Details sparse for May 23 GAB meeting regarding Wisconsin recall signature challenges
By Greg Janetka and Geoff Pallay
The next key hurdle for the recall campaigns are the May 23 and May 31 Wisconsin Government Accountability Board meetings. At these meetings, challenges to the signatures for Sheila Harsdorf (R), Dave Hansen (D), Randy Hopper (R), Dan Kapanke (R) and Luther Olsen (R) will be heard before the six-member board.
Recall papers were first filed in late February and early March for all 16 senators. Petitions were circulated and signatures have been submitted for 9 of the 16 senators. Should the signatures survive the challenges, that would lead to a July 12 date for initial recall elections. However, if ultimately a primary is required for any of the recalls, then that would likely take place on the July 12 date, pushing back the actual recall itself until August 9.
The state has indicated a desire to hold as many recalls in one day as possible, with July 12 being the preferential first date. However, if for example, three of the recalls require primaries but the other six do not, it remains to be seen whether all of the elections will still occur on July 12 or whether the main recalls will be pushed back to coincide with recalls that are having primaries. This is of course assuming that all legal challenges are thrown out and the recalls continue according to schedule, which is still unclear at this point in time.
Between 1913-2010 a total of 20 state legislative recall elections reached the ballot. The 20 recalls took place in five total states: California, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon and Wisconsin. Of the 20 recalls, 13 were of state senators (8 were recalled) and 7 were state representatives (5 were recalled). Thus, 13 out of 20 state senators were recalled by voters since 1913. The sheer fact that there are 9 possible recalls in Wisconsin alone in 2011 indicates the extremely rare and historically relevant nature of the events.
Below are brief summaries of the nine recalls.
Republican senator Robert Cowles is one of six Republican senators facing recall. He represents District 2. Roughly 26,000 signatures were filed on April 28, 2011. Rich Langan, a former Brown County board member, announced on May 10 that he would run against Cowles should a recall take place.
Alberta Darling is one of six Republican senators facing recall. She represents District 8. About 30,000 signatures to recall Darling were filed on April 21, 2011. Democratic state Rep. Sandy Pasch filed papers with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on May 5 to run against Darling if a recall election takes place.
Sheila Harsdorf is one of six Republican senators facing recall. She represents District 10. About 23,000 signatures to recall Harsdorf were filed on April 19, 2011. In early May the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board verified the petitions had enough signatures to force a recall. Democrat Shelly Moore announced she would run against Harsdorf if a recall election takes place.
Dave Hansen is one of three Democratic senators facing recall. He represents District 30. About 18,870 signatures to recall Hansen were filed on April 21, 2011. Republican state Assemblyman John Nygren announced on May 10 that he would run against Hansen if a recall takes place. Mary Scray, vice chair of the Brown County Board, announced she would also probably run for the seat.
Jim Holperin is one of three Democratic senators facing recall. He represents District 12. About 23,000 signatures to recall Holperin were filed on April 21, 2011. Republican Kim Simac announced on May 5 that she would be running against Holperin if a recall takes place. Simac is a Tea Party leader and President of the Northwoods Patriots
Randy Hopper is one of six Republicans facing recall. He represents District 18. About 22,500 signatures to recall Hopper were filed on April 7, 2011. On May 9, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board verified 23,127 signatures, 15,269 were necessary to force a recall. Hopper has challenged the petitions. Jessica King (D), an attorney from Oshkosh, announced on April 13 that she would run against Hopper if a recall takes place.
Dan Kapanke is one of six Republicans facing recall. He represents District 32. 22,561 signatures to force a recall election for Kapanke were submitted to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on April 1, 2011. The signatures submitted to recall Kapanke were the first set of signatures submitted in the overall recall battle. On May 9, the Board validated 21,868 signatures on the petition, a sufficient number for a recall. Kapanke has challenged the petition's validity. Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling announced she would run against Kapanke if a recall takes place.
Luther Olsen is one of six Republican senators facing recall. He represents District 14. About 24,000 signatures to recall Olsen were filed on April 18, 2011. On May 9, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board verified 22,381 signatures, 14,733 were necessary to force a recall. Olsen has challenged the petitions. Democratic state Rep. Fred Clark announced on April 21 he would run against Olsen if a recall takes place.
Robert Wirch is one of three Democratic senators facing recall. He represents District 22. About 18,300 signatures to recall Wirch were filed on April 21, 2011. Kenosha County Board supervisor Fred Ekornaas said will run against Wirch if a recall election takes place. As of May 7 Ekornaas had not be endorsed by the Republican Party. Dan Hunt, the organizer of the recall campaign, has also said to be considering running.