MADISON, Wisc. (CN) – In Tuesday’s Stage 2 of Wisconsin’s Summer of Recalls, a Democratic state senator handily defeated a Republican challenger, and Republicans in two districts chose candidates for Round 4, on Aug. 16. Six recalled Republicans face recall elections in the Main Event on Aug. 9.
On Tuesday, state Sen. Dave Hansen of Green Bay took 66 percent of the vote against Republican challenger David VanderLeest.
Hansen was the first recalled official to face a general (recall) election because he had no opposition from his own party, and no primary.
Republicans put up phony Democrats in five previous Democratic primaries, to delay the general recall elections and give Republicans more time to organize for them.
Six Republican state senators were recalled for supporting the state’s crackdown on public unions.
A loss of three seats would throw the state Senate to Democrats, and derail Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda. That will be the Main Event, on Aug 9, though the outcome might be altered by the final recall elections, a week later.
Three Democrats were recalled by voters who were angry that they fled the state to deny Republicans a quorum for the so-called Budget Repair Bill.
Republicans tried to postpone the general election in Hansen’s race too, but their phony Democrat managed to obtain only 398 valid signatures to run in the primary, 2 short of the required 400.
VanderLeest was not a strong opponent for Hansen, a 6-term incumbent. Court records showed VanderLeest has been arrested at least four times since 2006 for domestic disputes, that he owes $24,000 in back taxes, and had a home foreclosure and bankruptcy in 2006.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin described him as, “a train wreck” and “a troubled man whom responsible Republicans should have forced out of this race a long time ago.” The Wisconsin Democratic Party described Hansen’s win on Tuesday as a “towering triumph.”
In the Republican primaries on Tuesday, GOP voters chose Kim Simac to challenge Democrat Jim Holperin, and Jonathan Seitz to run against incumbent Democrat Robert Wirch. Both those elections will be on Aug. 16.
Simac owns a riding club near Eagle River. Steitz is a corporate attorney with a firm based in Chicago.
The Main Event will be on Aug. 9, when six Republican incumbents face challenges from Democrats. That one could change Wisconsin’s political direction.
Millions of dollars have been raised and national groups from both parties have converged on the state.
Here is the lineup for the Aug. 9 Main Event 9, in which six Republican incumbents face challenges from Democrats. All the incumbents are listed first:
District 2 (Shawano) – Sen. Rob Cowles will face former Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum;
District 8 (Menomonee Falls) – Sen. Alberta Darling faces Assemblywoman Sandra Pasch, a nurse;
District 10 (St. Croix) – Sen. Sheila Harsdorf faces Shelly Moore, a teacher and union official;
District 14 (Marquette) – Sen. Luther Olsen faces Assemblyman Fred Clark, a farmer and small business owner;
District 18 (Fond du Lac) – Sen. Randy Hopper faces Jessica King, a former deputy mayor;
District 32 (La Crosse) – Sen. Dan Kapanke faces Assemblywoman Jennifer Shilling, a former county supervisor.
Hopper is considered the most vulnerable, as state media have reported widely on accusations that, though married, he used his influence to get a state job for his girlfriend; Kapanke is considered vulnerable as his district has been trending Democratic.
Gov. Walker is eligible for recall in January.