Capitol chaos

Primary recall elections bring some long voter lines

CREATED Jul 11, 2011

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GLENDALE - The polls are open Tuesday for the first of several state Senate recall elections.

Voters in many north shore communities have one decision to make in Tuesday's Democratic primary, but that doesn't mean Republicans will sit this one out.

Republican Alberta Darling is expected to face Democrat Sandy Pasch in the August recall election, but Pasch first needs to beat Gladys Huber - the so called "fake" Democrat or “protest candidate” in Tuesday's primary.

Some voters in Glendale complained that they had to wait up to 40 minutes to vote, because they city's mayor and common council decided that they could only afford to open one polling station.

Poll workers also asked that voters show their identification and sign a log, which is not required until 2012.

Those requests are holding up the lines as well.

City Administrator Richard Maslowski estimated a 50% turnout for the primary recall, and he explained that he would try to bring in more workers to help at the polls.

Voters give reasons for picking their candidates in recall primary

Peter Anderson will vote for Pasch. He doesn't like the idea that some Republicans will come out to vote for Pasch's primary opponent.

"I think it's tweaking the system the way it shouldn't be tweaked," said Anderson.

But it's not illegal.

Patrick Noble wants Darling to win in August, so he's thinking about voting for Pasch's opponent.

"Based on what I read, and we are relatively new to the area, we'd kind of like to keep Darling where she's at," said Noble.

G-O-P leaders in some state Senate recall districts are encouraging Republicans to turn out for the protest candidate, but there doesn't appear to be a coordinated statewide effort.

The state party issued a statement saying: “The Republican Party of Wisconsin has given no assistance to protest candidates except to help them get on the ballot."

Democratic party leaders say any effort to defeat the real Democrats won't work.

"The Republicans know if the general elections for the state Senate recalls were held Tuesday they would lose. I think they will still lose in August, but this is clearly a deceitful tactic,” said state Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate.

Six Republicans and three Democrats face recall. If the Democrats gain three seats, they will take majority control away from the Republicans and be in a position to stop Walker and the GOP's agenda.

Republicans can vote in the Democratic races because Wisconsin has an open primary.

State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said he was concerned Republicans would attempt to vote for the fake Democrats Tuesday, but he was confident the real ones would prevail.

The winners of Tuesday's primaries will advance to take on the six Republican incumbents in the Aug. 9 general election.

Also on Tuesday, six Democrats were running for a seat in the Assembly representing a portion of Dane County that was vacated by Joe Parisi when he left in April to serve as Dane County executive. The winner in that race has no opposition in the Aug. 9 general election.

There is a Republican primary in two other races on July 19 and a general election in the Green Bay area with Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen versus GOP challenger Dave VanderLeest. The general election for the other two races targeting Democratic incumbents is Aug. 16.

Besides Pasch and Huber, the candidates on the primary ballot Tuesday are:

-- 2nd District: Former De Pere mayor and Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, 64, and Otto Junkermann, an 82-year-old protest candidate who served as a Brown County supervisor in the 1980s and one year as a Republican in the state Assembly. The winner faces Sen. Rob Cowles.

-- 10th District: Shelly Moore, 37, an Ellsworth public school teacher from River Falls and fake Democrat Isaac Weix, 36, a hardware store owner from Menomonie. The winner faces Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and independent BJ Cook of River Falls.

-- 14th District: State Rep. Fred Clark, 52, and Rol Church of Wautoma. The winner takes on Sen. Luther Olsen.

-- 18th District: Attorney Jessica King, 35, and John Buckstaff, 81, a retired furniture business owner. The winner faces Sen. Randy Hopper.

-- 32nd District: State Rep. Jennifer Shilling, 42, of La Crosse, and James D. Smith, a former county Republican executive committee member also from La Crosse. The winner takes on Sen. Dan Kapanke.