16 candidates in recall elections
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Sixteen candidates have filed nomination papers by Tuesday's deadline in six state Senate districts where the Republican incumbents are being targeted for recall elections.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin recruited six people as "protest candidates" -- Republicans running as Democrats to force primaries, giving the Republican incumbents an additional month to prepare for a general election.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin encouraged three "placeholder" candidates meant to ensure all the races had primaries in the event Republicans didn't run a so-called protest candidate in a given race. The Democrats wanted to ensure all the primary races will be on the same day.
The six targeted Republican senators are Alberta Darling of River Hills, Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, Luther Olsen of Ripon, Robert Cowles of Green Bay, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Dan Kapanke of La Crosse.
Three Democrats also face recall elections.
The effort to remove the senators from office stems from the fight earlier this year over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to take away collective bargaining rights from nearly all public employees. The state Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling Tuesday and said the law can go into effect.
The Republicans facing recall elections voted for the measure, and the Democrats fled to Illinois to block its passage. It's the largest concerted effort to remove incumbents from office during their terms in Wisconsin history.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin's executive director, Stephan Thompson, said in a statement that the so-called protest candidates are "standing up in direct response to the fact that Republican candidates face recall not for misconduct, but for taking a vote to protect middle-class families, unlike Democrat senators who face recalls for abandoning their responsibilities."
The Democratic Party has said it doesn't want to let Republicans to decide whether there is a primary or not in each race. Gillian Morris, the press secretary of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the three candidates it pushed were "placeholder" candidates.
"These are not protest candidates they are placeholders because we need to help protect the integrity of the recall election process from the cynical Republican plot to delay the recall and deny the people their voice," she said.
She said they expect to win all the recall elections.
In Cowles' race, the challengers listed as Democrats are Otto Junkermann, of Green Bay, Nancy Nusbaum, a former Brown County executive, of De Pere and Mert Summers, of De Pere.
In the Darling race, the challengers listed as Democrats are Gladys Huber, of Mequon, State Rep. Sandy Pasch, of Whitefish Bay, and Nicholas Brehm of Milwaukee.
In the Harsdorf race, it's Shelly Moore, a leader in the state's largest teachers union, and Isaac Weix, of Menomonie.
In the Olsen race, Rol Church of Wautoma, state Rep. Fred Clark, of Baraboo, and Robert Forseth of Waupaca are registered as Democratic challengers.
In the Hopper race, the challengers are John D. Buckstaff, of Oshkosh, John Michael Curry, of Waupun, and Jessica King, of Oshkosh. King is a former deputy mayor of Fond du Lac who narrowly lost to Hopper in 2008.
Jennifer Shilling, of La Crosse, and James D. Smith, of La Crosse are running as Democrats in the Kapanke race.
The "protest" candidates who are actually Republicans are Weix, Church, Buckstaff, Junkermann, Smith and Huber.
The "placeholder" candidates recruited by the Democratic Party are Summers, Brehm and Forseth.
State Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said Tuesday the likely candidates must file financial information by Friday. Any challenges to a candidate also have to be done by Friday.
The board also has to review the signatures before the candidates are certified and put on the ballot.
If all that happens and there are Democratic challengers, a primary would occur on July 12 with the general election on Aug. 9.
Candidates interested in taking on the Democratic incumbents in the July 19 recall elections have until next Tuesday to file. The targeted Democrats are Sens. Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie, Jim Holperin of Conover and Dave Hansen of Green Bay.
If a primary is needed in the Democratic races, it would be July 19, with the general election on Aug. 16.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)