Monday, August 8, 2011

Bringing it on home in Wisconsin, Tue., Aug. 9

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Six Wisconsin senate districts will hold recall elections on Tuesday, Aug. 9. Residents who care about the future of that state and the nation must turn out to vote.

The recalls have been prompted by the legislative agenda rammed through the GOP-controlled Assembly and Senate by GOP Gov. Scott Walker. The extremist and un-American agenda seeks to alter the state's political dynamic under the guise of financial stewardship. Republicans control the senate by a margin of 19-14; Democrats must pick up a net of three seats in the recalls in order to gain majority (17-16) control of that chamber and restore checks and balance to Wisconsin's political process.

The electoral stakes are high for both sides, as reported by Politico and articulated by Judson Phillips, CEO of Tea Party Nation. Speaking at an Aug. 6 rally in Thiensville, Wisconsin – sponsored by the Tea Party Express and promoted by the Republican Party of Milwaukee County – Phillips said "I detest and despise everything the left stands for. How anybody can endorse an ideology that has killed a billion people in the last century is beyond me." A day earlier, according to Politico, Phillips "likened protestors of Gov. Scott Walker to Nazi storm troopers."

Also according to Politico, another speaker at Saturday's rally, Vince Schmuki, said "Tuesday is going to be the beginning of our takeover. And we're going to follow it up the following week, and then we're going to polish off the enemy in November 2012."

In response to voter petitions in each district, recall elections were scheduled for nine incumbents – six Republicans and three Democrats – including the six Republicans up for vote on Aug. 9:

District 2 - incumbent Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, challenged by Nancy Nusbaum, D-De Pere;
District 8 - incumbent Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, challenged by Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay;
District 10 - incumbent Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, challenged by Shelly Moore, D-River Falls;
District 14 - incumbent Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, challenged by Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo;
District 18 - incumbent Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, challenged by Jessica King, D-Oshkosh;
District 32 - incumbent Dan Kapanke, R-LaCrosse, challenged by Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-LaCrosse.

Two Democratic senators will face recall votes on Aug. 16: District 12 incumbent Jim Holperin, D-Conover, faces challenger Kim Simac, R-Eagle River, and District 22 incumbent Robert Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, faces challenger Jonathan Steitz, R-Pleasant Prairie.

District 30 incumbent Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, defeated his Republican challenger, Dave VanderLeest, with 66% of the vote on July 19.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has tagged the recall efforts as "ugly, unnecessary, and expensive," and has declined to endorse any candidates on the principle that recalls should not be used to dispute policy differences.

Most other Wisconsin newspapers are playing it straight-down-the-middle, opting to encourage readers to vote without making endorsements. One exception: The Capital Times in Madison endorsed Democratic challenger Clark over Republican incumbent Olsen in District 14.

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