The much awaited Wisconsin recall elections got off to a favorable start for the Democrats yesterday. Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen trounced his opponent David VanderLeest by a 2 to 1 margin. Quoting Steve Contorno of the Green Bay Press Gazette: “The summer of recalls had its first definitive outcome Tuesday night when Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, handily defeated Republican David VanderLeest with 66 percent of the vote. Hansen’s victory over a controversial candidate wasn’t a shocker. VanderLeest’s legal and financial troubles became the focus of his campaign, dragging down his bid even after he vowed not to discuss them anymore. But the margin of victory and the turnout by voters were a first-round demonstration of the Democratic Party’s ground game going into August, when six Republicans and two more Democrats face recall elections with control of state government hanging in the balance.”
With regard to the remaining recall elections, State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said the that the two Democratic state senators were in good shape to withstand their recall challenges. With regard to the six incumbent Republicans facing a recall elections later this summer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out: “Tate also said that there’s an “opportunity” now for all six Democratic recall challengers to defeat the six incumbent Republicans that they’ll face in general recall elections on Aug. 9. He referred to favorable polling data in four of the races that Democrats and their allies have released previously, and said the party would release more Wednesday or Thursday on a fifth race, the one between Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) and Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). As for the sixth race, he referred to the fact that Democrat Nancy Nusbaum of De Pere has raised more campaign money than incumbent Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Allouez).” It’s important to note that the Democrats only need to unseat three of the incumbent Republicans along with holding onto the three Democratic seats subject to recall challenges in order to wrest control of Wisconsin state government.
It looks like its going to be a long hot summer in Wisconsin, both politically and in terms of the temperatures registering on the thermometer. One thing is for certain and that is that the political overreach of Scott Walker is about to be tested in a big way. Big enough in fact that he himself may be staring down the barrel of a recall election himself before too long.
Wisconsin recall elections kick off; http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/07/19/wisconsin_recall_election_kick_off
Democrats say Hansen victory means they’re ‘surging’; http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/125901683.html
Wisconsin Democrat Dave Hansen defeats David VanderLeest in Senate recall election; http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20110719/GPG0101/110719159/Democrat-Hansen-defeats-VanderLeest-state-Senate-recall-election?odyssey=nav%7Chead