Kim Simac

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Kim Simac
Former candidate for
Wisconsin State Senate District 12

Political party Republican
Website Campaign website
Kim Simac was a Republican candidate for District 12 of the Wisconsin State Senate, in the recall election against incumbent Sen. Jim Holperin. She defeated Robert Lussow in the primary on July 19, but lost to Holperin in the recall on August 16.

Simac is a Tea Party leader and President of the Northwoods Patriots.[1] She led the recall campaign against Holperin.[2]

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 Jim Holperin recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2011)

Simac announced on May 5 that she would run against Democrat Jim Holperin if a campaign to recall the current incumbent senator was approved. About 23,300 signatures to recall Holperin were filed on April 21, 2011. Signatures were filed against nine different state senators in Wisconsin, while a total of sixteen were originally targeted for recall.[3]

Simac explained why she was running, stating, "In this economy, people in the Northwoods are begging for jobs and Jim Holperin ran away from the job we sent him to do. When we needed someone to fight for us, Sen. Holperin fled to Illinois instead. It's clear that Sen. Holperin's priorities are with his political donors and not with the taxpayers."[4]

On May 18, 2011, Robert Lussow declared his candidacy in the Holperin recall. This created a primary race between Simac and Lussow, with the Republican Party of Lincoln County supporting Simac.[5]

July 19 Republican Primary

Simac easily defeated Lussow in the primary.

July 19 Republican primary[6]
Candidates Votes Percent
Kim Simac Approveda 11,300 58.53%
Robert Lussow 7,765 40.22%
Scattering 242 1.25%

August 16 Recall

Simac lost to Holperin in the recall.

August 16 Recall - District 12[7]
Candidates Votes Percent
Jim Holperin (D) Green check mark transparent.png 30,450 55.12%
Kim Simac (R) 24,682 44.67%
Scattering 110 0.19%


On June 21, Senator Jim Holperin participated in a debate with Robert Lussow.[8]

The debate was held at Tomahawk High School, with the majority of talk covering education. Lussow supported the new collective bargaining law but voiced his opposition to the cuts to education in the recently-passed state budget. Meanwhile, Holperin defended his actions in fleeing the state during the collective bargaining bill negotiations.

Roughly 100 people were in attendance at the debate. However, Simac did not attend. “For whatever reason, she decided to decline," Lussow said. Simac posted on her facebook page that she was unable to attend because she was running her horse camp and could not commit to events during a two-week period.[9]

Nominating papers challenged

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed challenges against the nominating papers of Simac, Robert Lussow, John Nygren and David VanderLeest on June 24. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board considered the challenges on June 27,[10] certifying all of the candidates except for Nygren. While he turned in 424, the Board found only 398 of those to be valid, two short of the 400 necessary to make the ballot.[11]


Ads relating to the campaign

Ad controversy

Watchman Broadcasting, a non-profit Christian Television network, sent Sen. Jim Holperin a cease and desist letter, alleging a Holperin campaign ad used copyrighted material. The material in question was an interview with Simac on the network’s program “By the Book.” Simac also called on Holperin to remove the ad.

Holperin said he did not received such a letter and had no plans to stop airing the ad. "Some things she's said and positions she's taken over the past two years are quite at odds with what she's saying as a candidate. We feel it's our obligation as opponents in this election to point that out," he said.[12]

Campaign themes

On her campaign website Simac outlined 6 major issues she is focused on:[13]

  • Jobs for Wisconsin
Excerpt: "I believe that in order to bring jobs to Wisconsin we must first reduce the regulations and high tax burdens that currently stifle the entrepreneurial spirit of our small business owners."
  • Government Spending
Excerpt: "I will oppose increases in government spending and work to establish efficiency in state spending."
  • Family Values
Excerpt: "I will work to encourage marriage as the route to a stable and successful future. I believe life begins at conception and support pro-life efforts to protect the unborn."
  • Environment
Excerpt: "Our lakes and our forests offer a wealth of opportunity to those of the 12th District. I believe local government should play an equal role in determining how our natural resources are managed."
  • Freedom and Liberty
Excerpt: "I support the rights that are guaranteed by the US Constitution, and believe it is our responsibility as good citizens to exercise those rights, and to refrain from infringing on the rights of others. I believe in the right of an individual to use force as a means of protecting themselves, their families, and their homes from aggressors, and believe that parents should be the ultimate decision makers when it comes to determining the educational direction of their children."
  • Term Limits
Excerpt: "Representing the citizens of Wisconsin in Madison should be viewed as an honor and duty, yet politicians on both sides view it more as a career path. I believe term limits will help insure that politicians represent the best interests of their constituents."

Democrats challenge recall petition

On May 5, 2011, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed a formal challenge against Simac's recall efforts, asking the Government Accountability Board (GAB) to disqualify thousands of recall signatures collected against Holperin. According to a survey, 9.2% of the 534 people surveyed said that they were misled into signing recall petitions being circulated by Simac's recall group. In addition, an affidavit was submitted on behalf of a World War II veteran from Green Bay who alleged he was misled into signing the recall petition. According to his account, a sheriff asked the circulator to remove the name. However, a subsequent review of the petitions revealed the veteran's name was never crossed off.[14]

Certification challenge delays

On May 27, 2011, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board announced it would be unable to consider the recall petitions for the three Democratic incumbents at the May 31, 2011 meeting. Citing "numerous factual and legal issues," the Board said in its statement that more time was needed to ensure that a complete record would be available for examination -- particularly since the decision would likely be appealed to the courts.[15]

In its release, the GAB officials said they did not expect to be able to hold a hearing on the recalls of Democratic incumbents until the week of June 6. This raised potential legal issues, as the initial extension granted to GAB for certification required it to ultimately make determinations before June 3.[15]

The board went ahead with hearings on May 31 for the recalls of Republican incumbents Sheila Harsdorf, Robert Cowles and Alberta Darling.[16] Officials released a 125-page memo on May 27, 2011 concerning the signatures and legal challenges.

The GAB filed a brief on June 1 asking the court for a one-week extension, which would give them until June 10 to finish working on the three Democratic recalls. The case was heard in Dane County Court at 1:30 pm on Friday, June 3.[17][18] Dane County Judge John Markson ruled that there was good cause for the extension, and that the GAB did not violate any rules by taking up the petitions out of order.[19]

Ultimately, on June 8, after nearly 9 hours of deliberations, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board certified the recalls of three Democratic incumbents and set an initial election for July 19.[20]

Ethics complaints

The Wisconsin Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Simac on June 30 for failing to have a "Paid for by" disclaimer on a mailing her campaign sent out. Simac's Communication Director Matt Capristo took responsibility, issuing a statement saying, "As the staff member responsible for drafting and seeing that the mailings go out. I take responsibility for the oversight of not having a full disclaimer attached to this mailing."[21]

The Wisconsin Democratic Party Communications Director directed the blame towards Simac, stating, "While it's easy to write this off as a one-time mistake by a staffer, the buck stops with Kim Simac. For a candidate who talks a lot about individual accountability, Kim Simac sure seems to be ducking her responsibility for her own campaign."[22]

On July 7, the state Democratic Party filed a second complaint against Simac for 19 separate violations of election laws and rules.[23]



The National Rifle Association gave Sen. Holperin an “A” rating and endorsed him in the race for the 12th District. Holperin said, “I’m grateful to the NRA for recognizing my legislative record of protecting gun rights and our northwoods hunting heritage. I’m proud to have the organization’s endorsement and I intend to continue working to advance legislation that protects 2nd amendment rights.”[24]

Simac, a vocal proponent of gun-rights, wrote a children’s book entitled With My Rifle by My Side. The publisher describes the book, which has won praise from Glenn Beck, as “a story written for young children to encourage an appreciation and respect for appropriate firearm use.”[25]

Campaign contributions

Kim Simac Campaign Finance Reports (GAB ID No. 0105105)
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Total Contributions (Expenditures) Cash on Hand
Special Pre-Election[26] August 8, 2011 $53,615.63 $109,790.97 $(113,707.95) $49,698.65
July Continuing[27] July 11, 2011 $0.00 $89,407.00 $(55,851.19) $33,555.81

Official reports

External links


  1. WJFW, "Kim Simac Announces Candidacy for 12th State Senate District," May 5, 2011
  2. WSAW, "Tea Party Leader to Run Against Sen. Holperin," May 4, 2011
  3. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two state representatives won't run against Holperin", May 5, 2011
  4. Lakeland Times, "Simac to challenge Holperin," May 4, 2011
  5. Wausau Daily Herald "Lincoln Co. Board chairman challenges senator," May 19, 2011
  6. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "July 19 primary results District 12," accessed August 11, 2011
  7. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 12 recall election results," accessed August 26, 2011
  8. ‘’WAOW “Holperin and Lussow face off in education forum,” June 20, 2011
  9. Kim Simac for Senate Facebook page “Post on June 21, 2011"
  10. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Challenges filed against 4 GOP candidates in recall races," June 25, 2011
  11. ‘’WisPolitics, “GAB kicks Nygren off the ballot,” June 27, 2011
  12. ‘’WJFW, “Broadcasting Company Tells Sen. Holperin To Stop Campaign Ad,” July 13, 2011
  13. Kim Simac for Senate, "Issues," retrieved May 17, 2011
  14. Democratic Party of Wisconsin "GOP Election Fraud Exposed," May 5, 2011
  15. 15.0 15.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Review of recall petitions going slowly; July 12 election in doubt," May 27, 2011
  16. Greenfield Reporter "Wis. election officials delay decision on recall petitions for Dems, may need date change," May 27, 2011
  17. WisPolitics, "GAB formally asks judge for more time to consider recall petitions against Dems," June 1, 2011
  18. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "State board requests more time to review recall petitions," June 1, 2011
  19. NBC 15, "UPDATE: Judge Grants Week Extension for Recall Review," June 3, 2011
  20. WISN, “GAB Certifies 3 Democratic Recall Elections,” June 8, 2011
  21. Wausau Daily Herald, "Kim Simac aide responsible for missing papers," July 1, 2011
  22. My FOX Wausau, "Democrats file complaint against Northwoods Republican," July 1, 2011
  23. WisPolitics, "WisDems: New complaint chronicles 19 new Kim Simac campaign violations," July 7, 2011
  24. WisPolitics, “Holperin Campaign: Holperin gets “A” rating and NRA endorsement,” July 25, 2011
  25. Nordskog Publishing, “With My Rifle by My Side," accessed July 26, 2011
  26. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: STATE OF WISCONSIN: GAB-2: Committee to Elect Kim Simac for State Senate," August 8, 2011
  27. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: STATE OF WISCONSIN: GAB-2: Committee to Elect Kim Simac for State Senate," July 11, 2011