endorse Fred Clark for Senate
* PFFW: Fire fighters endorse Jennifer Shilling for Senate
* PFFW: Fire fighters endorse Sandy Pasch for Senate
* PFFW: Fire fighters endorse Senator Bob Wirch
* PFFW: Fire fighters endorse Senator Jim Holperin
* Simac Campaign: Jim Holperin agrees to Simac proposed forum
* We Are Wisconsin: Alberta Darling's jobs comments distort economic reality for Wisconsin families
* We Are Wisconsin: New ad, "Kim Simac on Taxes: Pay Your Own"
* WisDems: Fake right-wing "Morgan Freeman" ad must be removed
* WisGOP: Nancy Nusbaum, still out of touch after all these years


 10:08 AM 

July 27 AM recall roundup - SD 14 debate coverage, headlines

WisPolitics: Olsen, Clark spar over role of recalls, budget process

GOP Sen. Luther Olsen and Dem Rep. Fred Clark clashed over the proper use of recall elections, the budget process, school vouchers and plans to build a power line from Madison to La Crosse in their first debate before the Aug. 9 Senate recall election.

The two, however, found some common ground in expressing dismay over the influence of outside money in the election and in wanting jobs to be a top priority in the Legislature. The Olsen-Clark race is shaping up as one of the big battlegrounds on Aug. 9, when six incumbent Republicans senators face recall.

Read more about the debate

- Is a Scott Walker recall next for Wisconsin?
- Walker rakes in campaign cash, Democrats say he’s bracing for a recall
- Walker Sends Out Fundraising Pitch For GOP, Email Asks Donors To Prevent Democrats From Winning Majority In Senate
- Recalls could break spending records
- Candidates debate merit of recall
- Reality Check: [Club for Growth Wisconsin] Ad Attacks Clark Over 2009 State Budget Vote
- Recall candidates fight time, attack ads
- Minority leader faults GOP budget priorities
- Absentee voter battle creates casualties


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

 5:25 PM 

July 26 PM recall roundup - New ads and press releases


People for the American Way: "Recall the Right: Luther Olsen" 30-second TV ad

WMC: "Don’t Go Back" radio & TV ads

We Are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Jonathan Steitz: Against Middle Class Families"

* Selected recall election ads from Campaign Media Analysis Group

* Clark Campaign: Public poll: Clark maintains lead
* Cowles Campaign: Cowles slams Nusbaum for debate hypocrisy
* Holperin Campaign: Holperin to Simac: "Let's debate"
* Hopper Campaign: "18 Ways in 18 Days" Day 4 comparison: Abortion
* Nusbaum Campaign: New poll shows Nusbaum surging in 2nd Senate district recall election
* Nusbaum Campaign: Nusbaum demands Senator Cowles explain refusal to address issues facing northeast Wisconsin residentws
* People For the American Way: Unveils TV ads in 3 Senate districts
* We Are Wisconsin: Caught red-handed, another bald-faced lie from Randy Hopper
* We Are Wisconsin: Despite concrete evidence to contrary, Sheila Harsdorf claims to have lowered taxes for middle class
* We Are Wisconsin: New ad, "Jonathan Seitz: Against middle class families"
* We Are Wisconsin: New poll spells huge potential danger for Rob Cowles
* WisDems: Medicare enemy Paul Ryan shakes down campaign cash for Alberta Darling


 2:32 PM 

Daily Kos puts out new polls in 2nd, 8th, 14th

The liberal website Daily Kos has released three new polls in Wisconsin's recall elections that find the GOP incumbents up in two, with the Dem challenger leading in one.

In the 2nd, the poll found 51 percent of those surveyed backed Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, while 47 percent supported former Green Bay County Exec Nancy Nusbaum.

Cowles' job approval rating was 51 percent with 45 percent disapproving.

Forty-five percent had a favorable impression of Nusbaum, while 50 percent had an unfavorable view of her.

President Obama's approval rating split was 40-53, while Gov. Scott Walker's was 50-49.

The survey of 1,034 likely voters was conducted by the Dem firm Public Policy Polling Thursday through Sunday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

In the 8th, Sen. Alberta Darling was backed by 52 percent, while 47 percent backed Rep. Sandy Pasch.

Darling, R-River Hills, had a job approval rating of 51-46, while those surveyed had a split view of Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, with 47 having a favorable impression of her and 47 percent having a negative one.

Obama's job approval rating was 43-53, while Walker's was 51-48.

The survey of 1,476 likely voters was conducted Thursday through Sunday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

In the 14th, the poll has Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, backed by 49 percent of those surveyed vs. 47 percent for Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon.

Forty-nine percent disapproved of Olsen's job performance, while 46 percent approved.

Clark's favorable ratings were split 45-45.

Meanwhile, Obama's job approval split was 43-50 and Walker's was 46-51.

The poll of 871 likely voters was conducted Thursday through Sunday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

A spokesman for Senate Republicans questioned the poll's methodology and said he would have a more detailed response later this afternoon.


John Hogan, executive director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, raised questions about the poll’s methodology.

Hogan produced an analysis from his own pollster, B.J. Martino with the Tarrance Group, that pointed out the raw polling data in the 2nd and 4th don’t match the numbers Daily Kos reported. For example, the raw data in the 14th showed 48.2 percent supported Olsen, while 46.8 percent backed Clark.

Martino noted pollsters often weigh their data to match what they know about the electorate in a district, but asked how Public Policy Polling calculated that considering that decision changed the outcome on the ballot in the 14th. In the 2nd, the numbers were off slightly from what Daily Kos reported, but Cowles was still up.

Martino also noted PPP didn't appear to keep track of geographic data for respondents and questioned why it polled Thursday through Sunday, saying most pollsters used weekday evenings for field polls because that’s when most people are home.

David Nir with Daily Kos said the raw numbers in the 2nd and 14th didn't match because the numbers were weighted before they were reported, which he said was standard practice. He said Daily Kos is one of the few groups that releases its unweighted results and pointed out the accuracy with which PPP polled in Green Bay's 32nd SD ahead of last week’s recall election. In that race, PPP found 62 percent supported Dem Sen. Dave Hansen, while 34 percent backed GOP challenger David VanderLeest with 4 percent undecided. Hansen won 67-33.

-- By JR Ross


 10:56 AM 

Harsdorf, Moore meet in first recall debate

The candidates in western Wisconsin's 10th Senate District clashed on recalls, the budget and collective bargaining in their first debate, with the incumbent saying she's fighting special interests and her opponent challenging her on education cuts.

GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and teacher Shelly Moore met last night in a debate organized by Patch.com in Hudson. Three other forums are scheduled before the Aug. 9 election -- one of six special recall elections involving incumbent Republicans.

Moore argued recalls are for when citizens feel elected officials are no longer listening to them. She said she urged others to contact Harsdorf before launching a recall petition.

"When they said, 'recall, recall, recall' I said 'no,'" Moore said. "But when their voices continued to not be heard ... that's when the recall petitions started."

Harsdorf countered she wasn't facing recall because she did anything wrong, but for standing up to special interests.

"I did exactly what I said I would do," Harsdorf said. "And that is balance the state budget, get spending in line with the taxpayer's ability to pay and get our fiscal house in order."

Moore said collective bargaining wasn't the only issue driving her. She said a multitude of issues in the budget repair bill has spurred her to become involved.

"It's an important issue, but it is one of many important things that are affecting this state," Moore said. "And to try to simplify the reason we are sitting here down to that one issue is downright offensive to the 23,000 people who signed those papers."

See a live-blog of the debate from Hudson Patch


Monday, July 25, 2011

 5:47 PM 

With primaries done, candidates begin meeting face-to-face

Four campaigns in this summer's remaining eight Senate recall elections have arranged candidate forums so far.

-- In the 10th SD in northwestern Wisconsin, incumbent GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf has four forums planned with her Dem challenger, Shelly Moore.

The two are slated for a Patch.com debate today in Hudson. The debate is slated to be webcast live online, then posted to the Hudson Patch website on Tuesday, and be televised later on Comcast Channel 15. Watch the debate online

A forum also is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday before the American Association of University Women, and the two will square off Thursday at 7:30 a.m. before the River Falls Chamber of Commerce.

On Aug. 4, the two are slated for a 5 p.m. forum on Wisconsin Public Radio.

-- Republican Sen. Luther Olsen and Democratic Rep. Fred Clark have three forums planned over three days.

On Tuesday, the two will participate in a 7 p.m. forum in Portage hosted by the Adams-Columbia Electrical Cooperative.

They will appear before the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and then before the Ripon Area League of Women Voters 7 p.m. Thursday.

-- In the 18th SD, which encompasses the Oshkosh and Fond du Lac areas, GOP Sen. Randy Hopper and Democrat Jessica King faced off July 18 in a debate, but they have yet to agree on future forums.

-- Republican Sen. Alberta Darling and Democratic Rep. Sandy Pasch appeared in a joint interview on "UpFront with Mike Gousha on Sunday," which airs statewide.

Then the two will appear separately in forums before the Milwaukee Press Club.

Pasch will attend an Aug. 1 lunch meeting of the club, while Darling, who's defending her Milwaukee-area 8th SD seat, will attend Aug. 2. Both take place at 11:45 a.m. Read more: http://www.milwaukeepressclub.org/


 5:44 PM 

July 25 PM recall roundup

* Olsen campaign: 30-second TV ad "Luther Listens"

* Holperin Campaign: Holperin gets “A” rating and NRA endorsement
* Hopper Campaign: "18 Ways in 18 Days" day 1 comparision: Job creation
* Hopper Campaign: “18 Ways in 18 Days” day 2 comparison: Taxes
* Hopper Campaign: “18 ways in 18 days” Day 3 comparison: Property taxes
* Moore Campaign: Hypocritical Harsdorf lies again -- Taxes are going up, despite her claims
* We Are Wisconsin: Darling continues to duck constituents to avoid tough questions on her extreme agenda
* We Are Wisconsin: Family farmers: “Sheila Harsdorf should know better, she was a farmer”
* We Are Wisconsin: Randy Hopper raised taxes on working families
* We Are Wisconsin: Rob Cowles calls $800 million in cuts to education a “fable”
* Wisconsin AFL-CIO: “Wisconsin Truth Tour” picks up speed criss-crossing state
* WisDems: Corporate lawyer Jon Steitz's extremist views, supporters continue to draw scrutiny
* WisDems: Latest Darling shocker -- 'I'm a pro-education candidate (?!?!)'
* WisDems: Sen. Luther Olsen fails to protect Wisconsin seniors


 2:58 PM 

Darling, Pasch spar in first joint appearance of 8th SD recall campaign

State Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, says she voted for state Sen. Alberta Darling some 20 years ago. But she accused the River Hills Republicans of becoming more extreme in recent years, alienating many of her constituents.

Darling, however, said she's the same fiscal conservative she has always been.

“I was elected to get control of spending,” Darling (left) said in a debate on "UpFront with Mike Gousha" that aired statewide over the weekend. “Voters in the November elections said ‘Help us. You need to do things differently,’ and we did.”

The two made their first their first joint appearance of the summer recall campaign on the show, a statewide TV newsmagazine produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.

Darling said the decisions made by Gov. Scott Walker's administration are already beginning to help the economy grow, citing last month's job growth numbers.

“We lost 633,000 jobs under the Doyle-Pasch regime,” Darling said. “What we did making those tough decisions is working.”

Pasch fired back, stating that the numbers on job growth are misleading and don't represent long-term relief.

“We need employees who are trained, and yet you are taking away the training tools. We need employees who have creativity, yet you are taking away the arts, the music,” Pasch said.

Darling's campaign later said she misspoke when she said 663,000 jobs had been lost. A spokesman pointed to a different portion of the debate in which Darling correctly said 163,000 jobs had been lost.

Gousha also asked the lawmakers their thoughts on the seemingly “toxic” environment at the state capitol.

Pasch says that the Walker administration has more or less been doing as it pleases since the November elections took place.

“Democracy doesn’t end in November and they stopped listening to half the people in the state of Wisconsin,” said Pasch, noting bills are being pushed through with very little compromise.

Darling, however, insisted Republicans are doing what they were elected to do.

“We are not trying to ram things through,” Darling said. “We are trying to listen to our constituents, who told us very clearly, 'Please, jobs are most important to us. Please, we need certainty in this state.'”

Both Darling and Pasch agreed over the importance of bipartisanship, but offered little in the way of how it could be achieved.

- Watch the show here
- Follow UpFront on Facebook


Friday, July 22, 2011

 5:38 PM 

OFFER - See a roundup on how WisPolitics is handicapping the remaining recall races

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Contact Jeff Mayers at mayers@wispolitics.com with any questions.


 1:42 PM 

Obama campaign operation joins recall campaigns

The Wisconsin arm of Organizing for America, President Obama’s official re-election campaign, is getting involved in the approaching recall elections of six GOP senators.

In an email sent Thursday, OFA Wisconsin Field Director Michelle Kleppe asked supporters to volunteer for shifts at Madison-area phone bank and canvassing events this weekend. Kleppe wrote that Organizing for America will provide support to recall election volunteers, and that similar outreach events would continue in the weeks leading up to the Aug. 9 recall elections against the Republican senators.

"Senate Republicans broke the trust of Wisconsinites earlier this year when they forced drastic cuts in funding for schools, seniors, and the disabled to cut taxes for their own contributors," Kleppe wrote. "Since then, hundreds of OFA Wisconsin supporters across the state have spoken up, saying they want to have an impact in the recall elections in August."

In a statement, state GOP Executive Director Stephan Thompson responded that Wisconsin voters wouldn't be interested in "the failed cycle of borrowing and spending that drove thousands of jobs out of this state."

"Wisconsin has come impressively far in a few short months, and it's disappointing that Obama is trying to use his burnt-out star power to turn our state back to the failed tax and spend policies of the past," Thompson said.

-- By Ellen Anevicius

Thursday, July 21, 2011

 3:52 PM 

July 21 PM recall roundup

* Americans United for Change, SEIU: "Don't drive America's economy off a cliff" 30-second TV ad
* We Are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Alberta Darling Turned Her Back on Wisconsin Families"
* We Are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Send Hopper Home"
* We Are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Sheila Harsdorf: Off the Hook"
* We Are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Senator Olsen: You've Failed Us"

* Clark Campaign: Poll: Clark passes Olsen
* Simac Campaign: Open letter to senior citizens
* We Are Wisconsin: New ad: "Senator Olsen: You have failed us"
* We Are Wisconsin: Alberta Darling sold out Wisconsin’s kids to help her big tobacco backers
* We Are Wisconsin: New ad: “Sheila Harsdorf: Off the Hook”
* We Are Wisconsin: New ad: "Alberta Darling turned her back on Wisconsin families"
* We Are Wisconsin: New ad: "Randy Hopper: Leaving us behind"
* WisDems: New poll shows Clark in the lead
* WisGOP: Sandy Pasch busted again for deceiving votes


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 5:33 PM 

July 20 PM recall roundup

- PCCC/DFA: 60-second TV ad "Luther Olsen vs. Poy Sippi Elementary School"

- Harsdorf Campaign: Moore perpetuates lies about abusing taxpayer resources
- Media Trackers: Pasch opposed cost savings for local schools
- Pasch Campaign: Darling continues to duck debate
- People for the American Way: Applauds reelection of Wisconsin Senator Dave Hansen
- SEIU Wisconsin: First Democratic seat secured in recall elections
- VanderLeest Campaign: Final election press release
- WisGOP: Calls on Democrats to disavow SEIU's intimidation manual


 10:49 AM 

July 20 AM recall roundup

- Hansen defeats David VanderLeest in Senate recall election
- Dave Hansen survives Wisconsin recall contest
- Democratic senator Hansen retains seat in recall attempt
- Democrat holds onto state Senate seat in recall
- Next Wis. recall elections may not be so easy
- Steitz to take on Wirch in recall election
- Kim Simac to face state Sen. Jim Holperin after winning recall primary
- Dispatch from Marinette: Casting a vote in the Hansen vs. VanderLeest recall election

- Hopper Campaign: Declares victory in debate
- King Campaign: Jessica King wins debate on issues
- Wis AFL-CIO: Momentum continues for Wisconsin working families
- WisDems: Dave Hansen's towering triumph a bitter defeat for Scott Walker agenda
- WisDems: Meet Kim Simac: Too extreme for Wisconsin, doesn't pay state taxes
- WisDems: Statement from Senator Mark Miller on Dave Hansen's resounding victory
- WisDems: Statement from WisDems Chairman Mike Tate on 22nd State Senate District GOP primary
- WisDems: VanderSleaze update: "He's going to kill me"
- WisGOP: Statement from Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

 10:48 PM 

Steitz touts experience in looking ahead to race with Wirch

Dems have been trying to use Jonathan Steitz's work as a corporate attorney against him.

But he says that work, coupled with once owning a small business, give him the perspective needed to help improve the economy in the 22nd SD.

"My vision and my argument is we need to get away from the class warfare rhetoric that Bob Wirch likes to spout, and we need to have an understanding that we have to get the tax burden on businesses down to encourage business to relocate here," Steitz said in a phone interview after winning the GOP primary. "It needs to be more than just special interest tax breaks and one-time breaks like a TIF district. It needs to be systematic change."

With 100 percent of the vote in, Steitz had 5,981 votes, or 64 percent, while Kenosha County Supv. Fred Ekrornaas had 3,369 votes, or 36 percent. Steitz will face Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, in the Aug. 16 general election.

If elected, Steitz's stay in the Senate could be short. Under legislation working its way through the Legislature this week, Steitz would not live in the 22nd SD as configured for the 2012 election. Even if he moved into the proposed district, which would largely cover the city of Kenosha and part of Racine, it is projected to be so solidly Dem that it would be difficult at best for any Republican to hold the seat.

Steitz said he didn't bother worry about things like the legal challenges filed in the recall process because he couldn't control the outcome. Likewise, he's putting redistricting in that category.

"You just never know where things are going to end up," he said, adding the maps could still change, particularly with an expected legal challenge. "I’m just going to focus on what I can control, beating Bob Wirch in four weeks, and then I'll worry about redistricting after that."

-- By JR Ross


 10:30 PM 

Simac: I have more in common with district

Dem opponents have already tried to paint Tea Party activist, business owner, author and radio host Kim Simac as too extreme for the 12th SD.

But fresh off her win in the GOP primary, she said she has more in common with residents of the north woods than Dem Sen. Jim Holperin.

"He's not going to make me feel bad for who I am," Simac said in a phone interview.

"I know what it’s like to stretch a dollar and not to know where the next paycheck is going to come. I think many people up here can relate to that. What we know how to do is work hard and to bring some commonsense to the table, and that seems to be something that Jim Holperin doesn’t seem to be willing to do."

With 100 percent of the vote in, Simac had 11,301 votes, or 59 percent, to 7,767 votes, or 41 percent for Lincoln County Board Chair Robert Lussow, according to unofficial returns. She will square off with Holperin Aug. 16.

State Dem Chair Mike Tate knocked Simac in a statement immediately after her primary win, accusing her of saying people should be weaned off government programs like Medicare and charging she hasn't paid state taxes in several years.

"While Simac likes to portray herself as an 'everywoman' who will represent real people, her true background reveals a radical agenda and skillful ability to avoid paying state taxes," he said.

Simac, however, said the attacks won't resonate.

"I am just a small business owner," she said. "I’m a mom. I raised a large family. I’ve lived a long time up here, and I think I’m pretty much in line with a lot of people in the north woods. We work hard, we struggle, and we don’t ask for much."

-- By JR Ross


 10:17 PM 

VanderLeest says GOP could have given more support

Though he lost the race, David VanderLeest tells WisPolitics that considering the spending in the race, he did well.

“We were outspent 1,500 to 1 and lost 2 to 1,” he said, adding that the ratio showed his message resonated with voters.

VanderLeest said the party could have offered more support .

“I think the support could have been much greater, given that we were the first one out of the chute,” he said.

VanderLeest said he will continue to pursue his slander lawsuit and claims of illegal collusion with third parties against Hansen and get back to work on his business building wind farms.

-- By David Wise


 9:57 PM 

The Bowzer says Cowles will need to get a job August 9

Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha Na Na just took the podium and congratulated Hansen on his win.

At the end, he projected Nancy Nusbaum would in her race against Republican Rob Cowles, and sang to him the chorus from his 1950s doo-wop classic “Get a Job.”

Bauman told WisPolitics that he joined volunteers in making calls for the Hansen campaign and was in Oshkosh to help out the King campaign. He said he will continue to help out through August 16.

Bauman, who has been active nationally in Democratic politics, told WisPolitics that the GOP's plan of blaming the country's problems on regular working people would backfire on them.

He stressed the significance of electoral battles in Wisconsin, and motioning to the crowd, said that while Wisconsinites are among the best people, “this is the wrong bunch of people to get upset.”

-- By David A. Wise


 9:44 PM 

Simac wins 12th SD GOP primary

The Associated Press has declared Tea Party activist Kim Simac the winner in the 12th SD GOP primary.

With three-fourths of the vote in, she led Lincoln County Board Chair Robert Lussow 61 percent to 39 percent.

-- By JR Ross


 9:26 PM 

Hansen says victory is a first step

In an energetic victory speech Sen. Dave Hansen thanked supporters for their help and said today's vote sets the stage for Dems retaking the state Senate.

“It's the first step; On Aug 9 Nancy Nusbaum and five others, great candidates, have a real chance of changing the balance in the state Senate,” he told the crowd of several hundred to wild cheers.

Hansen noted that while many believed it would be an easy victory, all of three Assembly members from the district are Republican.

“It's not an easy district, and it hasn't been,” Hansen said, as he declared victory over VanderLeest to cheers of “Dave, Dave, Dave

“This election means a lot to this country,” Hansen said. “It's a first step in moving us forward."

Borrowing a line from Steve Kagen, who was in the crowd, Hansen said some people believe government and politics is for the wealthy

“I say it's about our seniors, our children and the working men and women of this state,” he said to cheers.

Following his speech, activists in the crowd repeated a refrain popular during the Capitol protests over the budget repair bill: “Show me what Democracy Looks like! This is What Democracy looks like!”

-- By David A. Wise


 9:11 PM 

Simac holding lead

With just more than half of the vote now in, Kim Simac continues to hold a good-sized lead on Robert Lussow in the 12st SD GOP primary.

Simac had 4,754 votes, or 60 percent, to 3,227, or 40 percent, for Lussow.

-- By Staff


 8:58 PM 

Hansen wins

Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen today easily beat back a challenge by Republican David VanderLeest.

The Associated Press projected Hansen will win the 30th SD recall election. With 65 percent of the vote in, Hansen was up 69 percent to 31 percent.

During his victory speech, he told supporters people around the country call Senate Dems heroes for leaving the state in an attempt to stop the guv's collective bargaining changes. But he said the people in the room were the real heroes.

"It all starts here in northeastern Wisconsin," Hansen said, referencing the rest of the recall general elections, which take place next month.

-- By David Wise


 8:53 PM 

Hansen supporters energized

The Hansen party is in full swing now, with a couple hundred packing the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay.

The crowd cheered as early numbers from Brown County showing Hansen up 68 percent to 30 percent.

There's good energy in the crowd as people are chatting over complimentary beer and soda, while some are munching on chicken wings, cocktail wieners in barbeque sauce, cheese, sausage and crackers and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Nancy Nusbaum, who's taking on Sen. Rob Cowles in a recall Aug. 9, is at the party, chatting with friends and supporters. She and Hansen share a campaign office, and she says she impressed by the dedication of the volunteers, who were out knocking on doors in sweltering heat.

-- By David Wise

 8:50 PM 

Hansen well on his way

Sen. Dave Hansen appears on the verge of beating back the recall challenge of Republican David VanderLeest.

With 56 percent of the precincts in, he's leading 69 percent to 31 percent.

-- By Staff


 8:33 PM 

Results start trickling in

Here are some early returns:

12th SD: Kim Simac 177 votes, or 58 percent, Robert Lussow 127 votes, or 42 percent with 5 percent in.

22nd SD: Jonathan Steitz 857 votes, or 67 percent, Fred Ekornaas 425 votes, or 33 percent, with 9 percent in.

32nd SD: Sen. Dave Hansen 3,126 votes, or 67 percent, David VanderLeest 1,553 votes, or 33 percent, with 14 percent in.

-- By Staff


 8:06 PM 

Hansen arrives at party

Hansen has arrived at his election night party, following an extraordinary session of the Senate to vote on redistricting.

Hansen said he feels good about the numbers and expects to be celebrating tonight.

A couple dozen people have arrived for Hansen's party, and Hansen is splitting time between chatting with supporters and doing media interviews.

VanderLeest told WisPolitics this evening that he did not know where he would be to watch returns come in.

-- By David Wise


 5:41 PM 

Steady turnout in SD 30; lower turnout in GOP primaries

Turnout has been steady in the first of nine recall elections this summer as incumbent Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, faces GOP recall organizer David VanderLeest in the 30th SD.

The Green Bay city clerk's office reported about 18 percent voter turnout as of 3:30 p.m., adding polling places in the city have seen steady activity from voters.

And on the northern edge of the 30th, Marinette City Clerk Jim Anderson projected a final turnout of at least 30 percent.

Anderson said there have been lines at his city's single polling location, but attributed those to new requirements for voters to sign pollbooks rather than an unexpected high turnout.

Meanwhile, turnout has been modest at best in today's GOP Senate primaries.

In the 22nd, Kenosha City Clerk Mike Higgins said turnout has been "really slow" -- likely less than 10 percent as of 1:30 p.m.

Burlington City Clerk Beverly Gill said turnout was just under 9 percent as of 3:30 p.m. and the Pleasant Prairie village clerk's office says they were at about 10 percent turnout as of 4 p.m.

And in the 12th, Merrill City Clerk Bill Heideman said turnout was just under 15 percent as of about 2:30 p.m. Heideman said that's slightly above average for a primary, but that he had expected a bit more activity because of all the advertising in the race.

The primaries will pick the candidates to go up against Dem Sens. Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch on Aug. 16.


 5:22 PM 

Hansen, VanderLeest work on Election Day turnout

Campaigns in Green Bay's 30th Senate District are doing what they can to turn out the vote today.

Hansen's campaign has about 75 people out in the field in Green Bay alone and others in Oconto, Peshtigo and Marinette, according to campaign manager Jay Wadd. Volunteers are also working the phones, he said.

Wadd said observers reported congestion at the polls in Marinette, which consolidated its polling areas into one. He said the issue was being resolved. There was also some confusion regarding ID requirements, but no major issues, he said.

Still unclear is when Hansen will be in the district. He was in Madison for today's Senate session.

VanderLeest said he has about 25 volunteers out in the district holding signs on street corners, but the campaign isn't doing doors. The campaign is also making robocalls. He said 80,000 have gone out so far.

"We're working right up until 8 o'clock," he said.

-- By David A. Wise


 10:16 AM 

Senate recalls: One general election and two primaries set for today

Voters head to the polls today in three Senate recall elections, including one to decide whether Dem Sen. Dave Hansen will keep his seat.

The Hansen race in Green Bay is the first general recall election of the summer.

The other two races today are GOP primaries. Voters will pick which Republican will face Dem incumbents Jim Holperin of Conover and Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie. In Holperin's 12th, Lincoln County Board Chair Robert Lussow faces Tea Party activist Kim Simac. In Wirch's 22nd, Kenosha County Board Supervisor Fred Ekornaas faces attorney Jonathan Steitz.

The general elections in those races will be Aug. 16.

See more background on the races and the recalls:

WisPolitics recall section

- SD 30 general: It's Hansen (D) v. VanderLeest (R) in recall season's first general election
- SD 22 GOP primary: GOP primary to find Wirch foe pits former sheriff vs. attorney in first race
- SD 12 GOP primary: Lussow playing catch-up to Holperin recall organizer Simac


Monday, July 18, 2011

 11:37 PM 

VanderLeest promises suit; DOJ says claims of investigation 'premature'

GOP Senate candidate David VanderLeest announced plans Monday to sue Sen. Dave Hansen and various Dem groups for slander, while charging many of the same organizations are now the subject of an investigation for illegally coordinating campaign activity.

A state Department of Justice spokesman said the agency received a two-page complaint Monday morning raising the allegations. But he said it was “premature” to suggest there was an investigation.

Opponents have highlighted VanderLeest’s police record, which includes allegations of domestic violence. The Republican said in a statement Monday he has never been found guilty of abusing anybody or domestic violence in the state of Wisconsin.

He also said he planned to sue Hansen’s campaign, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, We are Wisconsin, PolitiScoop, The Green Bay Progressive and One Wisconsin Now for making false accusations against him.

He also claimed Hansen’s campaign, the DLCC, the GWPF, We Are Wisconsin, the state Dem Party, the Brown County Democratic Party and One Wisconsin Now are being investigated by the Government Accountability Board and the Wisconsin DOJ for civil and criminal racketeering violations stemming from coordinating political activity.

“For anyone to say all these slanderous mailings along with the various slanderous TV commercials ran against me were not coordinated would be a complete denial of the obvious,” VanderLeest said.

State Dem Chair Mike Tate called the accusations “totally baseless legal threats that do more damage to the English language than to any of the actors whom he has threatened.”

DOJ’s Steve Means said the agency will review the complaint, as it does with any correspondence it receives. Still, the agency does not normally investigate allegations under the federal racketeering statute, which VanderLeest alleged, though Wisconsin has a similar state law. He also said he was unsure if allegations of coordinated political activity would constitute a violation of federal racketeering laws.

The two-page complaint offers no evidence of coordinated activity other than a statement that it is “evident that these groups are working together, pooling resources, staff, and coordinating their efforts.”

-- By JR Ross


 8:48 PM 

July 18 PM recall roundup

* Pasch campaign: "Midnight" 30-second TV ad

* Hopper Campaign: Operating Engineers 139 endorses Senator Randy Hopper
* Media Trackers: Clark flips position on education funding
* Pasch Campaign: New ad, 'Sen. Darling fought to pay fired cops-- even those charged with rape'
* Sauk Co. GOP: Republicans open Baraboo Victory Center
* VanderLeest Campaign: Transcript
* WisDems: 1.6 billion reasons new political ad is misleading
* WisDems: Did Sen. Hopper commit voter fraud? -- so where did Randy live?
* WisDems: Randy Hopper cheats voters of the truth
* WisDems: Scott Walker predicts GOP defeat
* WisDems: Shady conservative hit group smears Fred Clark with blatantly misleading attack ad
* WisGOP: Pasch supporters disregard the law


 1:29 PM 

Poll: Hansen 62, VanderLeest 34

A new survey for the liberal website Daily Kos has Dem Sen. Dave Hansen with a commanding lead over GOP challenger David VanderLeest just ahead of tomorrow's recall election.

The poll found 62 percent of those surveyed backed Hansen, D-Green Bay, compared to 34 percent who supported VanderLeest. The rest were undecided.

Of those polled, 59 percent approved of Hansen's job performance, compared to 38 percent who disapproved. Meanwhile, 63 percent of those polled had a negative impression of VanderLeest, whose police record has been fodder for opponents. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed had a positive impression of him.

The survey of 1,301 likely voters by the Dem firm Public Policy Polling was conducted Friday through Sunday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Tomorrow's race in the 30th SD is the first of the general elections in the nine recalls that have been certified against incumbent state senators. The other general elections will be Aug. 9 and Aug. 16.

-- By JR Ross


Friday, July 15, 2011

 5:42 PM 

Recall roundup for July 15

* Hopper campaign: "63" 30-second TV ad
See the press release
* Republican State Leadership Committee: "Budget Hole" 30-second TV ad

* GAB: Lessons learned from Tuesday's election about the new Voter ID law
* GAB: Voter photo ID public information and public education plan receives legislative approval
* Hopper Campaign: King's attacks "recycled garbage"
* Moore Campaign: Shelly Moore accepts four debates
* We Are Wisconsin PAC: Alberta Darling continues to dishonestly deny her support for gutting Medicare


 3:46 PM 

Dem poll: Pasch 47, Darling 46

Rep. Sandy Pasch was neck-and-neck with GOP Sen. Alberta Darling in a new Dem poll released today.

The survey, done by The Mellman Group, showed 47 percent of those polled backed Pasch, compared to 46 percent for Darling.

In May, the firm found Darling had a nine-point lead, 48-39.

The Mellman polling memo attributed the shift to independent voters turning away from Darling, R-River Hills. In the May poll, independents backed her 47-34. Now, they're split 42-42.

The survey also found 45 percent approved of the job Darling is doing, while 48 percent disapproved. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed approved of the job Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, is doing, while 31 percent did not.

The phone survey of 350 likely voters was done July 13-14 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

UPDATE: 4:19 p.m. -- Committee to Elect a Republican Senate executive director John Hogan dismissed the survey as "a partisan poll done by a known Democratic polling firm."

"Senator Darling plugged a $3.6 billion deficit created by Sandy Pasch and Jim Doyle, without raising taxes," Hogan said. "Senator Darling's responsible cuts to government spending are leaving taxpayers, school systems, and job creators better off. Voters wanted their senator to pass a budget without killing more jobs, and that's why they'll re-elect Senator Darling on August 9th."

-- By JR Ross


Thursday, July 14, 2011

 9:16 PM 

Recall roundup for July 14

* CERS: Holperin attempts to influence judge on behalf of campaign donor, complaint filed
* Harsdorf Campaign: Hudson boosters call out Moore for parade lies and rule violations
* Harsdorf Campaign: Shelly Moore identified as Liar, Liar "Pants on Fire" in Politifact
* We Are Wisconsin PAC: 27 days: Final countdown of Randy Hopper’s political career starts today
* We Are Wisconsin PAC: Constituents demand answers on how wealthy Rob Cowles avoided taxes
* WisDems: GOP, Scott Walker must demand Dave VanderLeest withdraw from recall race
* WisGOP: Shelly Moore busted for "misleading" and "ridiculous" flier


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

 10:36 PM 

Recall roundup for July 14

* Clark campaign: 30-second TV ad "Independent Leader"
* Cowles campaign: 30-second TV ad " Controlling Spending"
* Holperin campaign: 30-second TV ad "Ungrateful"
* King campaign: 30-second TV ad "Working for Me"
* RNC: 30-second TV ad "Change Direction 2"
See the release
* We are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Not on Our Side, Not Anymore"
* We Are Wisconsin: 30-second TV ad "Off the Hook"

* Pasch campaign: Darling ducks debates
* Republican Party of Wisconsin: Shelly Moore, handpicked embarrassment
* SEIU Wisconsin: Recall primaries show Wisconsin still fired up
* Sen. Cowles: Announces endorsement of two independent-minded county execs
* United Steelworkers: Pleased with Wisconsin primary results
* We are Wisconsin: New ad, "Luther Olsen: Off the hook"
* We Are Wisconsin: New ad, "Sheila Harsdorf's just not on our side, not anymore"
* WisDems: Launches "Hypocritical Harsdorf" website
* WisDems: Pay back Wisconsin


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

 11:52 PM 

Recall roundup from July 12

* DLCC: 30-second TV ad "Guess"
* Wisconsin Women Vote!: 30-second TV ad "Send Kapanke Packing"
* Women Vote: 30-second TV ad "Ladder"

* CERS: Holperin steals video for campaign ad, violates copyright laws
* Clark Campaign: Clark wins primary
* Committee to Elect a Republican Senate: Statement on Dem primary elections
* Darling Campaign: Statement on primary election results
* Election Defense Alliance: GAB shutting down non-partisan exit polls in Wisconsin
* Harsdorf Campaign: Statement on primary election results
* Hopper Campaign: Response to the primary election results
* King Campaign: Jess King defeats plant in primary despite Republican best efforts
* King Campaign: New King ad focuses on Sen. Hopper's chronic tax avoidance
* Media Trackers: ActBlue nationalizes Wisconsin recall elections
* Moore Campaign: Moore wins fake Democratic primary
* Nusbaum Campaign: Nusbaum handily wins primary
* Olsen Campaign: Response to the primary election results
* Pasch Campaign: Statement on primary victory
* We Are Wisconsin: Statement on WI Dem recall primaries
* Wisconsin Jobs Now: Darling no friend to unemployed
* Wisconsin State AFL-CIO: GOP attempts to trick Wisconsinites, but working families can't be fooled
* WisDems: Canceled! Bob Wirch's GOP opponents too embarrassed to debate Thursday in Kenosha
* WisDems: Small grassroots donations power Bob Wirch's huge fundraising success over GOP rivals
* WisDems: Voters in 32nd Senate District enthusiastically support Shilling
* WisGOP: Flawed Dem field moves on to general election


 11:33 PM 

Clark says victory shows grassroots organizing beats special interest spending

Rep. Fred Clark says his big win in the primary election shows old-fashioned campaigning trumps special interest ad spending.

“What I and our volunteers took away is that grassroots campaigning still works,” Clark said, who has been targeted in ads by outside groups.

Clark, D-Baraboo, said 250 volunteers were out in the district today knocking on doors and talking to voters about the importance of the primary.

“The results at the polls show people get it,” he said.
Clark will face Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, in the Aug. 9 recall election. Clark handily defeated GOP “protest” candidate Rol Church 67-33 percent.

Clark said his campaign will focus on Olsen’s support for Gov. Scott Walker’s budget, especially programs for senior citizens and cuts to public schools.

“Do we want to continue to support one of the best public school systems in the nation, or do we want to let it die on the vine and send our children to private academies?” he asked.

“We’ll be talking about how to balance the budget in a tough time that shares the sacrifices both equally and fairly.”

-- By Greg Bump


 11:23 PM 

Shilling says election will be referendum on Walker, Kapanke

Despite running away with a huge victory in the primary, Rep. Jennifer Shilling said she wasn’t taking anything for granted against the GOP “protest” candidate fielded against her.

“We took tonight very seriously because there really is no playbook for recalls in the middle of the summer here in Wisconsin,” Shilling, D-La Crosse, said. “I’m really glad we had a strong turnout by our supporters throughout the 32nd and we are continuing to gain momentum.”

Shilling rolled to a big win over James Smith, who Republicans placed on the primary ballot to push back the general election. Shilling will now face Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, on Aug. 9.

She said the general election will be both a referendum on GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s budget and Kapanke’s representation of the district. She said there’s a strong feeling of dissatisfaction in the 32nd Senate District.

“Senator Kapanke has been toeing the line at every opportunity,” she said.

-- By Greg Bump


 11:17 PM 

King says results show voters ready to "take back their government"

Jessica King said her resounding victory in the Dem primary is a rejection of the “dirty politics” employed by Republicans, who fielded fake Democrats to stall recall elections.

"I think the takeaway is that citizens in this district got the chance to do something positive," King said. "For the past six months they've felt like they have a government that is no longer listening to them … now we’re seeing (voters) first opportunity to stand up and take back their government."

King defeated John Buckstaff 61-39 percent. She will now face off against Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, in the Aug. 9 general election.

King, an attorney and the deputy mayor of Oshkosh, ran against Hopper in 2008, losing by less than 200 votes.

King said she will focus on Hopper’s support for Gov. Scott Walker’s budget and the “overreach” that includes giving the guv more political appointees.

“He’s been carrying the governor’s agenda,” she said of Hopper.

King said she will debate Hopper on July 18 at an event set up by the League of Women Voters at Oshkosh City Hall.

-- By Greg Bump


 9:51 PM 

All 6 Democratic candidates defeat "fake" Dems in primaries

With the AP calling the final two races, all six of Democrats running in primaries across the state against GOP "protest" candidates running as Democrats in Tuesday's recall primaries have won their respective races.

The GOP ran the candidates in order to give GOP candidates more time to campaign.

The latest races called:

The 10th SD primary, in which Democrat Shelly Moore defeated GOP protest candidate Isaac Weix. According to unofficial returns, Moore was up 54 percent to 46 percent with 91 percent reporting. Moore will take on Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, in the northwestern Wisconsin district's Aug. 9 general election.

See Moore's statement here.

The 8th SD Primary in southeastern Wisconsin, in which Democrat Sandy Pasch beat GOP protest candidate Gladys Huber. Unofficial returns had Pasch up 66 percent to 34 percent, with 84 percent reporting. Pasch will take on Sen. Alberta Darling in the general election.

See Pasch's statement here.

See Darling's statement here.
-- By David Wise


 9:41 PM 

Nusbaum happy with win, but chides GOP for 'cynical, costly exercise'

Though pleased with her victory, Nancy Nusbaum said it was a strange feeling winning an election against an opponent who was admittedly a Republican running as a Democrat in the 2nd SD.

The GOP ran Otto Junkermann as a Democrat in the district in order to give Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Cowles more time to campaign. The party ran “protest candidates” in all six primaries today.

“The bright side is we had a wonderful four weeks with literally hundreds of volunteers putting in thousands of hours,” Nusbaum told WisPolitics.com. “We took it seriously. We ran a campaign that I feel really good about.

“The downside is just a strange feeling of what we just went through was a cynical, costly exercise that burdened Wisconsin taxpayers at a time when we can least afford it.”

She called the primary a “phony primary” against a “fake candidate.”

“You win it and you think, 'what did we just win?” Nusbaum said.

But she said given that some Republicans encouraged votes for Junkermann as a proxy vote for Cowles, she feels good about the margin and is looking forward to the Aug. 9 general election.

As the election approaches, she said she expects her campaign and the enthusiasm about it to grow.

“If the past four weeks were any indication, we are in for quite a ride in the next four weeks,” Nusbaum said.

-- By David Wise


 9:37 PM 

King defeats Buckstaff in SD 18 primary

Jessica King has been declared the winner of the 18th Senate District primary.

With 71 percent of precincts reporting, King, of Oshkosh, has a 67 percent to 33 percent lead over "fake" Dem candidate John Buckstaff.

The win sets up King with an Aug. 9 general election showdown with Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac.

See King's statement here.

See Hopper's statement here.

-- By Greg Bump


 9:33 PM 

Clark declared winner in 14th SD primary

Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, has advanced through the primary to take on Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon.

With 92 percent of the results in, Clark has a 67 percent to 33 percent advantage over GOP "protest candidate" Rol Church.

The general election is Aug. 9.

See Clark's statement here.

See Olsen's statement here.
-- By Greg Bump


 9:19 PM 

Shilling declared winner

Rep. Jen Shilling, D-La Crosse, has been declared the winner of the 32nd Senate District primary.

With 43 percent reporting, Shilling has a 71 percent to 29 percent margin over James Smith.

See the Shilling statement here.

-- By Greg Bump


 9:15 PM 

Dems beating "fake" challengers

In addition to Nancy Nusbaum gaining an early victory over the "fake Dem" candidate in her primary, other Dem candidates are putting up strong results.

The closest race is in the 10th SD, where Shelly Moore is holding a 54-46 advantage over Isaac Weix with 70 percent reporting in the western Wisconsin race. Moore is trying to advance to take on GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf in the general recall election.

Other GOP "protest candidates" aren't fairing as well. State Rep. Jen Shilling of La Crosse has a commanding 74-26 over James Smith in the La Crosse-area 32nd SD. Shilling is looking to take on GOP Sen. Dan Kapanke.

In the 18th SD, Jessica King of Oshkosh is beating John Buckstaff 67-33 percent. King would face GOP Sen. Randy Hopper.

In the 14th SD, state Rep. Fred Clark of Baraboo has a 64-36 advantage over Rol Church. Clark would face GOP Sen. Luther Olsen of Ripon.

In the 8th SD, state Rep. Sandy Pasch looks to be cruising ahead to a matchup with GOP Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills. Pasch holds a 61-39 lead over Gladys Huber.

Follow results here.

-- By Greg Bump


 8:57 PM 

AP declares Nusbaum winner

The Associated Press has declared Nancy Nusbaum the winner in the 2ndSD primary against Otto Junkermann, a GOP "protest candidate" running as a Democrat. With 60 percent of the vote in, Nusbaum was ahead 64 percent to 36 percent.

Nusbaum will face Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, in the Aug. 9 general election.

See the Nusbaum statement here.

-- By David Wise


 8:51 PM 

Taylor wins 48th Assembly seat

Chris Taylor has won the six-way Democratic primary race in the 48th Assembly District, according to unofficial returns.

With all precincts reporting, Taylor received 31 percent of the vote. The second place finisher, Vicky Selkowe, got 23 percent. Fred Arnold finished third with 14 percent, Bethany Ordaz and Andy Heidt received 11 percent each, and Dave de Felice got 10 percent. (See the results here.)

No Republicans registered, and Taylor will be unopposed in the August general election to replace former Rep. Joe Parisi, who won the Dane County exec's office this spring.

-- By Greg Bump


 5:11 PM 

Recall primary turnout largely slow, steady

Turnout in recall primaries throughout the state has been slow but steady so far, according to most local election officials who spoke with WisPolitics this afternoon.

But in the 10th SD, where Dem Shelly Moore is up against GOP "protest candidate" Isaac Weix, River Falls Clerk Lu Ann Hecht said turnout has been “way above normal” for a primary and was looking more like turnout in a presidential race.

She said there were already about 600 absentee ballots and estimated that there were between 500 and 600 ballots cast in the morning. Should the morning trend continue, she said turnout could be high as 40 percent, compared to the usual 3 percent to 7 percent observed in a normal primary. Republicans in the district put out robocalls ahead of today’s election trying to get supporters to vote for Weix in the Dem primary.

The Village of Balsam Lake, also in the 10th SD, hit 65 voters by 1 p.m. out of 566 registered voters, a higher turnout than expected.

In the 14th SD, now held by GOP Sen. Luther Olsen, the city of Portage reported 11 percent turnout as of 1:30 p.m., with steady activity but no lines of voters at polling locations. Ripon reported "steady but slow" turnout, with Waupaca County likening turnout to any other small, local election.

Next door in GOP Sen. Randy Hopper's 18th SD, the city of Fond du Lac said turnout has been steady but "not overly busy" at polling locations. The city of Omro said about 22 percent of voters had turned out by mid-afternoon, and that officials estimate a total 32 percent turnout for the primary.

In GOP Sen. Dan Kapanke's 32nd SD, the Onalaska county clerk said turnout was about 20 percent this afternoon, with a total projected turnout of 30 percent by the end of the day. La Crosse city clerk's office said the expected turnout should end up at the 36 percent level -- same as the spring election -- and some polling locations have been relatively busy through the first part of Election Day.

And the Green Bay clerk's office said turnout was about 11 percent by the 2 p.m. count of the city's four polling locations as voters weigh in on the 2nd SD Dem primary involving GOP Sen. Rob Cowles.

-- By Staff


 2:26 PM 

Group told to move exit poll

Volunteers working in coordination with a national election watchdog group to conduct exit polling at two polling places in the 8th Senate District have been told they were violating electioneering laws.

Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said the individuals were set up outside polling places in Menomonee Falls and Butler. According to Magney, the exit poll takers would inform voters as they entered that they were conducting an exit poll, and as the voters exited they would hand them a ballot with the candidate's names and ask them to fill it out and return it.

State law prohibits making contact with voters before they enter the polling place and the distribution of materials 100 feet of polling places on election days, and also prohibits the handing out of materials with candidates' names on them, Magney said.

Police were called and the exit poll was moved to comply with the laws.

Sally Castleman, national chairperson of Election Defense Alliance, said the information being passed out was not electioneering and should not have been interpreted that way.

"It feels like the GAB is making up these laws as they go along," Castleman said.

"Exit polling in this country has been going on for decades. To call it 'electioneering’ simply because candidates names appear on the poll ballot, when all names appear without any advocacy involved, is absurd," said the group's director Jonathan Simon in a press release.

The group advocates for the end of computerized vote-counting and wants a return to hand-counting of ballots.

-- By Greg Bump


 1:37 PM 

Dane County voters object to new voter ID requirements, signing poll book

Some Dane County voters are not happy about new voting requirements Republicans put in place ahead of this summer's elections, expressing their frustration as they vote in the primary for the heavily-Dem 48th Assembly District.

Voters are now required to sign a poll book before voting. Also, poll workers are asking voters to show a photo ID. Though an ID is not required to vote today, it will be in elections starting next year and poll workers have been instructed to request an ID as a test run.

According to clerk's offices in the 48th AD, some voters are expressing frustration over the new requirements and berating poll workers in Madison, Monona and the Town of Blooming Grove. The clerk's office in McFarland said there had been only a few complaints so far; one voter refused to sign the book, instead signing with an "X."

The city of Madison reported 1,904 votes out of 26,328 registered voters in the district, or about 7 percent, as of 11 a.m. In McFarland, 269 votes were cast as of 11 a.m., or just over 5 percent of the 5,029 registered voters.

-- By Greg Bump


 10:57 AM 

Dem recall targets lead challengers in fundraising

The three Dem recall targets have a healthy financial edge over their GOP challengers so far.

Kenosha-area Dem Sen. Bob Wirch raised more than triple what his GOP challengers pulled in combined during the two most recent reporting periods, while northern Dem Sen. Jim Holperin has an almost 3-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over the only one of his challengers to file a report so far.

In the three races, candidates were required to turn in a July continuing report covering activity from campaign registration or from the last report through June 30 as well as a pre-election report covering activity from July 1 through July 4. While there will be primaries July 19 in the Wirch and Holperin races, Dem Sen. Dave Hansen faces Republican David VanderLeest in a general election that day.

Hansen, D-Green Bay, reported raising $190,389 in the two most recent reporting periods and spending $126,733. He had $243,147 cash on hand.

VanderLeest didn't have any reports posted at the Government Accountability Board site as of this morning. The Dem lawmakers also didn’t have any reports posted, but the state party provided cover sheets with summaries of their fundraising activities.

In the 22nd SD GOP race, attorney Jonathan Steitz outpaced Kenosha County Board Supv. and former sheriff Fred Ekornaas in fundraising and spending ahead of their primary to take on Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie.

Through July 4, Steitz reported a total of $33,038 in contributions and $21,108 in spending, along with a cash balance of $11,929. Steitz contributed $15,025 to his own campaign.

Ekornaas reported $4,958 in contributions through July 4 and $4,521 in spending, leaving a cash balance of $437. He contributed $168 to his campaign.

Wirch raised $133,337 in the two most recent periods, spent $91,617 and had $141,753 cash on hand.

In the 12th SD, only one finance report had been posted to the GAB site by this morning.

Tea Party activist Kim Simac, who's taking on Lincoln County Board Chair Robert Lussow for a shot at Holperin, only had her pre-primary report that covered July 1 through July 4 posted. Contributions for the four-day period totaled $22,251 and spending reported was $2,191. Simac reported a cash balance of $53,616. The year-to-date columns on the report didn't reflect any activity before July 1.

Holperin reported $186,939 raised in the latest two reporting periods, $114,401 spent and $147,858 cash on hand.

-- By Staff


Monday, July 11, 2011

 7:16 PM 

Dems announce primary night parties

Dem candidates in the six recall primaries to be held Tuesday have announced their party plans for election night.

State Rep. Jennifer Shilling will be at the Radisson Hotel in downtown La Crosse, while fellow Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay will mark the primary at Three Lions Pub in Shorewood. Oshkosh Ald. Jessica King will attend Becket's Restaurant along the Fox River in Oshkosh.

Other candidates will observe the primary at local party offices: Rep. Fred Clark of Baraboo will be at the DPW's Portage office, Shelly Moore will attend a primary event at her campaign office in River Falls, and former Brown Co. Exec. Nancy Nusbaum will be at a Green Bay campaign office.

-- By Andy Szal


 8:57 AM 

Recall primaries in six Senate districts, AD 48th primary on Tuesday

Wisconsin's recall election season officially kicks off Tuesday with primaries to determine opponents for six incumbent Republicans in Aug. 9 contests that will go a long way toward determining which party runs the state Senate.

In these primaries, Democratic Party-favored candidates will have to beat little-known GOP "protest candidates" to get at GOP Senate incumbents Dan Kapanake, Randy Hopper, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Rob Cowles and Alberta Darling.

Then on July 19, the first recall general will be held to see if Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, can hold his seat. Two other Democratic incumbents, Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch, have their recall elections on Aug. 16 facing GOP opponents chosen in July 19 primaries.

If Democrats win three of the recall elections against the GOP incumbents and fend off challenges to their three senators, they'll take control of the state Senate.

Also Tuesday is a special primary in Dane Co.'s Democrat-dominated 48th Assembly District that will determine who takes over for Joe Parisi, who left after being elected Dane Co. executive. No Republicans have filed for the seat.

See a WisPolitics roundup of the recalls here.

-- By Staff


 8:25 AM 

Dem, GOP officials tout momentum heading into recalls

Heading into the recall elections, both the state Democratic and the Republican parties believe they have the momentum.

State GOP Chairman Brad Courtney says the composition of the Senate will remain as it is, while the Dem Party's Phil Walzak says Democrats will retake control.

Courtney and Walzak met to discuss the upcoming elections on Sunday's “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” a statewide TV newsmagazine produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.

According to Courtney, the recall elections have sparked enthusiasm among Wisconsin Republicans. “Our grassroots are fired up, they are proud of their legislators for...really attacking a tough problem,” said Courtney, adding, “the silent majority will speak up again.”

Walzak said he believes the same is true for Wisconsin Democrats. “When we see a budget that has become the signature item of this governor, this Republican majority, and we see what it has done...that's a value issue and that is going to resonate in Wisconsin and everywhere else across the country,” said Walzak.

See more from "UpFront" here.

-- By Staff


Friday, July 8, 2011

 2:00 PM 

Judge denies recall challenges

A Dane County judge this afternoon denied challenges to all nine state Senate recalls, clearing the way for the elections to move forward.

Dems had argued the efforts to gather signatures in the three recalls certified against their incumbents were rife with fraud and should be rejected.

"I reject the notion that there was widespread fraud proven before the Government Accountability Board that was simply ignored without remedy," Judge Richard Niess said this afternoon.

Niess said no standard exists in Wisconsin law to strike all signatures gathered by circulators accused of fraud in the petition process. Instead, Niess said, the signatures are to be gathered individually and challenged individually.

"There was a concerted effort to get to the bottom of it," Niess added, referencing a nine-hour GAB meeting to authorize the recalls of Dem Sens. Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch.

Dem attorney Jeremy Levinson said he had "respectful disagreements" with the decision, but that in the interest of moving the process forward "at this point ... there will be no appeal."

Levinson said he anticipated a greater ability to combat allegations of fraud by the legal system, and said aspects of the decision "suggest that Wisconsin law provides far less tools to protect the system from fraud than we believe to be the case."

"It's a problem," Levinson said.

Meanwhile, Republicans had challenged the recalls certified against their six recalled incumbents, arguing the groups set up to collect signatures were not properly registered with the state.

Niess issued a written statement finding that "the statutes unquestionably authorize the precise procedure" utilized by the committees to recall the Republican senators.

Niess wrote that no state laws or rules require the signing of personal registration statements before filing a recall petition, and, furthermore, that the GAB's original decision conformed to the "strong constitutional mandate guaranteeing the people's right to unrestricted recall elections."

GOP attorney Eric McLeod said he couldn't comment on a potential appeal, but that his clients had been preparing for recall elections all along.

-- By Greg Bump and Andy Szal


 1:45 PM 

Judge will rule on recall petition challenges this afternoon

Dane County Judge Richard Niess will issue a ruling on the Republican and Dem challenges to the validity of recall petitions soon.

The court spent the morning listening to arguments from Dem attorney Jeremy Levinson, who wants the recall petitions filed against three Dem senators invalidated.

Levinson argued that the evidence of fraud in some of the petition pages rejected by the GAB should have prompted the board to invalidate other sheets. By not doing so, the board misapplied the law, he said.

"The board's plain duty is to apply the law," he said.

But Niess said the decision on which signatures to invalidate is up to the GAB.

"Unless they have completely stepped out of bounds, it's their call," Niess said. "The Legislature intended that this be their call."

Eric McLeod, who was arguing the Republican case, said the burden of proof was upon the Dems to prove pervasive fraud, and their evidence fell short of that burden.

"Ultimately what the board did was reject the challenge," McLeod said.

After a lunch break, the court heard testimony from McLeod on why the six petitions filed against Republican senators should be tossed. McLeod has claimed the efforts
weren't properly registered with the GAB.

-- By Greg Bump


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

 9:55 PM 

Dems raise $1.6 million to fuel recalls, Darling holds big bank roll to defend in the 8th SD

GOP Sen. Alberta Darling and her Dem challenger Rep. Sandy Pasch combined to raise almost $1 million in the last reporting period alone.

Darling, R-River Hills, continues to be the most prolific fundraiser among those targeted for recall. Since the beginning of the year, she’s raised $958,412, including $536,478 in the latest reporting period. She spent $354,827 and had $401,382 cash on hand.

Pasch, D-Milwaukee, raised $431,302 and had $216,439 on hand, according to the state Dem Party.

See Darling’s report.

The reports cover activity through June 27 since the candidate's last report. Committees also had the option to report activity through June 30 in order to avoid having to file a separate July continuing report.

Reports for the six GOP senators targeted for recall were posted today at the Government Accountability Board site. None of the reports for their Dem challengers had been posted by late Monday, though the state party reported fundraising totals for its candidates.

Here’s a rundown on each race:

In the 2nd District, Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, raised $100,522, spent $58,625 and had $62,168 cash on hand.

Former Brown County Exec Nancy Nusbaum raised $177,300 and had $133,682 on hand.

See Cowles’ report.

In the 10th, Dem challenger Shelly Moore edged GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf in fundraising for the most recent period, but trailed in cash-on-hand.

Moore raised $236,728 and had cash-on-hand of $91,587.

Harsdorf reported raising $217,566, spending $135,075 and having $141,963 cash on hand. For the year, she's raised $327,733.

View Harsdorf's report.

Isaac Weix, a GOP “protest candidate” running as a Dem in the 10th SD, posted receipts of $1,200 and spending of $750, leaving a cash balance of $480.

See the report.

In the 14th SD, Dem Rep. Fred Clark raised $226,501 and had $163,197 on hand.

GOP Sen. Luther Olsen raised $72,375.68 for the period, spent $36,247 and had $70,656 cash on hand. He has now raised $107,111 for the year

See Olsen’s report.

In the 18th, Dem Jessica King raised $221,932 and had $190,647 cash on hand.

GOP Sen. Randy Hopper reported raising $70,615 in his pre-primary report and spending $82,117. Hopper's July continuing report showed an additional $24,645 in receipts and $26,299 in spending, leaving a balance of $92,461. Since Jan. 1, he's raised $226,708.

View Hopper's pre-primary report.

See the July continuing report.

In the 32nd District, GOP Sen. Dan Kapanke pre-primary report showed $482,218 in contributions and $472,777 in spending. The July continuing report showed an additional $63,386 in contributions and $48,064 in spending, leaving a cash balance of $123,824. Since Jan. 1, Kapanke has now raised $725,913.

Dem Rep. Jen Shilling raised $271,385 and had $156,634 cash on hand.

View Kapanke's pre-primary report.

See the July continuing report.

-- By David Wise


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