• WisPolitics

Read the WisPolitics.com guide to the Aug. 9 primaries

Monday, August 15, 2011

 4:04 PM 

Both sides optimistic on turnout efforts in 12th Senate District

WAUSAU – On the eve of a historic summer election in northern Wisconsin, political leaders say enthusiasm remains high even though the outcome means little to the balance of power in the state Senate.

“Our office is wall-to-wall full here,” Phil Walzak, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said in a telephone interview from Rhinelander on Monday, referring to volunteers. “The shifts are full.”

Matt Capristo, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, estimated 50 to 100 volunteers were making telephone calls and knocking on doors to back his party’s get-out-the-vote strategy at midday Monday.

“We are getting enough (help),” he said. “There is a lot of enthusiasm”

In Tuesday’s District 12 Senate recall, incumbent Jim Holperin, a 60-year-old Democrat with a long resume in government and politics, faces political newcomer Kim Simac, a 52-year-old small business owner, political newcomer and tea party activist who organized Holperin's recall.

District 12 includes all or parts of 11 mostly rural counties, stretching from near Wausau to Marinette, Rhinelander and Eagle River.

Holperin, who narrowly won the seat in November 2008 against another small business owner, survived a similar recall when he was in the state Assembly in 1990 amidst angst over the Chippewa Indians’ reviving special fishing rights retained in century-old treaties.

Holperin and 13 other Democratic senators fled to Illinois in February for three weeks to thwart passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, a move that ultimately failed to block passage of the legislation.

Holperin contends the move was responsible and gave the people of Wisconsin more time to consider Walker’s anti-union changes. Simac’s campaign characterizes the move as walking off the job and leaving constituents with no voice.

No matter the outcome of Holperin’s race, Republicans will keep control of the Senate, after GOP incumbents won four of six recalls last week and one Democrat was re-elected earlier. The only remaining races involve Holperin and fellow Democratic incumbent Robert Wirch. After last week's races, Republicans hold 17 Senate seats and Democrats have 16.

Walzak said the Democratic Party was mounting a “full-fledged voter turnout” for Tuesday with volunteers “eager to protect” Holperin and the gains Democrats made in ousting two Republican senators last week.

“While the Senate didn’t flip, it is a much different Senate than a week ago,” he said. “We made some strides. Moderates and progressives have new influence. Our volunteer pool continues to be strong.”

Elizabeth Novak, an organizer for the Democratic Party in Rhinelander, estimated about 300 different volunteers have worked on Holperin’s behalf, mostly knocking on doors and distributing campaign literature, since Friday.

The campaign has set up “satellite offices” in Antigo, Tomahawk and Merrill for the final push, she said.

“We haven’t changed anything,” she said. “We are doing what we planned to do – making sure we turn out our supporters.”

Capristo said he felt good about his party’s get-out-the-vote effort, predicting up to a 45 percent turnout for the historic recall. Some top Republican officials, including the lieutenant governor, have visited the district to campaign for Simac in recent days.

“There is a reason for this recall,” Capristo said. “People are upset.”

Simac was spending the final hours of her first run for elective office on what she called a “pickup truck tour” of Lincoln and Langlade counties, hauling a 4-foot by 8-foot campaign sign and making stops to shake hands and greet voters, Capristo said.

“We are doing out best to get to every single township,” he said.

Holperin attended an AARP picnic in Rhinelander on Monday and planned a later stop in Antigo, Novak said. He planned to spend much of Tuesday in Vilas County’s Lac du Flambeau, she said.

-- By Robert Imrie
For WisPolitics.com


Back to Election Blog main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

Election Blog site feed

wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us


Updates from WisPolitics.com on primary and general elections in Wisconsin.

Editor: JR Ross
Reporters: Chris Thompson, David Wise

· Election Blog site feed


· Campaign ads
· Audio archive
· Government Accountability Board (state elections)
· Federal Election Commission (federal elections)


· February 2007
· April 2007
· February 2008
· March 2008
· April 2008
· September 2008
· October 2008
· November 2008
· February 2009
· April 2009
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· September 2010
· November 2010
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· August 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications