I actually feel a little better that Randy Hopper has released a panicked, factually inaccurate radio ad in his defense in advance of a potential recall election in Wisconsin. It means that he might actually have the notion that he can save his job instead of resigning. Hopper has also called in a big gun to help him with the recall vote.
Jeff Harvey, Hopper’s recently hired campaign manager, said he arrived in the state over the weekend. Harvey is a veteran of Republican campaigns who most recently worked on the election of Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., and was previously coalitions director for the campaign of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Harvey said the recalls of Republicans are being spearheaded by “union bosses who want to handpick new senators who will vote the way union bosses tell them to.”
“They’re attempting to undermine the voters who want to bring fiscal responsibility to Madison,” Harvey said.
Dismiss the spin. The important thing is that you have a candidate here, not someone likely to run away from the recall and resign his post. And because Hopper’s tainted in about twenty different ways – the anti-union vote, his shacking up with a mistress in Madison – that’s good for those who want to see him recalled. Which includes a majority of residents in his district, according to polls.
Here’s just another thing that Hopper must contend with – his residence in Madison means that he’s violating per diem rules.
In fact, if Hopper lived in Madison between August 18th and the November 2nd election, yet returned to Fond du Lac to vote during the midterm election, he may have committed voter fraud. Voting laws in Wisconsin require people to vote at the polling place for where they have been living for 10 days prior to the election (that’s the extremely short version of the law). If Hopper was essentially living with his girlfriend during that time then his proper polling place should have been in Madison.
Now we have to ask ourselves what constituents “living,” which isn’t an easy question to answer under the circumstances. Did Hopper plan on returning to Fond du Lac? If so, did he make an effort to find another residence in the district? When? How often? How many nights did he spend in Fondy? How many in Madison? Did he co-sign the lease with his mistress when they moved in together? Has he payed part or all of the rent of his Madison residence? What about the phone bill for a land line? Does he rent a parking space in Madison? These may seem like trivial questions but they will now have to be asked to determine a pattern of living that should dictate where Hopper should have voted during the last election […]
UPDATE: In Wisconsin legislators who live outside Dane County get a per diem of $88 a day when they travel to Madison for work (inside Dane Co. legislators get $44/day). If Hopper claimed the outside Dane County per diems when he was, in fact, living inside Dane County, now we’re talking about possible embezzlement charges. This would probably make him subject to Dane County prosecution. If that’s the case, he should be investigated by the Dane County DA.
Hopper may be the only member of the Republican 8 for whom a recall is the least of his worries.