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August 09, 2011

Live Thread: Wisconsin Recall Elections

Posted in: Uncategorized

Amid high but nit uniformly high turnout, voters took to the polls today in Wisconsin in six recall elections against Republican incumbents of the state Senate. The stakes are pretty simple: if Democrats manage to flip three of these seats, they take control of the Senate (provided they hold two incumbent seats in recall elections next week, as expected).

The six elections are in all corners of Wisconsin, but most of them are in districts that are more conservative than the state as a whole. The one exception to this is District 32, where Dan Kapanke represents more of a split district that went pretty strongly for JoAnne Kloppenburg over David Prosser in the April state Supreme Court race, the last high-profile election in the state.

Kapanke is seen as the most threatened incumbent today, with all the polls that have been taken showing him losing to Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D) by a margin well outside the margin of error. The other races are seen as mostly a tossup. Here’s a detailed look at the six Senate districts.

I’ll be updating throughout the night. The polls have just closed.

…Here are the six elections, specifically:

SD-02: Robert Cowles (R) vs. Nancy Nusbaum (D)
SD-08: Alberta Darling (R) vs. Sandy Pasch (D)
SD-10: Sheila Harsdorf (R) vs. Shelly Moore (D)
SD-14: Luther Olsen (R) vs. Fred Clark (D)
SD-18: Randy Hopper (R) vs. Jessica King (D)
SD-32: Dan Kapanke (R) vs. Jennifer Shilling (D)

As I said, Kapanke is the most threatened. King may have a slight edge over Hopper, but polling has showed it tightening. The Olsen/Clark and Darling/Pasch races are a flat tossup. And the Harsdorf and Cowles races have a slight edge to the Republicans. But those are based on polls, and there haven’t been many. Polling in a midsummer, unscheduled recall election is not entirely reliable, especially given the unusually high turnout today. The modeling is just unpredictable. So there’s a lot of uncertainty about tonight’s results.

…Democrats in Wisconsin allege that Republicans and the Tea Party broke the law with illegal coordination on phone-banking.

…The other point to make is that this could be short-lived. Today Walker signed redistricting legislation that will change the maps for these seats. They are very gerrymandered maps, that immediately take some of these Democratic challengers out of the districts in which they are running, and will make it harder for them to hold the seats if they win. And all of these races will be up again next November, in the 2012 elections.

…OK, a part of the district came in pretty heavily for Rob Cowles in SD-02, he has a 94-6 lead with 1%. This is literally with 35 votes in; Cowles is up 33-2.

In SD-14, Fred Clark has a 56-44 lead on Luther Olsen with 1% in…. now 52-48. Again, the numbers here are in the hundreds of votes.

Follow along here or here.

SE Wisconsin Patch has some pretty good numbers for Alberta Darling. Not a great sign.

…According to Chris Bowers, those two precincts where Fred Clark leads Luther Olsen by 12 votes went for state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser last time. That’s a good sign.

…Here are the early returns at this moment:

SD-2: 7/90 precincts in
Cowles 62, Nusbaum 38
SD-8: 2/92 precincts in
Darling 62, Pasch 38
SD-10: 5/114 precincts in
Harsdorf 58, Moore 42
SD-14: 9/126 precincts in
Olsen 57, Clark 42
SD-18: 6/108 precincts in
Hopper 54, King 46
SD-32: 8/119 precincts in
Shilling 52, Kapanke 48

These numbers are too early to extrapolate yet.

…as David Nir points out, 5 of the 6 Democratic challengers have to outperform JoAnne Kloppenburg in order to win tonight. Here are the numbers:

Clark needs to outperform JoAnne Kloppenburg’s April numbers by about 4.5%, but he’s only around 0.5% better right now [...] As for the other Democrats, compared to the KloJo April numbers, Nusbaum needs 7.7; Pasch 7.5; Clark 4.6; King 3.0.

…these numbers are decidedly not good. It’s early, but there are some pretty ominous warning signs.

SD-2: 16/90 precincts in
Cowles 59, Nusbaum 41
SD-8: 6/82 precincts in
Darling 71, Pasch 29
SD-10: 15/114 precincts in
Harsdorf 56, Moore 44
SD-14: 29/126 precincts in
Olsen 54, Clark 46
SD-18: 8/108 precincts in
Hopper 54, King 46
SD-32: 25/119 precincts in
Shilling 50, Kapanke 50

Looking fairly disastrous at the moment. A lot of right-wing money came into these races late. Still very early, however.

…The Cowles and Harsdorf races are very close to being able to be called. Almost half of the precincts are in in each race, and Cowles (57-43) and Harsdorf (59-41) are up comfortably.

The Clark/Olsen race looks a little better; with 37 of 126 precincts in, Olsen leads by just 51-49. He’s up by less than 300 votes.

…Jennifer Shilling has taken the lead in SD-32, by 51-49 with 29/119 precincts in. And LaCrosse isn’t in at all.

I think Shilling will pull away, and I think Cowles and Harsdorf will win. It comes down to those last three races. Democrats need 2 out of 3.

The reason I think Shilling will pull away is that LaCrosse County isn’t in yet, and that will bring her home. But if you compare these numbers to how these districts voted in April in the Kloppenburg/Prosser race, the Democrats are underperforming.

…On MSNBC, John Nichols says that many of the bigger cities have not reported because there were hourlong waits at the polls at 8:00 when they closed. If you were in line at 8:00 you could vote. Perhaps a silver lining as we watch the returns.

…Nichols describes the race as money (for the Republicans) versus people (for the Democrats). Says there were lines around the block in Portage to vote.

…the latest:

SD-2: 68/90 precincts in
Cowles 59, Nusbaum 41
SD-8: 12/82 precincts in
Darling 55, Pasch 45
SD-10: 71/114 precincts in
Harsdorf 58, Moore 42
SD-14: 61/126 precincts in
Olsen 55, Clark 45
SD-18: 16/108 precincts in
Hopper 53, King 47
SD-32: 31/119 precincts in
Shilling 51, Kapanke 49

Cowles and Harsdorf are going to win. With LaCrosse out, I believe Shilling will win. You’re down to those last three races, and if Dem-friendly areas are reporting late, anything can happen.

…And the AP calls the first race of the night, for Rob Cowles. That was always going to be very difficult to win.

…A big dump of precincts from Milwaukee County just gave Sandy Pasch the lead in SD-8 over Alberta Darling. She’s up 57-43, with just 15/82 precincts in.

…It’s early these two races, but Pasch and King look to be performing above trend. Clark is slightly below. If Pasch and King can pull it off, and Shilling holds, that’s three. But we’ll see, still early in the Pasch and King races.

…Harsdorf has been called in SD-10. So two to the Republicans. Democrats need to win three out of the last four. I think they’ve got one in the Shilling race in SD-32.

The remaining four races:

SD-8: 15/82 precincts in
Pasch 57, Darling 43
SD-14: 98/126 precincts in
Olsen 54, Clark 46
SD-18: 16/108 precincts in
Hopper 53, King 47
SD-32: 54/119 precincts in
Shilling 53, Kapanke 47

…Fred Clark looks to be fading. Sauk County did not come in at the levels needed for a victory. It looks like SD-8 and SD-18 will decide this thing.

…Jessica King has taken a 96 vote lead on Randy Hopper now. It’s still pretty early. 21/108 precincts in.

…It looks like Fred Clark is going to lose here, there are conflicting reports on a call. So it’s going to come down to the final three races. Democrats are currently up in all three. That would get them the state Senate.

SD-8: 32/82 precincts in
Pasch 56, Darling 44
SD-18: 25/108 precincts in
King 52, Hopper 48
SD-32: 54/119 precincts in
Shilling 54, Kapanke 46

…Shilling is starting to pull away, up 55-45 with 54% in. The AP isn’t calling the Luther Olsen/Fred Clark race because Clark’s hometown of Baraboo is out.

…In SD-18, all of Fond du Lac County (red) just came in, Randy Hopper got 1,800 votes out of it. It’s 51-49 Hopper but all the outstanding precincts are in Winnebago, where Jessica King has led all night. She’s 576 votes down.

…King is now ahead of trend, where she needs to be to win SD-18. It’s going to come down to the wire. Shilling looks fine, only LaCrosse County is out (favorable territory) and she’s up comfortably. The Pasch-Darling race does not have enough votes in yet to make a calculated guess.

…Important: the Pasch-Darling race includes 10 as-yet-uncounted districts from our favorite, Waukesha County. Eek.

…AP has called SD-14 for Luther Olsen. So that’s three for the Republicans, the Democrats need to sweep the other three. The latest.

SD-8: 33/82 precincts in
Pasch 56, Darling 44
SD-18: 90/108 precincts in
Hopper 51, King 49
SD-32: 97/119 precincts in
Shilling 54, Kapanke 46

King down 534 votes with 18 precincts in Winnebago County to go.

…And King goes ahead of Hopper by 137 votes! 14 precincts to go, all of them in favorable territory. Looking pretty good for her right now.

…AP just called the race for Jennifer Shilling in SD-32. So two races left, Dems now lead in both.

…Pasch just got a big boost from Milwaukee County, she’s up 58-42. But she’s running out of friendly precincts, and there are still those 10 precincts out in Waukesha. Does anyone get a good feeling seeing those sitting there?

…OK, so here’s where we’re at:

SD-8: 52/82 precincts in
Pasch 51, Darling 49
SD-18: 94/108 precincts in
King 50, Hopper 50

The precincts out in the King-Hopper race are all in King-friendly territory. King has a 137-vote lead. In SD-8, there are 30 precincts out: 15 in Milwaukee County, friendly to Pasch, 15 in Ozaukee and Waukesha, friendly to Darling. Pasch has about a 900 vote lead.

…OK, so this looks to be coming down to Alberta Darling and Sandy Pasch. Jessica King just took a lead of 1,100 votes and I believe there are only three precincts in Winnebago County left to count.

…Here’s where we’re at. Republicans won three seats. Democrats won two. The final seat is Alberta Darling versus Sandy Pasch. Pasch has a 900-vote lead. Half the precincts out are in Milwaukee. Half are in Waukesha and Ozaukee. It’s a total nailbiter.

…MSNBC calls it for Jessica King.

…Three more Milwaukee precincts came in, Pasch got some more for her cushion. Waukesha still out. 55/82 precincts in:

Pasch 23,451 52%
Darling 21,713 48%

…Pasch is up 1,107 votes with 26 precincts left: 12 in Milwakee, 4 in Ozaukee, 10 in Waukesha.

…OK, the Waukesha County results are mostly in. 65/82 precincts in.

Darling 30,394
Pasch 27,766

OK, so 2,600-vote lead for Darling. But at this point, 12 of the 17 precincts left out are in Milwaukee, where Pasch is up 65-35 today. This is still doable.

…The Democratic Party of Wisconsin alleges “tampering” in Waukesha County. Here we go again.

The race to determine control of the Wisconsin Senate has fallen in the hands of the Waukesha County clerk, who has already distinguished herself as incompetent, if not worse. She is once more tampering with the results of a consequential election and in the next hours we will determine our next course of action. For now, Wisconsin should know that a dark cloud hangs over these important results.

…Now it’s about a 3,100-vote lead for Darling, with 16 precincts reporting, 12 in Milwaukee.

…Another precinct in Ozaukee County in, another 700 vote margin for Darling. This is getting to be too big a margin to make up in Milwaukee.

…The unofficial Milwaukee final numbers will bring Pasch up short. Looks like Waukesha wins out again. Darling may get called tonight.

…I’m out. I’ll have a full report tomorrow. But it looks like we came up just short.


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