• WisPolitics


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 1:27 PM 

Prosser says victory was never in doubt

Despite a slim vote margin and lengthy recount process, Supreme Court Justice David Prosser said he never doubted that he would win another term on the state's highest court.

"We thought we had won on April 5 and we never believed otherwise, frankly," Prosser said in a press conference today. (Listen to audio of the press conference here.)

Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general in the state Department of Justice, called Prosser this morning to concede.

"I appreciated her call very, very much and am very pleased that the election is now over," Prosser said.

It was a rigorous campaign, but he said he comes away with a renewed appreciation for the process and for the voters.

"The campaign has been something of an ordeal," Prosser said. "It has been an ordeal but I have come through the experience with a greater appreciation of our political process and enormous gratitude for the people of Wisconsin."

During a press conference in which she recounted many "anomalies and irregularities," Kloppenburg said the recount should serve as a "wake-up call" for the need to reform the election process.

Prosser didn't indicate that he thinks there is a need for widespread reform.

"The electoral system involves people, and people are human and people make errors," he said. "But when you look at the whole election, the number of errors is really very small. And I think the people of Wisconsin can have great confidence in the overall operation of our electoral system."

Prosser was appointed to the Supreme Court in September 1998 and elected to 10-year term in 2001. He will be sworn in for another 10-year term in August.

-- By Greg Bump

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 1:27 PM 

Committees seeking Dem recalls blast GAB

Representatives of committees seeking to recall three Senate Dems accused the Government Accountability Board of partisan bias in its decision to delay taking up legal issues raised against their petitions.

Dan Hunt, who leads the effort to recall Sen. Robert Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, called upon GAB Director Kevin Kennedy to resign or for Gov. Scott Walker or the GAB board to force him to do so.

Hunt said the GAB is acting outside of its statutory authority in delaying action beyond the court-authorized extension of June 3 and its decision to lump together all three challenges regarding Democratic senators together amounts to a “blatantly partisan maneuver to further the objectives of a particular party.”

He noted that the board was proceeding with decisions regarding recalls of Republican senators, some of which were filed after those targeting Dems.

He said his group did not oppose the initial extension, but does not support further delay.

“The GAB has had sufficient time to conduct an investigation into any alleged fraud,” Hunt said. “We are of the strong opinion that no fraud has been committed.

“This is an egregious violation of the rights of all the residents of our respective districts and it is clear that Kevin Kennedy is attempting to disenfranchise those people who signed the recall petition.”

He said the Friday afternoon timing of the release of the decision was designed to keep it out of the press away from public scrutiny.

“Rather than reflecting the actions of a government agency which is evenhanded in its dealings, it shows an inherent bias,” Hunt said.

Hunt said the impact of delays on the elections is unclear, and his concern is about how the process is not being followed.

Kim Simac of Eagle River, who's challenging Sen. Jim Holperin in the 12th District, said her committee was careful to follow all of the rules in collecting signatures and called upon the GAB to follow the rules in certifying them.

She defended the use of paid circulators during signature collection, and noted Democrats used them as well.

“I find it very suspicious that the three Democratic recalls have been now lumped together for a delay of certification” Simac said. “GAB is supposed to be a non-partisan committee representing the interests of all Wisconsin citizens. The timing of release has led some to question whether the GAB Board is actually adhering to their non-partisan charter.”

Simac did not call for Kennedy's resignation, and said her concern is that the rules be followed.

David VanderLeest, who's leading the effort to recall Sen. Dan Hansen, D-Green Bay, also called for Kennedy's resignation and for the defunding of the GAB, which he said should be “replaced with a body that can be unbiased, as it's supposed to be.”

He said such a body should be accountable to voters.

“Here we have a biased body that has no check or balance with the voters,” VanderLeest said.

Chris Kliesmet of Citizens for Responsible Government said having the recalls on separate days could set up a situation in which so-called non-partisan organizations would launch large get-out-the-vote efforts during recalls of Republicans but not do so during the recalls of Dems.

“This is all strategy and tactics,” Kliesmet said.

Kliesmet said the board has had enough time to review the petitions, noting that Milwaukee County reviewed more than 181,000 signatures in the recall against Milwaukee County Exec. Tom Ament within the 31-day period allotted.

“We're the veterans of dozens of recalls in this state,” Kliesmet said. “What's going on here is unprecedented.”

Kennedy responded that the GAB was simply trying to get through as much work as possible before seeking more time to complete the other recounts from a Dane County judge this week, and that the Darling recall could be completed by today's meeting since it "didn't have the complexity that the other three did."

"Referees in any situation are always going to be criticized," Kennedy said. He added that he wouldn't dignify most of the comments about the GAB and its staff, saying the agency is dealing with "an incredible amount of work" in a fair, even-handed and impartial manner.

"We do not have the financial resources or the human resources to get this work done," Kennedy said.

Regarding the calls for his own resignation, Kennedy said, "I think my record stands for itself."

-- By David Wise and Andy Szal

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 12:35 PM 

Kloppenburg says recount should serve as a "wake-up call" to fix election system

JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign is sending a letter to the Government Accountability Board summarizing the "anomalies, irregularities and in some cases unexplained mysteries" discovered during the recount process.

Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general in the state Department of Justice, conceded today to incumbent Justice David Prosser following an eight-week recount of the April 5 election. Recount results showed Kloppenburg gained about 300 votes from the original canvass, but still fell more than 7,000 votes short of Prosser's total.

Kloppenburg called Prosser to concede the election prior to the 11 a.m. news conference. (Listen to audio of the new conference here.)

Kloppenburg defended her decision to seek a taxpayer-financed recount due to the irregularities and anomalies it uncovered.

"This recount should serve as a wake-up call to improve Wisconsin's election processes," she said.

Kloppenburg noted that votes were found to be miscounted in every county, more than 150 ballot bags were found to be torn, open or unsealed. She particularly trained her concerns to problems in Waukesha County, where the elections clerk divulged two days after the election that 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield were not counted, swinging the vote total to Prosser's favor.

"Waukesha County had twice as many torn, open or unsealed bags as every other county in the state combined," she said. "In many cases municipal clerks in Waukesha testifed the bags weren't torn when they left cities, towns and villages so the security breaches occurred sometime when the bags were in Waukesha County's custody."

Kloppenburg is calling on the GAB to take steps to improve security, accountability and transparency in the election process. More resources and training are needed for clerks and election volunteers, she said.

Despite the irregularities, Kloppenburg said she decided not to pursue legal remedies to overturn the election because the defects in the process would not overcome the steep standards set in Wisconsin election laws.

"Based on the record established in this recount and based on Wisconsin law, the will of the electors has been determined," she said. "It is time to learn from this recount, fix the problems it uncovered and ensure that future elections are different."

-- By Greg Bump

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 11:16 AM 

Darling recall election approved

The GAB has approved a July 12 recall election for Sen. Alberta Darling, certifying 22,243 valid recall signatures this morning.

Eric McLeod, attorney for the GOP senators, argued the board should throw out the signatures from petitioners who gathered support from outside Darling's district.

But GAB attorneys said they found no evidence of fraud, and that the remedy should be simply to strike those signatures found to be outside the 8th SD.

The GAB voted to accept challenges to 2,813 signatures, leaving organizers well ahead of the 20,343 needed to trigger a recall.

-- By Andy Szal

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Friday, May 27, 2011

 5:30 PM 

GAB delays considering recall petitions against three Dem senators

The Government Accountability Board announced this afternoon it will not take up next week the recall petitions against three Dem senators because of "numerous factual and legal issues" that need to be investigated further.

It also said all of the recall elections may be pushed back from the original target date of July 12 because of the delay.

The GAB noted there were also legal issues raised regarding the petitions against Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, but the board will be ready to consider that petition and those against fellow Republicans Rob Cowles of Green Bay and Sheila Harsdorf of River Hills.

The petitions against Dems Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Jim Holperin of Conover and Bob Wirch of Kenosha will be considered later in the week of June 6.

“Because of the strong likelihood that any finding of sufficiency or insufficiency by the Board will be appealed to a circuit court, it is imperative that the issues raised by these challenges are fully examined, and that a complete record is created for a court to consider,” the board said this afternoon.

GAB staff has been in discussions with its attorney from the Department of Justice about the next steps before a court-ordered June 3 deadline to determine the sufficiency of the recall petitions and order elections.

The board has already certified the recalls against Republicans Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Luther Olsen of Ripon. But the elections have not yet been officially ordered.

See the release.

-- By JR Ross

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

 4:43 PM 

Harsdorf's opponent says SeniorCare preserved 'only in light of the recall efforts'

Dem candidate Shelly Moore charged Wednesday that GOP members of the Joint Finance Committee -- including likely recall election opponent Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls -- only reversed the guv’s plans for SeniorCare for political reasons.

The Joint Finance Committee Tuesday reversed Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal that would require SeniorCare participants to enroll in Medicare Part D.

“Only in light of the recall efforts did the Joint Finance Committee change its opinion,” Moore said in a conference call.

Moore said SeniorCare is an important program for preserving the quality of life for Wisconsin’s senior citizens.

“SeniorCare is too valuable a program to play politics with,” Moore said.

Nathan Duerkop with Harsdorf’s campaign brushed off the suggestion as ridiculous, saying Dems spent the last several months trying to scare retirees that Republicans were trying to take away their SeniorCare benefits.

“What it really comes down to is trying to distract from the policies that they would be pushing for if they were in office, which is protecting their special interest friends, higher taxes and more spending,” he said.

-- By Emma Roller

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 12:13 PM 

PPP: Obama's approval ratings up, leads top GOP contenders

President Barack Obama's approval rating in Wisconsin has ticked up over the last few months, and he has sizable leads on several of his possible GOP opponents, according to a new poll from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling.

The survey found 52 percent of Wisconsin voters surveyed approved of Obama's job performance, while 44 percent disapproved. His approval rating split with independents is 50-43. In February, the split was 49-45.

The president led Mitt Romney 51-39 in the latest survey, Newt Gingrich 53-35 and Sarah Palin 55-36. Part of that might be due to the unfavorable impression Wisconsin voters have of the three Republicans. Romney's favorability split was 29-49, Gringrich's 15-67 and Palin's 32-63.

Paul Ryan, who has said he will not run for president next year, polled best against the president, but still trailed 50-43.

The poll also found Ryan's numbers have dropped in the state since December, when 38 percent have a favorable impression of him, while 30 percent did not. Now, 41 percent approve of him, while 46 percent disapprove.

The poll found much of that drop was due to Dems taking a more negative view of him, while Republicans have rallied behind him and independents were split.

PPP surveyed 1,636 Wisconsin voters May 19-22 through automated phone calls. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Read the polling memo.

-- By JR Ross


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

 1:16 PM 

PPP: Walker trails Feingold, Barrett in hypothetical match ups

Gov. Scott Walker trails both Russ Feingold and Tom Barrett in mythical head-to-head match ups, according to a new survey from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling.

The poll also found the guv’s approval rating at 43 percent vs. 54 percent who disapprove. Those numbers are slightly worse than the 46-52 split PPP found in February at the beginning of the collective bargaining fight.

Half of those surveyed would support recalling Walker, while 47 percent are opposed.

If there was an election held today, Walker would trail Feingold 52-42 and Barrett 50-43. PPP said the difference between the two numbers is largely due to Feingold being better known across the state than Barrett.

While Walker continues to poll well with Republicans, his split with independents is 40-56 compared to 45-53 in February.

The automated phone survey of 1,636 Wisconsin voters was conducted May 19-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

See the polling memo.

-- By Staff


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

 2:25 PM 

Walker sets special election to fill 48th AD

Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order today calling for a special election to fill the Assembly seat vacated by Joe Parisi after he won the Dane County exec’s office.

The primary for the 48th AD will be July 12 with a special election Aug. 9.

The Government Accountability Board hopes to hold recall elections in nine Senate seats around the state on the same days, and Walker’s office said those dates were chosen to reduce the cost to taxpayers and make it easier for the GAB to administer to elections.

-- By Staff

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 12:06 PM 

Poll: Feingold an early favorite for Senate seat

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold leads potential GOP rivals for Herb Kohl's U.S. Senate seat by 10 percentage points or more in a poll released today.

The survey was conducted by Dem polling firm Public Policy Polling. PPP surveyed 1,636 state voters May 19-22 through automated phone calls. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. (See the polling memo.)

In hypothetical match-ups, Feingold leads former Gov. Tommy Thompson 52 percent to 42 percent, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann 53-41, Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen 53-38, and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald 54-39.

Feingold has an overall favorability rating of 51 percent, while only 38 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. By contrast, 42 percent had a favorable view of Thompson, and 42 registered an unfavorable opinion of him.

Feingold isn't the only Dem registering high marks in the survey. U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, has a 46-41 advantage over Neumann in the poll. She leads Van Hollen 46-39, and Fitzgerald 48-37. Head-to-head with Thompson, Baldwin trails 45-44.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, is tied with Thompson 44-44, leads Neumann 44-40, Van Hollen 44-38, and Fitzgerald 45-37.

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen had the weakest results of the Dems tested in the poll. In a hypothetical matchup with Thompson, he trails 45-42. Against Neumann, Kagen holds a 42-41 advantage, and against Van Hollen and Fitzgerald the Appleton Dem holds identical 43-38 leads.

-- By Greg Bump


 11:08 AM 

GAB certifies Kapanke recall election

The Government Accountability Board this morning certified the recall election for GOP state Sen. Dan Kapanke, ordering the staff to set a July 12 election.

The board rejected Kapanke's legal challenge to the recall effort. While it also knocked out 92 signatures from the recall petitions, 21,776 valid signatures remained, well above the 15,588 needed.

The board was set to consider the petitions filed against GOP Sens. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Luther Olsen of Ripon later today. The staff has recommended certifying those elections as well.

-- By Andy Szal

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 10:25 AM 

Prosser grateful results confirmed

Justice David Prosser says he's grateful the final results have been confirmed.

"I want to thank the good people of Wisconsin for their confidence in me," he said in a statement. "I look forward to taking the oath of office and continuing to serve in a fair and independent manner as a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

"I also want to thank the literally hundreds of local election officials and volunteers across the state's 72 counties who spent thousands of hours of their time in this recount. Their dedication went well beyond their normal 'call of duty' and I know the state's residents who they serve share my appreciation for their great efforts in producing an accurate final result."

-- By Staff

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 9:16 AM 

GAB chair signs recount canvass

GAB Chair Judge Thomas Barland signed the canvass in the Supreme Court recount this morning, saying while it didn't result in any significant changes it still shined a light on Wisconsin's election process.

Barland thanked the state's clerks for their work on the count, which showed Justice David Prosser beating Assistant AG JoAnne Kloppenburg by just more than 7,000 votes. The original count had Prosser up by 7,316 votes.

"It did allow us to identify errors that were made," Barland said. "We can be proud of the accuracy of the original result."

The certification means Kloppenburg now has five days to challenge the results in court.

-- By Andy Szal

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

 7:05 AM 

The final (unofficial) numbers

The Government Accountability Board chair will sign the official canvass from the statewide recount in the Supreme Court race at 9 a.m. Monday.

That will start the clock on the five-day window JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign has to challenge the results in court.

The GAB has also posted numbers from the recounts in all 72 counties.

After the original canvass, David Prosser had a 7,316-vote lead with 752,323 votes to 745,007 for Kloppenburg, a lead of 7,006 votes.

After the recount, the unofficial numbers show Prosser with 752,697 votes to 745,691 for Kloppenburg.

The spread sheet with the canvass and unofficial recount numbers can be found here.

Here's the statement from Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken:

"Clerks around Wisconsin have done hard and good work on this recount and all Wisconsin residents owe them thanks. We also thank the hundreds of volunteers across the state who have served as observers.

The recount has uncovered numerous anomalies and irregularities. Vote tallies have changed in every county.

Now, as the process calls for, we will review the record and we will determine, based on the facts, the evidence and the law, whether to request judicial review."

And here's the statement from Prosser campaign director Brian Nemoir:

"Waukesha's deliberate and transparent recount process should both reaffirm Justice Prosser's victory and provide all assurances to our opponent that the results of the election are in fact accurate and no longer cause for ongoing question. The time has come to move on, confident in both or electoral system and Justice Prosser's reelection.

As an attorney, Ms. Kloppenburg would know she has a 'right' to go to court, and as an attorney she should recognize it's not the right thing do."

Our frustration with a potential legal challenge would be shared by the voters, taxpayers and legal community who expect better from Ms. Kloppenburg."

-- By Staff

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Friday, May 20, 2011

 1:12 PM 

GAB staff recommends approving recall elections against three GOP senators

The Government Accountability Board staff has recommended approving recall elections against GOP state Sens. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Luther Olsen of Ripon.

The recall petitions against all three lawmakers are to be taken up by the board on Monday. The board will take up the petitions against the other six lawmakers facing recall the following week.

If approved, the recall elections would be scheduled for July 12.

See the materials for Monday's meeting, including the recommendations:
http://gab.wi.gov/node/1841


-- By Staff

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

 4:06 PM 

Nusbaum formally announces challenge of Cowles

Former Brown County Exec Nancy Nusbaum formally announced today that she will challenge GOP Sen. Rob Cowles in the expected recall election this summer.

"People across our communities are frustrated with the extreme, divisive agenda that has been unleashed upon Wisconsin without any warning, and by career politicians who put the party bosses and special interests ahead of the people they are supposed to represent," Nusbaum said. "I'm running to be your state senator to stand up to these radical policies, fight for our shared values, and to provide the leadership that Sen. Cowles is failing to deliver."

Former Brown County Supv. Rich Langan had previously announced plans to run for the seat as a Dem. But he dropped out of the race earlier this week, citing a family tragedy.

-- By Staff

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 1:08 PM 

GAB posts statement on ballot bags

As JoAnne Kloppenburg’s campaign continues to raise concerns about the condition of ballot bags pulled out for the ongoing recount, the GAB says a hole in the bag or missing security tag “is not enough evidence alone to discard the ballots inside.”

“The ability to put a hand into a ballot bag is not by itself evidence of fraud,” the statement reads.

Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said the statement, which was posted Friday, wasn't meant to address concerns raised by the Kloppenburg campaign. Rather, the agency had received several inquests from bloggers and decided to address the issue at the site.

Waukesha County continues its second count of ballots with a May 26 deadline to finish the work.

Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said Monday anytime a ballot bag isn't properly sealed, it begs the question why, and reasonable people should be concerned any time “bag after bag” in a recount was not properly handled.

She declined to say whether the campaign was preparing for a lawsuit to challenge any results from the recount.

“As I have carefully said and always said, we are going to wait until we see the record of all counties,” Mulliken said.

David Prosser’s campaign director Brian Nemoir said the GAB state is “a clear and strong statement as to the value our state places on the ballot to make sure every legally cast vote is counted.”

-- By JR Ross

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

 1:35 PM 

GAB certifies recall signatures against five senators

The Government Accountability Board has certified sufficient signatures to trigger recall elections against five state senators according to documents posted on the agency's recall website.

The certifications include Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, and four Republicans: Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, Luther Olsen of Ripon and Randy Hopper of Oshkosh. Each has filed challenges to the recall petitions and is awaiting a final determination on the recalls' sufficiency at a GAB meeting later this month.

Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, became the latest to file a challenge to recall petitions Friday; like a number of other Republicans, he alleges the recall organizer did not properly file with the GAB.

The GAB is also evaluating signatures and challenges from recall targets Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, Jim Holperin, D-Conover, and Bob Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie.

-- By Andy Szal


 1:28 PM 

Kloppenburg gains, but Waukesha Co. pivotal for Prosser

According to unofficial vote totals from the 71 counties that have completed recounts of the April 5 Supreme Court election, Justice David Prosser has lost 355 votes to challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

In the official canvass completed before the recount, Prosser held a 7,316-vote lead including Waukesha County.

With much of Waukesha County still to be finished in the recount, Kloppenburg had 721,790 votes to Prosser's 688,152, according to unofficial totals listed on the Government Accountability Board Web site.

But Prosser is expected to add significantly to his vote total once Waukesha County is complete. He carried Waukesha County by 59,505 votes.

Waukesha County has been granted an extension until May 26 to finish its recount.

-- By Greg Bump


 10:45 AM 

Nygren announces challenge to Hansen

State Rep. John Nygren today officially announced that he will take on Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, if a recall election takes place.

In the press release announcing his run, Nygren blasted Hansen and Senate Democrats for their "act of legislative cowardice" in fleeing to Illinois to stall a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, which included controversial provisions to take away almost all collective bargaining from most public employees.

“This is a critical moment in our state’s history and as we have seen, Senate Democrats will go to any length to push their radical, liberal agenda – even flee the state for weeks on end,” said Nygren, R-Marinette. “If the average worker in Peshtigo or Green Bay pulled such a stunt, they would be immediately fired. But instead, Madison liberals and national celebrities heaped praise on their cowardly act in an attempt to protect the status quo of more government taxes and spending. The status quo must end.”

All nine lawmakers who have had recall petitions, including Hansen, filed against them have challenged the papers. The Government Accountability Board is scheduled to rule later this month on whether to certify the elections.

UPDATE: 12:54 p.m.: Hansen says he looks forward to "educating the voters of the 30th district" of Nygren's extreme agenda if there's an election and Nygren wins the primary.

“Whether it's attacking workers' rights, denying our prosecutors the tools they need to keep our communities safe, supporting crippling cuts to our schools or raising taxes on low income working families while supporting more and more tax breaks for corporations, when all is said and done the voters will have a clear choice," Hansen said. "I'm proud of my record and reputation as someone who works hard for hard working families and I am confident that if an election is called the voters will support my efforts at the polls."

-- By Greg Bump

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Monday, May 9, 2011

 9:25 AM 

Waukesha County gets recount deadline extended

Dane County Judge Richard Niess this morning extended until May 26 the deadline for Waukesha County to complete its recount of the state Supreme Court election.

Waukesha County Corporation Counsel Tom Farley told the court the recount is about one-third finished in the county.

"We thought that the 26th would be a good target date and we certainly hope we can do that faster," Farley said. "We're doing our best, we think."

The Government Accountability Board announced late Friday that the other 71 counties are expected to finish the recount by the end of business today. Farley said the Waukesha County canvass board will move to a larger room today and include more counters in an effort to speed up the process.

Attorneys for incumbent Justice David Prosser expressed some concerns that delaying the recount more than necessary increases the likelihood that Prosser's term would expire before a potential judicial review process could be completed.

But Niess said two more weeks is unlikely to affect that Aug. 1 deadline too much, and said the county should be able to sacrifice speed in order to achieve "something that everyone should have confidence in."

Following the hearing, challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg praised the ruling, saying it will ensure that every vote is protected and that all issues are properly recorded and addressed. She said she has every confidence in the work of local election officials thus far during the recount.

"It's a matter of the integrity of the electoral process in Wisconsin," Kloppenburg said.

Prosser campaign spokesman Brian Nemoir said the recount is about 96 percent done statewide and there has been "an unbelievably minor vote change."

"I think everyone's eager for this to be done," he said.

A status conference to update the court on the Waukesha County recount process is set for Friday at 11:30 a.m.

-- By Andy Szal & Greg Bump

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Friday, May 6, 2011

 4:19 PM 

GAB says all counties, except Waukesha, will finish Supreme Court recount Monday

The Government Accountability Board announced today that all counties except Waukesha are expected to complete recounts of the state Supreme Court election by the statutory deadline of 5 p.m. Monday.

"Waukesha County’s recount is taking longer than expected, and we will seek a court extension of the deadline on Monday morning," said GAB director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy. "At this time, it is too early to say how much additional time Waukesha County will need."

UPDATE: 6:44 p.m. -- JoAnne Kloppenburg's campaign said the additional time for Waukesha County is warranted considering the issues uncovered there, while David Prosser's campaign said it hopes the extra scrutiny will ease his opponent's concerns so "we can move on."

Melissa Mulliken, Kloppenburg's campaign manager, said there continue to be issues in Waukesha County with how the ballots were treated after the initial count, particularly ballot bags that weren't properly sealed to prevent any tampering.

"They have had a number of issues there that have slowed down the recount, and the retired judge who’s presiding over that recount is creating a very thorough record of what’s going on," she said. "Obviously, we think and I think the people of Wisconsin would think they ought to do this recount thoroughly and if they need more time, they need more time."

Added Brian Nemoir, Prosser's campaign director: "The recount in Waukesha has progressed slower than expected, and it would be our hope that the extraordinary attention to detail eases any concerns our opponent may have, and we can move on.

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 3:57 PM 

Kloppenburg campaign contines to raise objections in Waukesha County

JoAnne Kloppenburg’s campaign today again raised objections to ballot bags that were not properly sealed, raising concerns about the integrity of those ballots.

The objections raised today pertained to bags containing Brookfield votes, and Bill Hotz, representing the Kloppenburg campaign, objecting to the first five bags to be counted. They showed holes along the top, on either side of the bags’ seals, along with some seals that were pulled apart.

In addition, the numbers on two of the bags did not match those on inspectors’ election night logs.

“The integrity of the ballot count is only as good as the integrity of condition of the bags,” he said.

The five bags in the second batch were much better sealed, but none of them had seal numbers, although the bag tag numbers did match the inspectors’ logs. Kloppenburg’s campaign asked that it be noted for the record that there was no evidence the bags were sealed.

But in each case, retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley, who was brought in to oversee the recount, allowed the ballots to be counted.

Today’s objections continue a string of concerns that the Kloppenburg campaign has raised about the handling of the votes in Waukesha County.

As the ballot bags were examined, Mawdsley held up each one and described in detail the condition of the seal and the size of any openings along the top. Bags were opened along the bottom to remove ballots for the recount, leaving the condition of the tops intact.

“Because objections have been raised, we are preserving the evidence,” Mawdsley told WisPolitics.

Kloppenburg observer Eugene Barufkin said he hopes the recount will lead to statewide improvements in Election Day practices. In particular, he’d like to see ballots counted at each polling site before the vote and unused ballots accounted for afterward. He also said the recount has revealed a need for better training of poll workers.

A Prosser observer echoed the hope that the recount would reveal best practices from some communities that could be standardized, and said she is now inspired to become a poll worker. But a Prosser leader scolded her for talking to the media and she asked that her name not be used.

As of noon today, the GAB reported 81 percent of the state’s 3,602 reporting units had been counted, representing almost 1.2 million votes, about 77 percent of those cast in the Supreme Court race.

-- By Kay Nolan

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

 6:26 PM 

DPW challenges recall petitions against three Dem senators

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin today filed a challenge to the recall petitions against three of its senators, charging signatures were gathered through "forgery, fraud and general misconduct in the context of a recall effort from all three districts."

The filings are the first challenges to the recall petitions against Sens. Dave Hansen of Green Bay, Jim Holperin of Conover and Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie, while Republicans have already filed challenges to the efforts to recall at least four of their members.

Dems said they have gathered nearly 200 written statements from individuals saying they were decieved into signing recall petitions, and have uncovered thousands of additional examples of fraudulent recall processes. Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, said he believes that the challenge, if upheld, will result in all three recall efforts being tossed out by the Government Accountability Board.

"We have discovered a systemic pattern of misconduct, deceit and misinformation by these out of state circulators," Miller said at a Madison press conference, charging that the state Republican Party paid $92,000 to a Colorado firm -- Kennedy Enterprises -- that paid circulators according to number of recall signatures collected.

DPW attorney Jeremy Levinson added that some circulators used fraudulent addresses, which should negate all of their collected signatures and subject them to criminal penalties.

Levinson said the GAB has the authority to toss the recall efforts based on the evidence provided by Dems alone, but said even tallying up all the violations would leave all three efforts well short of the signature threshold to trigger a recall election.

"In all my years of doing political election law in this state, I've never seen anything that comes close to this," Levinson said.

State GOP Executive Director Mark Jefferson promised that all three Dems would remain on the recall ballot this summer.

“After harassing thousands of Wisconsin citizens in an attempt to intimidate them into removing their signatures, it appears Democrats found only a few hundred signatures to directly challenge, out of 60,000 submitted," Jefferson said in a statement. “Even in the unlikely event their challenges of individuals' signatures will be upheld, they fall far short of what is needed to prevent recall elections."

-- By Andy Szal

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 4:40 PM 

Kloppenburg's campaign continues to raise concerns over anomalies

JoAnne Kloppenburg’s campaign continued today to raise questions about Waukesha Co.'s vote-counting, including concerns over several bags of ballots from the city of Brookfield alleged to be sealed improperly.

Campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said during a news conference in Waukesha County that the openings in the bags of Brookfield votes were large enough to reach a hand into and said there are similar examples of anomalies statewide. The campaign earlier in the day objected to the security of the ballots during the recount.

“Anomalies by whose definition?” countered Prosser campaign spokesperson Brian Nemoir after hearing Mulliken’s statements. “Anomalies by the GAB’s definition where they would change the outcome of the election, or anomalies by our opponent’s definition? We don’t see any anomalies by that first definition.”

Mulliken also pointed to troubles reconciling the numbers on bags with what was recorded, as well as other errors such as a stack of ballots found in the clerk’s office in Verona.

Nemoir noted that elections rely mostly on volunteers and small errors would happen. He then questioned if there would be a point of diminishing returning in doing a recount.

When pressed on whether there were any anomalies that would change the result of the election, Mulliken pointed to the recount as an opportunity to restore faith in elections.

“I think it’s important the people of Wisconsin have confidence their vote is counted and counted accurately. I think that these issues that were shining light on are serious and are concerning,” she said, adding Kloppenburg remains convinced she made the right decision in asking for the recount.

-- By Arthur Thomas

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 1:39 PM 

Dems to file challenge to GOP recall petitions

The Dem Party plans to file a challenge later today to the recall petitions filed against three members, charging signatures were gathered through fraud.

It will be the first challenges Dems have filed to the recall petitions against them, while Republicans have already filed challenges to the efforts to recall at least four of their members.

The GOP challenges are similar in that they argue the recall petitioner didn't file a registration statement with the GAB and that “fatal defect” necessitates the board tossing the recall petitions. The registration statements for each recall list the committee’s name, not the individual petitioner.

Here's the challenge filed in the Sheila Harsdorf recall effort as an example.

-- By JR Ross

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 1:26 PM 

Pasch files with the GAB

Dem state Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, filed papers with the GAB today to run against state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, in the recall election.

A Pasch rally is set for 2 p.m. Friday in Cahill Park.

Pasch and Darling are set for separate interviews on Sunday's "UpFront with Mike Gousha."

The recall election could be one of nine throughout the state this summer -- a result of the fight over collective bargaining and the state budget.

Update: 4:19 p.m. --
Darling said she looks forward to contrasting her record with Pasch’s.

“People are going to have a very clear choice. Do they want a fiscally responsible leader who will work for tax-payers or do they want a candidate whose record shows an addiction to the tax-and-spend habits that got us into this fiscal mess we are currently in?” she said.

-- By Staff

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 1:16 PM 

Kloppenburg, Prosser campaigns exchange shots over nuns' tossed absentee ballots

The campaigns of JoAnne Kloppenburg and David Prosser are exchanging shots today over the votes of 18 nuns from the Town of Sumpter.

During the recount in Sauk County, it was discovered 18 absentee ballots were not signed properly; officials believed they were from nuns at the Valley of Our Lady Monastery in Prairie du Sac.

Because the 18 ballots from those envelopes could not be determined, all 24 absentee ballots were mixed together for a draw down as required under state law. Eighteen ballots were then pulled from the pile at random resulting in a loss of 14 votes for Prosser and four for Kloppenburg.

Prosser's campaign is charging that Kloppenburg's campaign sought to have the absentee ballots thrown out, a claim the Kloppenburg campaign denies.

Brian Schimming, the director of Prosser's recount effort, sent a statement to the media ripping into Kloppenburg over the ballots, calling the "attack" on the nuns' votes "wrong at best and totally reprehensible at worst."

"I would simply ask Ms. Kloppenburg to act at the most basic level of decency; apologize to the 18 nuns who reside at the monastery for her campaign's interference with their right to vote, withdraw her objection and ask that the ballots be reinstated," Schimming said.

Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said it was "categorically untrue" that the campaign had anything to do with the ballots being pulled.

"Our representatives never said anything about the ballots one way or asnother," she said. "We didn’t say anything about these ballots one way or another."

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. -- Sauk County Assistant Corporation Counsel Alene Bolin said the Board of Canvass pulled the absentee ballots out on its own without prompting from anyone after discovering they lacked the required signatures.

She said the Prosser campaign representative sought this week to have the absentee ballots restored and asked the Kloppenburg campaign if it was objecting to that. Bolin said there was some initial confusion on the part of the Kloppenburg campaign about the question, but she believes the campaign said it objected to the ballots being restored.

"The original discovery was the board of canvassers doing their job," she said.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:16 AM 

Simac will challenge Holperin

Tea Party activist Kim Simac will formally announce today her candidacy against Sen. Jim Holperin, D-Conover, who is facing a recall election.

Simac, president of the Northwoods Patriots, will hold her campaign kick off at 10 a.m. today at her new campaign headquarters in Rhinelander.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

 1:18 PM 

Stroebel looking forward to getting lay of land, getting to work

Republican Duey Stroebel says he's not trying to interpret much of his big win in the heavily GOP 60th AD.

"It just means that the priority of the people of this district is to get he state’s fiscal house in order and focus on jobs and the economy after that," he said. "I think they all have their individual beliefs, and they happen to align with what’s going on in the Madison. But I’m not a big believe in mandates or things like that."

Stroebel, 51, operates a real estate management company that he founded. He said he's going to have to "put some things on the shelf that I do" to properly do his job in the Assembly.

Stroebel said he was told it could be about 10 days or so before he's sworn in. That could put him on the floor of the Assembly just in time for debates over contentious issues such as concealed carry and the state budget.

"It’s what I signed up for. It’s the job," he said.

-- By JR Ross

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 10:36 AM 

Summer could see at least nine recall elections

Barring legal delays, at least nine special recall elections could be held this summer -- an unprecedented political happening in a turbulent political year.

Republicans hold a 19-14 majority in the state Senate now, so Democrats would have to net three seats to take back control of the chamber.

So far none of the special recall elections is officially set. But if signatures are validated, the Government Accountability Board is hoping to schedule eight of the elections on July 12 -- over the objections of state Democrats. Scheduling of the ninth, involving GOP Sen. Rob Cowles of Green Bay, is up in the air. Six of the nine pending recall elections target incumbent Republicans.

Petition deadlines for two Democratic senators, Mark Miller of Monona and Julie Lassa of Stevens Point, were still pending as of the May 3 writing of this round-up.

Here's a list of the potential recalls, with the most advanced campaigns listed first:

- Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, to be challenged by Rep. Jen Shilling, D-La Crosse.

- Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, to be challenged by Oshkosh Ald. Jessica King.

- Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, to be challenged by Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo.

- Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, to be challenged by Ellsworth teacher Shelly Moore.

- And Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, who so far has is being challenged by Brown County Board Vice Chair Mary Scray.

- Petition signatures also have been filed against GOP Sen. Albert Darling of River Hills, GOP Sen. Rob Cowles of Green Bay, Dem Sen. Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie and Dem Sen. Jim Holperin of Conover.

Efforts to recall GOP Sens. Glenn Grothman of West Bend and Mary Lazich of New Berlin have fallen short as well as efforts against Dems Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee, Fred Risser of Madison and Lena Taylor of Milwaukee.

The local effort to recall Mark Miller, D-Monona, missed its deadline to file signatures, but a Utah-based group has until May 5 to file recall petitions against the Senate minority leader. That group, however, has largely not worked with local organizers and hasn't filed petitions in any of the recalls it initiated.

The last remaining active recall effort is the one targeting Dem Julie Lassa of Stevens Point. Opponents face a May 16 deadline in their effort.


 9:45 AM 

Despite Dem gain, Republicans maintain big Assembly majority

With Tuesday's results, Republicans will hold a 59-38 majority over Democrats, with one independent, former Dem Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer of Manitowoc. One seat if vacant following the departure of Dem Rep. Joe Parisi, who was elected Dane County executive in April.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald's office said this morning a date hasn't been set for swearing in the new members. Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said Tuesday's election results will be certified at 9 a.m. Thursday at the GAB office.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

 11:12 PM 

Doyle says Dems 'energized' heading into recall election

Rep.-elect Steve Doyle said his Assembly special election victory would energize the local Democratic Party heading to a likely recall election against GOP Sen. Dan Kapanke later this year.

But he also told WisPolitics that his win shouldn't come as a shock despite the 94th AD being held by GOP Rep. Mike Huebsch since 1994. He said the district supports candidates regardless of party as long as they're "bipartisan, respectful (and) cooperative."

Doyle also said Tuesday's results represent a repudiation of attack ads from outside groups, noting that his campaign emphasized the funding of outside ads by groups in eastern Wisconsin and Virginia.

And he cautioned that groups running attack ads in future races -- including the recall election -- run a big risk of alienating western Wisconsin voters.

Doyle also said the tumultuous first months of the Walker administration were undoubtedly a boost to him. He said many voters told him that while they don't necessarily disagree with the governor's positions, they aren't fond of the tactics used to enact them thus far.

The Onalaska Dem said that while going door to door, "I heard, over and over again, two words: Scott Walker."

-- By Andy Szal

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 10:17 PM 

Craig: Win shows Walker's approach 'spot on'

Republican Dave Craig, who won the 83rd AD special election with 74 percent of the vote, says his overwhelming win sends a loud message backing Gov. Scott Walker's approach in Madison.

Craig easily downed Dem James Brownlow in the heavily Republican district with 74 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

"It means that people are engaged in this debate," Craig said. "Another thing, it sends a loud message to the governor that what he’s done thus far has been spot on. It means what I've been running on -- the fact that the spending spree in Madison has to stop and stop right now -- has been confirmed."

Craig has been on unpaid leave from his job as an aide to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville. He said he would likely return to that job briefly and then resign as he takes his Assembly seat.

He expected the budget would be his top priority once arriving in Madison, but said he hopes to be in his seat by the time the Assembly takes up legislation such as concealed carry and voter ID.

"Everyone I’ve talked to says there’s going to be a lot of work out there, and I can’t wait to get to it," he said.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:56 PM 

Doyle thanks supporters, looks ahead to Kapanke recall election

Dem Steve Doyle thanked supporters for delivering a win in the special election for the 94th AD and asked them to double down their efforts to help unseat Sen. Dan Kapanke in a recall election this summer.

Doyle, the La Crosse County Board chair, joked with supporters about the attack ads he faced in the election from outside groups, saying, "I'm Steve Doyle. I'm the career politician that raised your taxes."

He called his win a victory for those who believe in "clean, honest politics" and said when he goes to Madison, he will ask members of both parties, "What can I do to help make the situation better in this state?"

The 94th AD race between Doyle and Republican John Lautz was run against the backdrop of Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to roll back collective bargaining powers for public employees and comes just on the heels of a narrow race for state Supreme Court.

By winning, Doyle picks off a seat that had been held by Walker's DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch since 1994, though it's been more of a swing district at the top of the ticket in recent elections. Huebsch left the seat to join the guv's administration.

Doyle asked all of his volunteers to now focus their efforts on helping Dem Rep. Jen Shilling, who has announced she will challenge Kapanke, R-La Crosse.

“We’re going to send a second message to Madison that things have to change,” Doyle said.

-- By Andy Szal

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 9:47 PM 

Doyle wins

Dem Steve Doyle has won the 94th AD over Republican John Lautz.

With 92 percent of precincts in, Doyle had 54 percent, or 8,036 votes, to 46 percent, or 6,950, for Republican John Lautz.

-- By Staff

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 9:38 PM 

Doyle appears headed toward victory

With 81 percent of the vote in, Dem Steve Doyle has 54 percent, or 5,671 votes, to 46 percent, or 4,907 votes, for Republican John Lautz.

Multiple Dem sources tell WisPolitics additional returns they've seen suggest Doyle will win the 94th AD.

-- By Staff

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 9:27 PM 

Craig, Stroebel win

Republicans Duey Stroebel (right) and Dave Craig have won their races for the 60th and 83rd ADs.

With 100 percent of the vote in, Stroebel had 76 percent, or 7,331 votes, to 24 percent, or 2,357, for Dem Rick Aaron.

With 90 percent of the vote in, Craig had 75 percent, or 5,239 votes, to 25 percent, or 1,773 votes, for Dem James Brownlow.

-- By Staff

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 9:16 PM 

Some more numbers

In the 60th, Stroebel 77 percent, Aaron 23 percent, 26 percent of precincts in.

In the 83rd, Craig 74 percent, Brownlow 26 percent, 50 percent in.

In the 94th, Doyle 55 percent, Lautz 45 percent, 58 percent in.

-- By Staff

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 9:05 PM 

Doyle: Things look really good right now

Steve Doyle walked in to the Seven Bridges restaurant shortly after 9 p.m. to a rousing ovation from a room full of supporters.

“I was told that we have to say that we are optimistic at this point,” Doyle said.

He promised to talk more about that later, adding “But things look really good right now.”

-- By Andy Szal

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 8:51 PM 

Some early AP numbers

The first election returns are rolling in from The Associated Press in the three special elections.

The 60th and 83rd are following expectations.

With 11 percent of the precincts in, Republican Duey Stroebel has 78 percent of the vote in the 60th to 22 percent for Dem Rick Aaron.

With 30 percent in, Republican Dave Craig has 72 percent of the vote in the 83rd to 28 percent for Dem James Brownlow.

The 94th is proving to be competitive early on.

With 35 percent in, Republican John Lautz has 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent for Dem Steve Doyle.

-- By Staff

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 8:46 PM 

Doyle, Lautz election parties start off low-key

A few dozen supporters of Dem Steve Doyle gathered in the back room of the Seven Bridges restaurant in Onalaska after polls closed Tuesday evening.

The event was low-key with guests chatting around tables and a small TV in the corner of the room turned off for the time being. There were snacks along the wall and a few campaign signs, while the Onalaska Lions Club appeared to be meeting in the next room over.

At the John Lautz party in West Salem, the Republican's supporters have gathered at the Wesview Inn with a number of backers around the bar.

A pair of TVs in the corner of the room was turned on with a projector showing a power point slide show of Lautz, his family and some of his appearances on the campaign trail.

-- By Andy Szal

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 7:03 PM 

Turnout picking up in 94th

Volunteers at a pair of voting locations in the 94th AD say turnout is higher than expected as the special election to replace former Rep. Mike Huebsch winds down.

Two of the three wards in Onalaska reported turnout in excess of 30 percent shortly after 5:30 p.m. Nine hundred voters had cast their ballots in district 2, while the slightly larger district 3 had more than 1,200 ballots cast.

District 2 Chief Inspector Andrea Benco said a normal special election traditionally sees about 20 percent turnout in the wards, and said the precincts could approach the spring election turnout of 48 percent.

"It's been steady all day," Benco said.

Volunteers for the campaign of La Crosse Co. Board Chairman Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska were holding signs directing commuters to vote at the National Guard Armory.

Meanwhile, in West Salem, pollworkers at one precinct in the village hall had hit approximately 40 percent turnout as of 6:30 p.m. Chief Inspector Denise Stenson said turnout is more than expected, but it's been a "smooth election so far."

Polls close in the 94th AD in just under an hour. GOP candidate John Lautz will be observing Election Night at the Wesview Inn, across the street from the polling location in his native West Salem. Doyle will be in his native Onalaska at the Seven Bridges Restaurant.

-- By Andy Szal

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 3:30 PM 

Ellsworth teacher announces challenge of Harsdorf

Ellsworth teacher Shelly Moore announced her candidacy against GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf in the expected recall election.

Moore, who has taught in Ellsworth for the past 15 years, cited Harsdorf's support of the guv's collective bargaining changes as the motivating factor for her candidacy.

"Sheila Harsdorf's decision to walk lockstep with the radical plans of Scott Walker that hurt working and middle class families is way out of touch with the values of northwestern Wisconsin," Moore said. "Instead of consensus and common ground, Harsdorf and her allies prefer divisive, extreme policies."

UPDATE: 4:42 p.m. -- Harsdorf campaign spokesman Nathan Duerkop called Moore "a dutiful leader in WEAC who has supported every tax and spend budget over the last decade."

"Now, by bypassing the normal election process, the special interests simply get to choose their candidate in an attempt to keep the status quo that taxpayers can't afford and is bankrupting our state," he said. "We look forward to speaking to voters about Moore's close allegiance to special interests and their mutual agenda of spend first, tax more, and continued use of the credit card."
-- By JR Ross

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 2:56 PM 

UWO says it took corrective action against prof who urged students to sign recall papers

UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells says the school took corrective action last month against a professor who asked students to sign recall petitions against GOP Sen. Randy Hopper.

Audio surfaced today from the Republican Party of Wisconsin featuring Prof. Stephen Richards addressing his students March 7 with two circulators in his class and saying they would be outside the room if they wanted to sign the papers.

Hopper called on Richards to resign, while the state GOP called his actions "egregious professional misconduct."

On the tape, Richards explains the effort to recall lawmakers and suggests students use their campus addresses instead of those for their parents.

He also says, "I’m not asking you to do it, you're not required to do this, it's a free country, you can sign it or not sign it." He says he would prefer to have people do it outside the classroom so "it's not like I'm watching who's signing and who's not signing."

Richards also criticizes Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining changes and says there will eventually be a recall against the guv as well. He also incorrectly says police officers and firefighters were not exempt from the changes.

Wells put out a statement this afternoon after the audio surfaced that the school investigated concerns from students a couple of days after the March 7 lecture, concluding an investigation by April 1 and implemented corrective action, and has since contacted students who were initially concerned about the comments. Wells said the students reported classroom conditions have improved and there were not additional complaints.

Wells said it is inappropriate when educators "let their personal political opinions interfere with classroom teaching."

"Unfortunately, at times, there are isolated incidents, which we fully investigate, and, where appropriate, take corrective action," Wells said. "We regret that the poor judgment of one person can have a negative impact on an entire university community."

In addition to calling on Richards to resign, Hopper asked Wells to investigate how many other professors campaigned on state time.

He also said the professor's actions were one of "the many irregularities that occurred during the recall petition collection process" that he hoped the Government Accountability Board would investigate.

"Parents and students expect their tuition to go to education, not to have their children or themselves lied to by a figure of authority who has the ability to make or break their academic future," Hopper said. "There is no room in our educational institutions to substitute preaching for teaching.

UPDATE: 4:17 p.m. This state GOP release includes a transcript of the tape.
-- By JR Ross

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 1:56 PM 

Turnout about the same as spring election in some 94 AD communities

Three communities in the 94th AD say turnout so far is looking much like it did for the April election.

In Onalaska, the largest city in the district and the home of Dem candidate Steve Doyle, turnout was tracking along the lines of the more than 40 percent who showed up for the April election, according to the clerk's office. Then, 4,476 votes were cast.

In West Salem, where Republican candidate John Lautz lives, about 500 votes were in by a little after 12:30 p.m., according to the clerk's office. In April, 1,309 were cast there.

In Holmen, there were 927 votes in around 1:20 p.m. compared to 2,032 who turned out in April.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:55 AM 

Recall Dave Hansen Committee seeks restraining order over Dem phone calls

The Recall Dave Hansen Committee this morning requested a restraining order against the Dem Party of Wisconsin for calling people who signed its petitions.

The filing alleges harassment and intimidation on the part of the Dem Party in calling those who signed the recall petitions to see if they knew what they were signing. Dems have alleged the recalls used fraudulent tactics to trick people into signing.

Recall organizer David Vander Leest said some have reported receiving more than 10 phone calls in what he said was an attempt to harass and intimidate those who support the effort.

"I can understand one phone call, but we can’t understand 10. We can’t understand 20," Vander Leest said. "Something is going on here that’s not quite right."

Dem Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski called the filing a "joke." He said the party hired a firm to call those who signed the petitions because of concerns signatures were collected fraudulently, and the calls cease once someone answers to respond.

He said there was no harassment and those complaining were partisan Republicans.

"This is a PR stunt. It has no legal merit. It will fail," Zielinksi said. "It only draws more attention to the fraudulence of their recall efforts."

Vander Leest said the request for a restraining order accuses the Dem Party of intimidating, harassing and causing fear by use of the phone. The recall committee wants to subpoena Hansen, Dem Chair Mike Tate and Brown County Dem Chair Tom Sieber.

A hearing is scheduled for May 16.

-- By JR Ross

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Monday, May 2, 2011

 1:03 PM 

Lazich recall committee short of needed signatures

The group seeking to recall GOP Sen. Mary Lazich says it's short of the needed signatures to trigger an election.

The deadline to turn in signatures is today, and the group estimated in a release that it has collected about 18,987 signatures. The committee would need 20,973 valid signatures by day's end to force an election.

-- By Staff

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 9:47 AM 

Grothman recall effort falls short

The committee seeking to recall GOP Sen. Glenn Grothman says it will fall short of the needed signatures to trigger an election.

The group said in a statement this morning it had gathered more than 15,000 signatures. It needed 20,061 signatures by today's deadline.

Today is also the deadline to file against Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin. Opponents need 20,973 signatures to trigger a recall election in that district.

-- By Staff

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