Nancy Nusbaum

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Nancy Nusbaum
Nancy Nusbaum Photo.JPG
Former candidate for
Wisconsin State Senate District 2

Political party Democrat
Website Campaign site
Nancy Nusbaum was a Democratic candidate for District 2 of the Wisconsin State Senate in the recall election against incumbent Sen. Robert Cowles. She defeated Otto Junkermann in the Democratic primary on July 12, losing Cowles in the recall on August 9.

Nusbaum previously served as Mayor of De Pere from 1988 to 1995, on the Brown County board from 1995-2003, and[1][2] served in the attorney general's office from 2003 to 2005. She ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House as a Republican in 1994 and as a Democrat in 2006.[3]

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



See also: Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011) and Robert Cowles recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2011)

Nusbaum announced on May 16 that she would run against incumbent senator Cowles if a recall was approved. About 26,000 signatures to recall Cowles were filed on April 28, 2011. Signatures were filed against nine different state senators in Wisconsin, while a total of sixteen were originally targeted for recall.[4]

Rich Langan was slated to challenge Cowles in the recall, but just days after announcing his bid, he withdrew, citing "an unexpected family situation."[5] Langan is serving as Treasurer for Nusbaum's campaign.

On her campaign website Nusbaum states why she joined the race:[6]

I'm running to be the next State Senator for the 2nd Senate District because I believe we can do better in Wisconsin. We need to bring change to Madison now before they do anymore damage to the values we know are so important. And we need a state senator who will always put the people first. Please join me as I campaign throughout the 2nd District and check back often for ways that you can get involved.

Former Republican state Rep. Otto Junkermann ran as a Democrat against Nusbaum. Junkermann, when asked if he was a "spoiler candidate," replied, “I don’t know how I could avoid being considered that.” Nusbaum called the move "a mockery of the democratic process," and "a sign of desperation."[7]

Mert Summers also filed to run as a "placeholder" Democrat. Following the news that all six "fake" Democrats had turned in their final paperwork to get on the ballot to the GAB, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin announced that it would not be running their placeholder candidates in the recalls as they were no longer necessary. Party Chair Mike Tate explained, "The goal of the placeholder candidacies was to create an insurance policy against further Republican attempts to exploit the recall election schedule through dirty tricks and cynical plots."[8]

All three had filed nomination papers with a sufficient number of verified signatures.


Nusbaum accused Cowles on July 26 of avoiding a debate on the issues. Nusbaum stated, "The people of the 2nd Senate District deserve to hear from their Senator, rather than face an empty podium. Whether Senator Cowles chooses to join me or not, I will hold forums around the state to ensure voters have the opportunity to hear directly from me, despite his cowardly actions."[9] Cowles said that Nusbaum never responded to a letter about debates he sent her over a month prior, and that she purposely accepted a debate on August 1 when he would be in a special legislative session and unable to attend.[10]

Following weeks of accusations over why they were not debating, incumbent Cowles and Nusbaum finally scheduled one debate to take place August 8, one day before the recall. It was to be hosted by the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups and moderated by the League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay.[11] However, Nusbaum canceled the debate following the death of her mother.

July 12 Democratic Primary

Nusbaum easily defeated Junkermann in the primary

July 12 Democratic primary[12]
Candidates Votes Percent
Nancy Nusbaum Approveda 14,197 65.04%
Otto Junkermann 7,578 34.72%
Scattering 54 0.25%
  • Mert Summers Note: Summers filed nomination papers with sufficient signatures but did not file final papers to be on the ballot.[13]

August 9 recall

August 9 Recall - District 2[14]
Candidates Votes Percent
Robert Cowles (R) Green check mark transparent.png 27,037 57.44%
Nancy Nusbaum (D) 19,974 42.43%
Scattering 62 .13%


Conducted July 21-24

August 9, 2011 Recall - District 2 - Daily Kos/PPP Poll
Candidate Party Percent
Robert Cowles Ends.png Republican 51%
Nancy Nusbaum Electiondot.png Democratic 47%
Undecided 2%

Ads relating to the campaign


Nusbaum ran for the 8th District of the U.S. House of Representatives. She came in third in the primary, losing to Steven Kagen and Jamie Wall.[15] Nusbaum raised $1,100,090 for the campaign. This included 827,740 in individual contributions, $205,541 in candidate self-financing, and $60,721 from PAC contributions.[16]

U.S. House of Representatives District 8 Primary Election (2006)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Steven Kagen 25,623 47.63%
Jamie Wall 15,427 28.68%
Nancy Nusbaum 12,731 23.66%

Campaign contributions

Nancy Nusbaum Campaign Finance Reports (GAB ID No. 0103963)
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Total Contributions (Expenditures) Cash on Hand
Special Pre-Election[17] August 1, 2011 $134,182.05 $61,808.47 $(91,657.52) $104,333.00
July Continuing[18] July 7, 2011 $0.00 $177,800.09 $(43,618.04) $134,182.05

Official reports

External links


  1. FOX 11, "Nusbaum to challenge Cowles in recall," May 16, 2011
  2. Post Crescent, "Nancy Nusbaum to challenge Rob Cowles in Wisconsin state senate recall election," May 17, 2011
  3. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "First round in Senate recall elections draws near," July 2, 2011
  4. ABC 2 WBAY, "Democrats Turn in 26,000 Signatures to Recall Senator Cowles," April 28, 2011
  5. WBAY, "Rich Langan Out for Recall Bid Against Sen. Cowles... Nancy Nusbaum In?," May 16, 2011
  6. Nancy for Senate, "Homepage," accessed May 17, 2011
  7. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Former GOP lawmaker to run as Democrat in Cowles' recall race," June 8, 2011
  8. WisPolitics, "WisDems: Dems to end placeholder candidacies in recall elections," June 17, 2011
  9. WisPolitics, “Nusbaum Campaign: Nusbaum demands Senator Cowles explain refusal to address issues facing northeast Wisconsin residents,” July 26, 2011
  10. WBAY, “Nusbaum Accuses Sen. Cowles of Dodging Debate,” July 26, 2011
  11. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Cowles, Nusbaum agree to debate day before Senate recall election," August 2, 2011
  12. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board "July 12 primary election results District 2," accessed August 11, 2011
  13. WisPolitics, "WisDems: Dems to end placeholder candidacies in recall elections," June 17, 2011
  14. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 2 Recall Election Results," accessed August 19, 2011
  15. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "2006 Primary Results," accessed May 19, 2011
  16. Open Secrets, "Nancy Jean Nusbaum," accessed May 19, 2011
  17. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: STATE OF WISCONSIN: GAB-2: Nusbaum for Senate," August 1, 2011
  18. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: STATE OF WISCONSIN: GAB-2: Nusbaum for Senate," July 7, 2011