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Wisconsin Democratic State Senator Wins Recall In Landslide: Eight Races To Go

Wisconsin Democrats have now won a round in the state Senate recalls, with Dem incumbent state Sen. Dave Hansen easily winning against a politically weak and seemingly troubled challenger, GOP activist and recall organizer David VanderLeest.

With 65% percent of precincts reporting, Hansen is winning by 69%-31%, and has been projected as the winner by the Associated Press.

In two other races, where Republican primaries were being held, the votes are still being counted to determine who will face Democratic state Sens. Robert Wirch and Jim Holperin.

This leaves eight races to go. On August 9, general elections will be held in six races targeting incumbent Republicans. Then on August 16, two more races will be held targeting incumbent Democrats. Republicans currently control the chamber by a majority of 19-14. Democrats hope to gain a net three seats and win a majority in a backlash against GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation. In other words, control of the chamber is up for grabs.

This particular result was not in much doubt — due to the fact that VanderLeest has been plagued by questions about his fitness for office, after revelations about his personal finances and reports of domestic violence (which included a plea of no-contest to two charges of disorderly conduct).

As the election headed into its home stretch, VanderLeest made such statements as, “None of it’s true. I don’t smoke rocks, and that’s the truth,” and threatened to sue Hansen and various Democratic groups for slander. (He also claimed to have learned that there was an investigation against these groups for racketeering. The source: A complaint filed by a supporter close to his campaign.)

To be clear, VanderLeest was not the GOP’s preferred candidate. Instead, Republicans became stuck with VanderLeest after their originally recruited candidate, state Rep. John Nygren, failed to submit the required 400 valid petition signatures. Nygren submitted slightly over 400 signatures for himself — despite the fact that Republicans had been able to gather 18,000 signatures to trigger a recall — with not enough of a buffer for when a few them were disqualified. Nygren initially filed a lawsuit to get onto the ballot, but lost in court and announced he would not further appeal the decision.

In last week’s Democratic primaries, for races targeting six incumbent Republicans, the official Democratic candidates all won against fake Dem candidates — who were in fact Republican activists planted in the races by the state GOP in order to delay the general elections.

By: Eric Kleefield, Talking Points Memo, July 19, 2011

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Gov Scott Walker, Ideologues, Ideology, Middle Class, Politics, Public Employees, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Break For Wisconsin Democrats In Recall Fight

At first glance, this will seem deep in the weeds, but this just in from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal constitutes a real break for Wisconsin Dems in their quest to take back the state senate in the recall wars:

State elections officials Monday took a Republican Assembly lawmaker off the ballot in a recall election against a Democratic senator.

The state Government Accountability Board voted unanimously to leave Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) off the ballot in the July 19 recall election for Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) in the 30th Senate District. The board found that Nygren fell just short of collecting the 400 valid nominating signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, finding he collected only 398 valid signatures.

The accountability board had initially found that Nygren had submitted 424 qualifying signatures from voters. But after a number of signatures were challenged by Democrats, the accountability board found that 26 of those were invalid.

In a nutshell, what happened here is that one of the Dem state senators that Dems and labor thought was genuinely vulnerable to a recall challenge — Dave Hansen — will now no longer face his toughest challenger. Once it has been established through signature gathering that a recall election will be held against a sitting official, a potential challenger only requires 400 signatures to get on the ballot in the recall elections. Hansen’s leading challenger, John Nygren, fell short and was disqualified.

Hansen is now all but certain to face a challenge from a far weaker candidate — David VanderLeest. According to Journal Sentinel columnist David Bice, this latest challenger has a court record that includes disorderly conduct.

Kelly Steele, a spokesman for the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin, was thrilled about the new development, claiming that VanderLeest’s “rap sheet reads like a directory of the Wisconsin state criminal code.”

Here’s why this is important. In order to take back the state senate, Dems need to net three recall wins. Six Republicans face recall battles; while only three Dems do. But now one of the three Dems may be far safer than previously thought, which means Dems may have an easier time netting three wins — and that Wisconsin GOPers may have a tougher time hanging onto the state senate.

 

By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post Plum Line, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Governors, Ideology, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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