MADISON, Wis. — Primary elections in six Wisconsin Senate races today pit fake Democrats against candidates the party supports officially, with the winners advancing to take on Republican incumbents targeted for recall.
The state Republican Party orchestrated the placement of the fake Democrats on the ballot, thereby delaying the general election until Aug. 9 and giving the incumbents an additional month to campaign.
The primaries today mark the first of four elections during the next five weeks related to the targeting of nine senators for recall based on their actions related to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal taking away collective-bargaining rights from most public employees. The Republicans voted for it, and the Democrats fled to Illinois for three weeks to delay a vote.
Six Republicans and three Democrats face recall. If the Democrats gain three seats, they will take majority control away from the Republicans and be in a position to stop Walker and the GOP's agenda.
Republicans can vote in the Democratic races because Wisconsin has an open primary. State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said he is concerned that Republicans would attempt to vote for the fake Democrats today, but he is confident that the real ones would prevail.
Elections officials were not making a prediction on turnout.
Primary winners today will advance to take on the six Republican incumbents in the Aug. 9 general election.
Also on Tuesday, six Democrats were running for a seat in the Assembly representing a portion of Dane County that was vacated by Joe Parisi when he left in April to serve as Dane County executive. The winner in that race has no opposition in the Aug. 9 general election.
There is a Republican primary in two other races on July 19 and a general election in the Green Bay area with Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen versus GOP challenger Dave VanderLeest. The general election for the other two races targeting Democratic incumbents is Aug. 16.
The candidates on the primary ballot today are:
- 2nd District: Former De Pere Mayor and Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, 64, and Otto Junkermann, an 82-year-old protest candidate who served as a Brown County supervisor in the 1980s and one year as a Republican in the state Assembly. The winner faces Sen. Rob Cowles.
- 8th District: State Rep. Sandy Pasch, 57, in her second term in office, and Gladys Huber, 80, a protest candidate who has been an active member of the Ozaukee County Republican Party. The winner takes on Sen. Alberta Darling.
- 10th District: Shelly Moore, 37, an Ellsworth public school teacher from River Falls, and fake Democrat Isaac Weix, 36, a hardware store owner from Menomonie. The winner faces Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and independent BJ Cook of River Falls.
- 14th District: State Rep. Fred Clark, 52, and Rol Church of Wautoma. The winner takes on Sen. Luther Olsen.
- 18th District: Attorney Jessica King, 35, and John Buckstaff, 81, a retired furniture business owner. The winner faces Sen. Randy Hopper.
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