Less than one week to go before first Wisconsin recall election

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July 13, 2011

By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka

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: Now that last night’s Democratic primaries are complete, voters in Wisconsin will be shifting their attention to the three recall races taking place on July 19.

Next Tuesday, there will be two Republican primaries and one recall election of a Democratic state senator. The candidates running in those races are:

District 12

Republican Party July 19 Republican primary:

District 22

Republican Party July 19 Republican primary:

District 30

July 19 recall election:
Republican Party David VanderLeest, Wind farm developer
Democratic Party Dave Hansen, Incumbent Hansen has served District 30 since 2001.

The result of the two Republican primaries will likely have little impact on the momentum for the remaining races. Whoever wins will face the Democratic incumbent on August 16. No clear-cut favorite has emerged between the two candidates in each race.

However, the winner of the election between Hansen and VanderLeest could have a significant effect on the ability of each side to drum-up support going forward. If Hansen retains his seat, there will only be two more opportunities for Republicans to remove a sitting Democrat from office. Additionally, his victory could trigger an even greater incentive for Democrats heading into the six recalls on August 9. But if VanderLeest ultimately unseats Hansen, that could conversely trigger a heavy stream of support to GOP-backed efforts.

Campaign finance reports

Monday was also the deadline for candidates to file campaign financial reports to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board in the three Senate districts holding elections on July 19.

When candidates, committees and organizations file their summary reports with GAB, that document is called a GAB-2. According to Wisconsin law, if a candidate or organization receives a contribution of $500 or more after that report is filed, that must be reported within 24 hours to the GAB. That information is filed with a GAB-3 document.

The following chart is based on figures from GAB-2 July Continuing reports.

Recall Fundraising Update as of July 13, 2011
District Candidate Candidate Type Total funds raised for quarter Cash on Hand Total funds raised for year
12 Jim Holperin Incumbent $185,698.99 $169,618.23 $336,602.88
12 Kim Simac Republican Party Republican $89,407.00 $33,555.81 $ 89,407.00
12 Robert Lussow Republican Party Republican $350.00 $ 350.00 $350.00
22 Robert Wirch Incumbent $130,805.68 $139,221.51 $181,770.63
22 Fred Ekornaas Republican Party Republican $4,783.25 $262.29 $4,783.25
22 Jonathan Steitz Republican Party Republican $6,350.00 $12,476.10 $33,547.40
30 Dave Hansen Incumbent $189,412.77 $250,798.75 $316,850.11
30 David VanderLeest Republican Party Republican $2,000.00 $715.12 $2,000.00
TOTAL $608,807.69 $606,997.81 $965,311.27

With the exception of Fred Ekornaas, all of the candidates have submitted GAB-3 reports as well. Kim Simac turned in an amended report today for additional contributions totaling $11,250.00, by far the highest of the GAB-3 reports. The second highest was Jonathan Steitz, who declared recent donations of $4,000.

As we reported, the bulk of spending in the recall races has been taking place via organizations not directly tied to the candidates themselves. For example, the candidates above combined to report $608,807.69 in contributions this quarter. That sum was eclipsed by a single contribution from the AFSCME of $800,000 to the We Are Wisconsin PAC on July 8, 2011. Millions of dollars has been spent and raised by groups both inside and outside of Wisconsin.

Primary voter turnout in perspective

Total Number of Votes Cast in 2008 State Senate Primary Elections vs. 2011
District 2008 Democratic primary 2008 Republican primary 2011 Democratic primary
71 (No candidate) 5,361 (Cowles) 21,776
8,748 (Sheldon Wasserman) 12,561 (Darling) 33,554
4,805 (Alison Page) 4,204 (Harsdorf) 35,331
24 (No candidate) 5,732 (Olsen) 22,414
1,849 (King) 5,803 (Hopper) 28,519
1,983 (Tara Johnson) 1,877 (Kapanke) 36,002

With the final vote totals from yesterday’s Democratic primaries in, it is clear that turnout in all six races was high. Out of the six districts, the 8th had the highest turnout for Democratic primaries in 2008 - 8,748 votes. Yesterday, according to unofficial results, 33,554 votes were cast in the 8th. The district with the highest turnout last night was the 32nd, where 36,002 made their choice at the polls. Comparatively, in 2008, the Democratic primary in the same district saw 1,983 votes, while the Republican primary had 1,877.

In total, the six Democratic primaries yesterday combined for 177,596 votes cast. In 2008, votes cast in the six Democratic and the six Republican primaries only totaled 53,018.

See also


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