Signature validations pave way for July 12 recall primary in Wisconsin

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June 16, 2011

By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka

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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: Barring any successful legal challenges, it appears imminent that six primary races will take place on July 12 in Wisconsin, with recalls to follow on August 9.

Yesterday, four candidates had sufficient signatures validated. As of early afternoon today, another 11 candidates were shown to have more than the required 400 signatures.[1]

Any challenges to the candidates’ petitions must be filed before 5 p.m. CST tomorrow. Thus far it is unclear if Democrats will try and challenge any of the "fake" candidates.[2]

The certification of the candidates means all six Republican incumbents will not face recall until August 9. On July 12, six Democratic primaries will take place instead. The candidates are:

District 2

Democratic Party July 12 Democratic primary:

District 8

Democratic Party July 12 Democratic primary:

District 10

Democratic Party July 12 Democratic primary:

District 14

Democratic Party July 12 Democratic primary:

District 18

Democratic Party July 12 Democratic primary:

District 32

Democratic Party July 12 Democratic primary:

Protests target incumbents

While crowds turned out to protest the state budget bill on Wednesday, they also took aim at incumbents up for recall. The group We Are Wisconsin organized protests against Republicans Randy Hopper[3], Robert Cowles[4], Luther Olsen[5] and Dan Kapanke[6] for their support of the bill.

Around 200 turned out in Cameron Park for the rally against Kapanke. Various protesters said that their calls and emails to the senator have gone unanswered, a charge that Kapanke's campaign manager Jennifer Harrington denies. She said they have returned every call they have received and have attended dairy breakfasts and held listening sessions in order to hear from the people.[7]

Meanwhile, about 50 individuals gathered to protest outside of Cowles’ office in Allouez. Cowles was in Madison during the protest, but referred to it as "outrageous" and "disruptive."[8]

Democrats file suit

Lawsuits have now been filed for all nine senators in response to GAB certification of recall dates. Following the certification of the recall petitions against three targeted Democrats on June 8, Jeremy Levinson, attorney for the incumbent Democrats, did not immediately indicate whether an appeal would be filed based on the GAB’s ruling.[9] Yesterday the party announced they would be filing a formal appeal with the Dane County Circuit Court due to what they say is widespread fraud.

State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said, "The GAB agreed that out-of-state circulators hired by the Republican Party to gather recall signatures committed repeated and flagrant acts of election fraud upon the people of Wisconsin. A higher authority should review this stunning conspiracy to defraud the voters, and throw out all the signatures gathered by these deceitful circulators."[10]

While thousands of signatures were rejected by the Board, Democrats say that if Wisconsin statutes were followed to the letter there would not be enough signatures for any of the recalls.[11]

Attorneys for Republicans Luther Olsen, Dan Kapanke, and Randy Hopper previously filed petitions in Dane County Court on May 31 seeking to stop the recall elections against them. They based their argument on improperly filed paperwork, similar to the argument they previously used before the GAB and saw rejected.[12]

On June 7, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, and Robert Cowles joined their fellow Republicans in filing suit against the Board. Their lawsuits also allege that all signatures on the recall petitions are invalid because of improperly filed paperwork.[13][14] Levinson filed motions with the court on June 14, asking them to throw out what he called the Republican's "meritless" challenges.[15]

See also


  1. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "List of all candidates as of 12:20pm CST, June 16, 2011 (dead link)
  2. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP planning to field spoilers for all recalls," June 6, 2011
  3. We Are Wisconsin, "Media Advisory: Fond Du Lac Community to Protest Against Randy Hopper’s Radical State Budget Vote," June 14. 2011
  4. We Are Wisconsin, "Media Advisory: Community Rallies to Hold Cowles Accountable for Bad Choices in Budget," June 14, 2011
  5. We Are Wisconsin, "Media Advisory -- Wednesday: Community Rallies against Sen. Olsen’s Vote for Crippling Budget," June 14, 2011
  6. We Are Wisconsin, "Media Advisory: La Crosse City Council, Families and Community Members to Tell State Sen. Dan Kapanke, They’re "Wide Awake and Watching" This Week’s Budget Vote," June 14, 2011 (dead link)
  7. La Crosse Tribune, "Crowd protests GOP budget, Kapanke," June 16, 2011
  8. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Green Bay area protest targets Wisconsin budget, Sen. Robert Cowles, Gov. Scott Walker." June 16. 2011
  9. WFRV "Wis. elections board trims petition signatures," June 8, 2011
  10. WisPolitics, "WisDems: Dems to appeal GAB decision on widespread GOP election fraud," June 15. 2011
  11., "Dems: Throw out recall petitions," June 15. 2011
  12. Wisconsin State Journal, "Recall-targeted GOP senators challenge validity of petitions," June 1, 2011
  13. Superior Telegram, "GOP planning lawsuit over Republican senator recalls," June 8, 2011
  14. Leader-Telegram, "Harsdorf, other GOP senators sue to stop recalls," June 9, 2011
  15., "Recall campaigns ask court to throw out 'meritless' challenges," June 14. 2011