Senate Recalls Beginning to Take Shape

If it seems that election season in Wisconsin is never-ending, that would be a reasonable inference. Voters just had a statewide election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court (see below for more information) along with three elections to fill vacancies in the Assembly. What’s more, the Wisconsin Senate could face up to nine recall elections this summer due to the controversial budget repair bill earlier this year.

The senators subject to these recalls are six Republicans: Robert Cowles (Green Bay), Alberta Darling (River Hills), Sheila Harsdorf (River Falls), Randy Hopper (Fond du Lac), Dan Kapanke (La Crosse), and Luther Olson (Ripon). Three Democrats will also be subject to recalls: Dave Hansen (Green Bay), Jim Holperin (Conover) and Robert Wirch (Pleasant Prarie).

Two Republican senators who were targeted but fell short of the needed number of signatures were Sen. Mary Lazich and Sen. Glenn Grothman. Recall efforts on five Democrat senators also fell short – Senators Lena Taylor, Spencer Coggs, Mark Miller, Julie Lassa and Fred Risser.

At a recent hearing, Dane County Circuit Court Judge John W. Markson approved the Government Accountability Board’s request for an extension of the time to review eight recall petitions that have been filed with the Board. The extension was requested due to the unprecedented number of petitions which have been offered for filing, and to make it possible to hold many of the recall elections on the same day

As a result, the Board’s plan is to order recall elections to be held on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, for any of the eight petitions that are found to be sufficient. A ninth petition (Sen. Robert Cowles), filed April 28, is not covered by the court order and will be reviewed on its own schedule. Decisions on sufficiency will be made by the Board at special meetings scheduled for May 23 and May 31.

Kim Simac, president of the Northwoods Patriots and a leader of the Tea Party movement in the state of Wisconsin, says she will challenge Jim Holperin for State Senate in the upcoming recall election. State Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay is running against GOP Sen. Alberta Darling. State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) announced this week that he will run against Senator Hansen. In addition, former Brown County Board Supervisor Rich Langan will challenge Sen. Cowles, and Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) will take on Senator Kapanke.