The Wisconsin recall elections actually aren’t over. Because of the timing of some challenges to petition filings, all of the recalls did not happen on the same day. Instead the elections against Republican state Senators were split from the elections against Democratic state Senators. There were initially three recalls against Democrats, but in the race against Sen. Dave Hansen, the Republicans’ preferred candidate was disqualified for not having enough valid signatures to get on the ballot. This left only one challenger to Hansen, and so the general recall election was held back in July, with Hansen winning easily. So there are only two races left tomorrow, against Democratic Senators Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch.
PPP polled the races and found both Democrats in decent shape.
Robert Wirch (D-inc): 55
Jonathan Steitz (R): 42
Jim Holperin (D-inc): 55
Kim Simac (R): 41
Holperin is seen as more threatened because of the makeup of the district, which is not dissimilar to districts where Republican incumbents won last week. But Simac is more of a wild-card candidate, a Tea Partier who could not name a single piece of legislation that she supports or opposes, as of just a few DAYS ago. And incumbency does have its advantages.
Hopefully this will hold. These recalls have been daunting for polling operations, because turnout is a great unknown. However, PPP pretty much nailed all of last week’s recalls, so their track record is pretty solid. If they are right again, then the final tally of the Wisconsin recalls will be Dems plus-2, and a very closely divided state Senate. After that, the state moves on, and the youth/labor/progressive movement probably moves to recall Scott Walker, and perhaps other Republicans in less favorable terrain:
At that point, Democrats should consider further recalls early next year, when the Republicans first elected (or re-elected) in 2010 will be eligible. The playing field will be much more advantageous to us, since that batch of GOP-held seats contains a bunch that are bluer than most of those we contested this year, and it also includes a boatload of freshmen swept in on last year’s red tide. We’ll also only need one seat rather than three, and it’s hard to see any of our remaining seats being vulnerable. (My understanding is that recalls would be held under the old district lines, rather than the new maps the legislature just passed and Gov. Scott Walker just signed.)
I don’t know if the Senate will be contested in this way. To truly overturn the Walker agenda, you need all three branches. The Assembly would be available for recall as well by January, but at that point, they’ll all up for re-election in November. I suppose that if you wanted to contest using the old district lines, you could go for it, but with the actual election in November the results would be short-lived. Plus it seems very messy. The recall of Walker is probably the big target here.