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Wisconsin recall fever, take 2

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October 14, 2011

By: Greg Janetka


MADISON, Wisconsin: Less than two months ago Wisconsin held the last of the nine state Senate recall elections that dominated the state's politics for most of 2011. Total campaign spending for the recalls surpassed $44 million, while costing state and local governments approximately $2.1 million.[1] With the state still working to put itself back together (there's a special election for Assembly District 95 taking place November 8 to fill the seat left open when Jennifer Shilling (D) defeated Dan Kapanke (R) in a recall), it looks as if it may all happen again in 2012.

Democrats made no bones about their desire to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) for his role in targeting the repeal of most collective bargaining rights for public employees, officially announcing on October 10 that they, in conjunction with United Wisconsin, would officially begin the recall campaign against Walker on November 15.[2] They would have likely have gone after him sooner, but under Wisconsin law incumbents are not eligible for recall until they have been in office for a year.

It was due to this rule that more state legislators were not targeted this year. 17 of Wisconsin's 33 incumbent state senators, 6 Democrats and 11 Republicans, won election or re-election on November 2, 2010, meaning they could potentially be recalled in 2012. They are:

  1. Chris Larson (D)
  2. Jon Erpenbach (D)
  3. Kathleen Vinehout (D)
  4. Robert Jauch (D)
  5. Tim Carpenter (D)
  6. Tim Cullen (D)
  7. Dale Schultz (R)
  8. Frank Lasee (R)
  9. Joseph Leibham (R)
  10. Leah Vukmir (R)
  11. Michael Ellis (R)
  12. Neal Kedzie (R)
  13. Pam Galloway (R)
  14. Rich Zipperer (R)
  15. Scott Fitzgerald (R)
  16. Terry Moulton (R)
  17. Van Wanggaard (R)

Additionally, two Republicans and four Democrats who were targeted last year but did not see enough signatures collected against them to face recall could see a second attempt.

With the Republicans holding a 17-16 majority in the Senate, state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said he expects his party will run recall efforts against Walker as well as GOP senators. "It would be irresponsible of the party to not jump on that opportunity," he said.[3]

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, meanwhile, said of trying to recall Democratic senators, "I haven't ruled it out, that's for sure."[3] Dan Romportl, head of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, said, "At this point, all options are on the table. We are waiting to see what transpires on the Democrat side and then we will go from there."[4]

Hold on Wisconsin, it's gonna be a bumpy 2012.

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