What This Is…
Issue #14- July 26, 2011 Updates in the Senate Races. Two weeks to Recall!!
We are two weeks away from one of the biggest election days in Wisconsin history. Am I exaggerating? I don't believe so. Just look at what has happened over the past 5+ months here in Wisconsin. The changes in the way we do politics have been staggering. From the midnight passing of bills and sudden committee meetings to the change in the redistricting procedures, we have been subjected to a blitz of legislation. All of this done in the name of a crisis of dubious nature.
Our system of government is based in great measure on the separation of power into multiple hands. With the current regime we have lost this protection and the results are clear. There is no way to "derail" any of the proposals that Governor Walker wants to force on us. The typical citizen is left with few "tools" to exert their influence on government and is left "standing with" their back to the wall. The loss of income, safety and services that result from our Governors actions will be felt for many years to come, unless a roadblock can be put in his path. That roadblock can be the Wisconsin Senate.
In order for the balance of power to be restored the recall of the six Republican Senators needs to be successful. I've already shared ways to get involved in the recall efforts several times and encourage everyone to participate. I also wanted to take a brief moment and share a few details from each of the six districts that will be voting on August 9th. I'm focusing on issues regarding the Republican Senators, more information about the Democrat candidates will follow. The information shared below demonstrates just how vital it is to recall these Republican Senators and retain the Democrats in office.
Finding good information about the recalls is challenging. Of course there are many websites that provide "facts" about the races. However, because of their nature most of these sites are significantly biased. In order to get at the core if the issues you need to be a careful reader. This is a skill that is taught in our schools and further developed over years. Another example of the value of education.
However, it is very educational to read the websites, social network pages and other sources for information about the candidates. I find it terrifying to read some of the postings on the Republican pages, especially when I think that some of the people they are voicing anger at are people exactly like me. I wonder, when did I become the enemy of all that is American?
This map has been presented before, but gives a good idea of the location of the different districts holding recall elections. I've added maps of each district along with the information so that you can (hopefully) see the geography of each Senate District.
Robert Cowles (R) vs.
Nancy Nusbaum (D)…
Latest Poll Data: Unavailable
Robert Cowles has been a senator since 1987. He serves as the chair of the Energy, Biotechnology and Consumer Protection Committee among others. Ironically he sponsored a bill in February recognizing February 4th as "Wear Red Day" (in honor of American Heart Month). Given that red is now the adopted color of the protestors he should have moved that day a few weeks later.
His district has been solidly Republican and he hasn't faced serious opposition in several election cycles. He has received over 90% of the vote in the past two elections. Out of touch? He recently said on his website, "The last year has revealed a strong and growing economy. However, there is no reason for state government to grow larger at the same time." He also called the $800 million in cuts to education a "fable".
Alberta Darling (R) vs.
Sandra Pasch (D)…
Latest Poll Data: Pasch 47 Darling 46
Alberta Darling has been a senator since 1993. She is the co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee as well as a member of several other committees. She has been a strong supporter of Gov. Walker's policies. Sen. Darling is one of the sponsors of SB-22, a bill that advocates for charter schools. A few quotes from her;
"We are not trying to ram things through"
"Laid off Milwaukee Teachers have only their union to blame."
Sheila Harsdorf (R) vs.
Shelly Moore (D)…
Latest Poll Data: Moore 45 Harsdorf 50
Sheila Harsdorf has been equally supportive of Walker and critical of efforts to counter his agenda. She says, "Union bosses don't run government, people do." She joins other Republicans in singling out public workers by stating that a key to reforming government is "making government employees contribute to benefits" this will "put taxpayers first".
She has made some interesting claims about her opponent's financial status. Harsdorf claims that, "National special interests are seeking to overturn election results." She puts statistics that Shelly Moore has gotten more contributions from outside Wisconsin than inside. Looking closer at the numbers shows that while this is true, the amount of money coming from Wisconsin is 3 times more than out of state donations. Moore has raised $212,000 to date. Of this amount $156,000 is from Wisconsin citizens. It's also interesting to note that Moore averages $22 per donation while Harsdorf's average donation is $108. The numbers also don't take into account Harsdorf's existing campaign balances, while Moore has had to raise all her money in recent months.
Luther Olson (R) vs.
Fred Clark (D)…
Latest Poll Data: Clark 45 Olson 43
Of note is the fact that Clark is up 49-41 in polling of voters who cast a ballot in the Supreme Court election this past April. Fred Clark was also one of the Assembly Members who brought their desks outside of the capital building while access was limited by DOA restrictions.
They will be interviewed by Ben Merens at 4 PM on WPR on July 28th.
Luther Olson is the chair of the Education Committee and is also a sponsor of SB-22. In February he expressed reservations about taking away bargaining rights for employees. "It affects a lot of good working people," he said. However, that didn't stop him from voting with his party to pass the Budget "Repair" Bill.
Randy Hopper (R) vs.
Jessica King (D)…
Latest Poll Data: King 50 Hopper 47
Interviewed by Ben Merens at 4 PM on WPR on July 27th.
Randy Hopper is a member of several senate committees including Finance and Energy, Biotechnology and Consumer Protection. He also has tried to influence voters by claiming that his opponent is funded by outside interests. "These people who reside out of state and out of country can't vote, leaving their only option to buy the senate seat for Jessica King." Of course he is a person of the people with a strong sense of ethics…oh wait, his campaign is running an ad that is off the charts lying (regarding King's voting record). Hopper is also the subject of a number of ethics complaints, so much for his clean image.
Dan Kapanke (R) vs.
Jennifer Shilling (D)…
Latest Poll Data: Shilling 56 Kapanke 42
Dan Kapanke is famous for his "broken" windshield during the February protests. He cited the danger to him as a reason to avoid public appearances and lack of accessibility. His seat is one of the most vulnerable to recall and he has gone so far as to state, "We've got tons of government workers (in his district)…We gotta hope that they, kind of, are sleeping on July 12th or whenever the election date is." He also spoke to one of the core issues regarding Republican control of the Senate, "If they gain control of the senate, it might be over for us, because redistricting will play a role, as you know, and we will lose that power."
Assembly District 48
Spencer Zimmerman (R) vs.
Chris Taylor (D)…
Don't forget to vote if you live in this Assembly District.
Kim Simac (R) vs.
Jim Holperin (D)…
Kim Simac seems to be basing much of her campaign on the fact that Holperin is one of the Wisconsin 14. She states that she will not run away and will make tough decisions. Most of her campaign material draws straight from the typical Republican rhetoric. She is a Tea Party activist who called the protesters "mutinous cowards" and stated that corporations are "this fundamental cornerstone of America…"
Jonathon Steitz (R) vs.
Robert Wirch (D)…
Interviewed by Ben Merens at 4 PM on WPR on July 26th.
Jonathon Stietz announced his candidacy before a "packed" room of over 100. He is running on the platform of lower taxes and less government that is so popular with the current Republicans. As campaign slogans these sound fine, it's the way that they are put into practice that doesn't provide for the "general welfare" of all citizens. He and his supporters are also critical of Wirch's actions in February and claim that Wirch is controlled by union bosses.