Wis. recall votes: Real vs. 'fake' Dems

Wis. recall votes: Real vs. 'fake' Dems
Protesters march around the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin on February 23, 2011. The state, once mired in a debate over union legislation, is now full of controversial recall elections. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

MADISON, Wis., July 12 (UPI) -- Wisconsin's divisive law ending most public-sector collective bargaining set in motion the biggest lawmaker-recall vote in state history, officials said.

Nine recall elections -- beginning Tuesday with primaries in six state Senate districts -- is "nothing like anyone in Wisconsin or, for that matter, the nation, has seen," state Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney told The Wall Street Journal.


And unlike in most states, Democratic challengers to six targeted Republican lawmakers are opposed by six Republicans running as Democrats -- under Wisconsin's open-primary system, which lets anyone of any party run in any primary.

Real and "fake" Democrats running against each other, along with two sets of primaries this month and two general elections next month, may confuse voters, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said.

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The election outcome will determine if Republicans, who took control of both legislative chambers and the governor's seat in November's general election, stay in control of the state Senate.

A change of three Senate seats will shift the chamber's balance of 19 Republicans and 14 Democrats to Democratic control, which analysts say could ruin Republican Gov. Scott Walker's drive to press his ambitious legislative agenda.


Republicans will continue to control the state Assembly.

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Democrats have railed against Republicans for forcing the primaries, which will cost taxpayers more than $475,000 and give Republican incumbents four more weeks to campaign, the Journal Sentinel said.

Republicans say the three Democratic senators facing a recall vote should lose their seats for leaving the state in February in an unsuccessful effort to block an effort by Walker to limit the bargaining rights of Wisconsin's public employees.

Republicans used a procedural maneuver to pass the bill, amid huge protests at the state Capitol in Madison. Walker signed it in March and the state Supreme Court last month let the law take effect.

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Democrats say six Republican senators should be removed for voting for the collective-bargaining law.

The "fake" Democratic "protest candidates believe it's wrong that the Republican senators are being recalled for actually doing their jobs," state Republican Party Executive Director Stephan Thompson told The Wall Street Journal.

State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate predicted real Democrats would win back Senate control.

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The Republicans' maneuvers are "just a delay tactic to hold off the inevitable," he told The New York Times.

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