Category Archives: Wisconsin

Wisconsin Recall Election Results: Democrats Keep State Senate Seats

 

It’s great to see that in this recall election, the Dems succeeded!

Huffington Post 

Both of the Democratic Wisconsin state senators up for recall elections have survived.

The Democrats targeted in Tuesday’s election were among the 14 senators who fled the state in February in opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal curbing public employee collective bargaining rights.

Both won in recalls against Republican challengers.

Democrats picked up two seats through the nine recalls but were unable to wrest majority Senate control away from the GOP, which now holds a narrow 17-16 majority. Before the recalls, Republicans had a 19-14 edge in the chamber.

Democratic Sen. Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie defeated Kenosha attorney Jonathan Steitz, and Sen. Jim Holperin of Conover beat tea party Republican Kim Simac of Eagle River.

A third Democrat won a recall election last month. Two Republicans were defeated in six recall elections last week.

Even though they remain in the minority, Democrats were savoring Tuesday’s victories.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said Democrats have “fundamentally changed the face of power in the Wisconsin Legislature” through the recalls. Even though Republicans remain in the majority, Tate said Democrats’ picking up two seats and making gains in Republican districts sets the table for big wins next year.

“It’s really hard to go five for nine and not be pleased of the progress that we made,” he said.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement that he was proud the GOP maintained its majority through the recalls. He said Tuesday’s results were a rejection of the recall process.

Continue reading here…

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Scott Walker Admits Union-Busting Provision ‘Doesn’t Save Any’ Money For The State Of Wisconsin

Rep. Dennis Kucinich deserves all the praise for this one…

Think Progress

Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called Govs. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Peter Shumlin (D-VT) to testify in a hearing titled “State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead.” Much of the hearing was spent probing Wisconsin’s spate of anti-union restrictions it recently passed.

At one point, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) confronted Walker about his crackdown on public employee unions. The congressman referenced a provision Walker signed into law that would require union members to vote every year to continue their membership. Kucinich asked the governor how much money the state would save from the provision. Walker repeatedly dodged the question and eventually admitted that it actually wouldn’t save anything at all.

Kucinich then asked Walker how much money would be saved by barring union dues from being drawn from employee paychecks, another provision of Walker’s legislation. Walker claimed that it would save workers money, but was unable to explain how it would save the state any money. Kucinich then produced a document from the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state’s equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office, that concluded that Walker’s measures were “nonfiscal” — meaning they had no impact on the state’s finances. Kucinich asked that the letter be included in the public record, but Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) refused:

Walker’s admission is crucial because he had long claimed that his anti-union “budget repair bill” was designed to save the state money, not bust unions. But his words today echo those of Wisconsin state senate leader Scott Fitzgerald (R), who last month effectively admitted that the union fights are not about budgetary issues, but rather about winning the next election by depleting the ranks of organized labor.

H/t YankeeClipper:

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Anti-Union Legislation, Wisconsin Assembly, Wisconsin Union Law Court Ruling, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson Fiscal Crisis

Major CEO Donor To Walker Charged With Two Felony Counts Of Illegal Campaign Contributions

Think Progress

A top donor to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) gubernatorial campaign has been charged with multiple violations of campaign finance law, reports the Associated Press.

Prosecutors today have charged William Gardner, the CEO of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company, with one count of excessive political donations and another related to unlawful political contributions. Prosecutors claim Gardner used his employees and family members to funnel $44,000 to Walker during the GOP primary. He is accused of then illegally reimbursing the donors with company money.

Walker has returned the contributions. Notably, prosecutors charged Gardner because the law prohibits direct donations from corporations to candidate committees. However, the Citizens United decision allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts in support of a candidate for office. If Gardner had funneled the company donations through a group like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or another front group, or if his company had taken out ads in support of Walker, his actions would not have attracted legal scrutiny

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Wisconsin Debate Shifts To Recall Elections

To paraphrase a famous (often misquoted) saying:  Hell hath no fury like a populous scorned!

Huffington Post

Nearly a month after the Wisconsin standoff over union rights ended, some of the fervor from that debate has shifted to recall efforts targeting lawmakers in both parties – Republicans who voted to cut back collective bargaining and Democrats who fled the state to try to stop them.

Now that the law has passed, organizers are focusing on signature-gathering efforts. But of the 16 state senators who were originally targeted, only six appear likely to face an election threatening removal. And before recall elections can be held, supporters need to find candidates to run against the incumbents.

Still, voter outrage remains high in many places, helping to stir interest in the recalls.

“A lot of legislators are going to be looking over their shoulders a little more in the future,” said Michael Kraft, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay. “And if they are in the middle of a recall effort, they might be nervous about that. They might moderate what they say and how they approach the budget.”

Continue reading…

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UPDATED: Conservative Waukesha County Clerk “Finds” 7,000 Votes For Prosser

Crooks & Liars

4:30pm Update: In her press conference about a half-hour ago, Kathy Nickolaus claimed she failed to import the results from Brookfield City into her master tally that was reported to the press. The numbers she reported as an ‘update’ which gave Prosser 7,000 more votes were clearly reported in real time on election night.

As expected, Brookfield city voters ran up a good turnout in the state Supreme Court race and gave incumbent Justice David Prosser nearly 11,000 votes.

Unofficial, unaudited results showed 76 percent of city residents who voted picked Prosser, with 24 percent voting for challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The numbers were identical to the ones Nickolaus just reported. She claims they weren’t imported into the spreadsheet, but if that were true, the discrepancy should have been 14,715 votes total.

Part of the problem is how she’s using different numbers for the same conclusion. The difference between 14,715 and 3,456 is 7,403. Those would be the “extra”. But in order to believe her, you have to assume the AP just let an entire town and a bunch of precincts stand at ZERO despite having reported in nearly 15,000 votes.

–>End update

Sure, sure it was a computer error. This comes from County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus just a few minutes ago.

David Prosser gained about 7,582 votes in Waukesha County, according to a summary statement from the board of canvassers.

Canvassers around the state were updating their totals Thursday, with Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg each making gains.

Those changes pale in comparison to the change in Waukesha County, where Prosser’s total increased by 11,008 and Kloppenburg’s rose 3,426.

County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is planning a news conference in about 20 minutes to explain the change from initial reports Tuesday night.

Waukesha County’s board of canvassers just met in the county courthouse in Waukesha. It was earlier reported that Prosser picked up 200 votes in New Berlin after a clerical error was discovered, according to Pat Karcher, a member of the board of canvassers in Waukesha County. Karcher spoke during a break in the canvassers meeting. The error occurred in Ward 12, where a vote for Prosser was reported as 37 but the tape revealed 237 votes for Prosser.

It seems that Kathy Nickolaus has a history with regard to questionable election practices:

The issue came to a head when Nickolaus removed the election results collection and tallying system from the county computer network this spring and installed it on standalone personal computers in her office. She has said they are backed up with redundant systems.

Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said Nickolaus has been uncooperative with attempts to have information technologists review the system and confirm the backups.

He said he isn’t interested in placing the system on the county network, but he wants to know whether the system is functional and secure and whether the county will have to replace equipment and programs in the next budget year – in time for the next presidential election.

“It is not a good idea to have one person in charge of everything,” Cummings told the committee. “There should be someone who also reviews things. I’m not saying it should be IT. But there should be more accountability than there is now.”

Nickolaus had asked for a postponement of the discussion because she had scheduled poll worker training before the matter was scheduled for committee action.

In several memos to the committee, she said she didn’t have confidence that security wouldn’t be breached with the county’s information technology department.

She presented information from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that said voting systems should never be connected to a network not under the election official’s control.

She also said she’s running the most current election software certified – as required – by the state.

The only old equipment, she wrote, was a computer that collects results from local polling places by modem over the telephone lines.

Waukesha County is one of three or four counties that use that method.

Read more at www.jsonline.com

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Walker’s Loss: 19 Counties Flip To Dems In Wis. Supreme Court Election

Huffington Post

A divisive budget battle between labor unions and Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) turned a state Supreme Court race into a nationally watched bellwether on the electorate’s mood heading into a recall campaign and the 2012 elections.

Nearly 1.5 million people turned out to vote, representing 33.5 percent of voting-age adults – 68 percent higher than the 20 percent turnout officials had expected. JoAnne Kloppenburg has already declared victory, with the vote tallies showing her beating incumbent David Prosser by just a couple hundred votes. The race is expected to head to a recount.

Significantly, 19 counties that went for Walker in the 2010 elections this time flipped and went for Kloppenburg, including LaCrosse (59 percent), Sauk (56 percent) and Dunn (56 percent).

There were no party affiliations on the ballot, but Kloppenburg was heavily backed by Democrats and Prosser by Republicans, making it a fierce proxy battle for the two parties.

On a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate was jubilant over the results, saying they represent a “watershed moment for Wisconsin and a Waterloo for Scott Walker.”

“It should give Republicans, who are — for the moment — in the majority, pause about how they proceed in enacting Walker’s terrible budget,” he added.    

 Continue reading below the fold…

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Filed under Wisconsin, Wisconsin Protesters, Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson GOP

Walker Administration Announces Implementation Of Anti-Union Law, Despite Judge’s Order Against Publication

"What court order? We won't honor no stinkin' court order!"

The madness of King Scott Walker of Fitzwalkerstan!

TPMDC

The administration of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has begun implementing its controversial new law curtailing public employee unions, following a move on Friday declaring it be in effect, and despite a judge’s ruling that enjoined said implementation.

“It is now my legal responsibility to begin enactment of the law,” Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch, a former Republican state Assembly Speaker, told reporters, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Huebsch said that the state will begin withholding pension and health benefits contributions from government employees’ paychecks, while also no longer automatically deducting union dues. The first paychecks to be affected will be April 21.

A week and a half ago, a judge in Dane County (Madison) blocked the law on procedural grounds, ruling that a key conference committee used to advance the bill — and to get around the state Senate Dems’ walkout from the state — had violated the state open-meetings law by failing to give proper 24-hours notice. The judge’s order “restrain[ed] and enjoin[ed] the further implementation” of the law, including the prevention of Secretary of State Doug LaFollette (D) from publishing the act in the Wisconsin State Journal, which acts as the state’s official newspaper for the purpose of giving the public official notice of new laws — the final step for the law to take effect. That decision is now going through an appeals process, which remains up in the air.    Read more…

 

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Wisconsin GOP Senators Head to Washington to Collect Their Payoffs, er, “Campaign Contributions “

No matter how those politicians try to cover it up, most GOP and Blue Dog Dems are corporate shills.  They legislate at the will of their corporate masters…

The Nation

Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the consigliere for Governor Scott Walker in the legislative fight to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers and to make it easier for the governor to transfer public property to campaign donors in no-bid deals, will head to the nation’s capital Wednesday to collect tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Washington-based lobbyists for corporate interests.

Fitzgerald will be the “star” of a lavish fundraising event at the offices of the BRG lobbying group. The “B” is BRG stands for Barbour, as in veteran GOP fixer Haley Barbour, who is now the governor of Mississippi and a potential 2012 Republican presidential contender. The firm is one of the most powerful corporate lobbying groups in Washington, and it will be delivering big for Fitzgerald and his fellow senators.

Lobbyists and DC insiders will pay $1,000 apiece to attend the session with Fitzgerald.

“Sponsors” will pay $2,500.

“Hosts” will pay $5,000.

Along with Fitzgerald, who this week made news when he attempted to bar Democratic senators from voting in Assembly committees (only to be forced to back off after the move stirred a public outcry), Republican senators Glenn Grothman and Alberta Darling will attend. Both Grothman and Darling—who chairs the powerful legislative Joint Finance Committee and is thus the point person for Walker’s budget plan—are the targets of recall campaigns.   Continue reading…

 

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Filed under GOP Lobbyist "Fundraisers", Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Protesters, Wisconson GOP

Wisc. protesters shout ‘shame’ at Gov. Walker

Raw Story

Protesters in Wisconsin shouted “recall Walker” and “shame” at Gov. Scott Walker as he went to a fundraiser Sunday.

This video is from The Associated Press, March 14, 2011.

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Wisconsin Goes National

Politico

The first round is over. Republican Gov. Scott Walker delivered a crushing defeat to government employee unions in their fight over labor rights in Wisconsin.

But the passage of a law stripping away collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers has touched off a much larger political battle that threatens to spread over Wisconsin’s borders and across the 2012 landscape.

Democrats in Wisconsin are vowing to transform virtually every upcoming state and local election there into a referendum on Walker’s administration. Party leaders from Madison to Washington are gearing up for a major fight in the hope of sending an unmistakable signal to other ambitious GOP state executives.

Their efforts to make Walker and his supports pay a high political price for their victory has led Republicans to activate their own campaign machinery. Few expect the conflict will stay contained in Wisconsin.

“What you’re seeing is a reaction from the national Democratic Party to try and hold the line because they realize that if we’re successful in Wisconsin, there will be a national impact,” said Republican State Leadership Committee president Chris Jankowski, whose group supports GOP candidates in state-level campaigns.

Already, the national parties and their House, Senate and gubernatorial campaign committees have sought to capitalize on the Wisconsin struggle through fundraising appeals, press releases and television and online ads.

Leaders in both camps are describing the next phase of the struggle in Wisconsin in dire terms.

Wisconsin state Senate President Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican who shepherded the labor law to passage, touched off a small firestorm when he told Fox News that ending collective bargaining would affect the outcome of the 2012 presidential race.      More…

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Assembly, Wisconsin Democrat Senators, Wisconsin Protesters, Wisconsin Unions, Wisconson Capitol