Monday, March 12, 2012

Wisconsin: Recalls against four state Senators approved

The GAB has announced this morning that the recalls against the four Republican state Senators will go forward.  We're still waiting to hear about the all-but-certain recalls of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, but that should come down shortly. The GAB seems to be focused on getting all these recalls on the same day.

The GAB rejected the use reviewing the findings of the Verify the Recall Group, because they do not have the authority to consider challenges from outside entities. Expect a lawsuit on that one, as well as on the districts that the senators will run in.

A couple of key points to look at below.

Until last year, there were 21 state legislative recalls in US history (that I know of). In two years, there will be 15. 

Because if the use of the primary, the state Senators and the LG could facing recalls on a different date than the Governor.  Last summer, the Republicans ran "fake" Democratic primary candidates to delay the recall (and also have all the Republican recalls on the same day. Will they do the same thing this year? 

Presumably, the Republicans would want them all on the same day. Wisconsin has an open primary system, so Republican voters may come out to vote strategically (i.e. choose the weakest candidate to run against Walker). However, they may not turn out in the same amount as Democrats, leading to some Democratic advantages in the Senate recalls.

Flipping the Legislature

If just one of the Republican state Senators lose their seat, the party will flip from Republican to Democrat. Based on past history, should we expect voters to shy away from switching party control of the Senate? Nope! There have been four recalls (we could list it at five or six, if you want to count California in 1995 multiple times, which we won't) that could have switched the legislature (Washington 1981, Michigan 1983, California 1995, Wisconsin 1996). All but the one in Washington succeeded.
You have selected Regicide
If the Fitzgerald recall qualifies, he will be the fourth state legislative leader to face a recall. The first was California President Pro Tempore David Roberti in 1994. The second was Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon in 2008. Both of men triumphed. See the details here.

The third was Arizona Majority Leader Russell Pearce, who was kicked out of office on November 8 in a bitter recall battle. Perhaps worth noting is that Pearce lost to a Republican (Arizona does not have a primary, and the recall is just an all-in affair).

There was one other recall of a legislative leader, though the circumstances were so bizarre that it has to be separated out. Without going into too much details about the California recall wars of 1995, Republican Doris Allen backed the Democrats in a closely divided Assembly that had already seen two recall votes. Allen was elected Speaker of the Assembly and served for a little over 3 months, but she stepped down before her recall. She lost her recall race.

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