Recall primaries appearing likely in Wisconsin

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May 19, 2011

By Greg Janetka and Geoff Pallay

Seal of Wisconsin.svg.png
2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results

MADISON, Wisconsin: As the recalls draw closer, candidates continue to declare, which ultimately may push the recall date to August.

Currently, the timeline released by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board would place the recalls on July 12. But if multiple candidates choose to run from one party, that would create the need for a primary to be held first. That primary would be held six weeks after signature certification (roughly July 12) with the recall election taking place four weeks later (on or about August 9).

At least two of the 9 recalls have multiple candidates seeking party nominations. Kim Simac and Robert Lussow are both running as Republicans against Jim Holperin (D). Fred Ekornaas and Jonathan Steitz have declared intent to run against Robert Wirch (D).

Currently, the Republican Party of Lincoln County is supporting Simac in the race and has not endorsed Lussow.[1]

Court injunction denied

A restraining order petition against the Democratic Party of Wisconsin was brought by the committee to recall Dave Hansen, alleging Democrats made intimidating phone calls to people who had signed recall petitions.

David Vander Leest, who filed the petition, said, "They called 18,000 people, some of them five, six, ten times, telling them they know where they lived." Gillian Morris of the Democratic Party said no one was harassed, that they called each person on the petition once to ask if they had been misled when signing it. Ultimately, on May 16 the restraining order petition was thrown out by the Brown County Circuit Court for a procedural error.[2] Vander Leest said they will be appealing the case.

GAB Meeting

Monday will be the first of two scheduled GAB meetings to certify signatures. During an open meeting on Tuesday, the GAB discussed the recall petitions status. According to the board, as of May 5 the staff are halfway through with petition reviews. The staff are also preparing recommendations to the board for each of the petitions that are subject to challenge at the May 23 and 31 meetings.

During the past few weeks, there were three steps in the challenge process.

  1. Challenge (by the incumbent to the signatures validity)
  2. Rebuttal (by the recall group to the challenge)
  3. Reply (by the incumbent)

As of May 18, all deadlines have been completed based on the following table:[3]

Committee Challenge Rebuttal Reply
Committee to Recall Kapanke April 15 April 22 April 26
Committee to Recall Hopper April 21 April 28 May 2
Committee to Recall Olsen May 2 May 9 May 11
Committee to Recall Harsdorf May 3 May 10 May 12
Recall Dave Hansen May 5 May 12 May 16
Jim Holperin Recall Committee May 5 May 12 May 16
Taxpayers to Recall Wirch May 5 May 12 May 16
Committee to Recall Darling May 5 May 12 May 16
Committee to Recall Cowles May 9 May 16 May 18

See also