Wisconsin recall elections underway
Thousands of demonstrators protest outside the Wisconsin State Capitol March 12, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.
July 12th, 2011
09:52 AM ET
12 years ago

Wisconsin recall elections underway

(CNN) - Wisconsin will hold its first recall election of state senators Tuesday with Democratic primaries in six districts Republicans currently hold, kicking off a series of elections that are the result of the state battle over collective bargaining rights that shut down the state legislature for weeks in February and March.

The recall elections scheduled in July and August stem from public outcry over a Wisconsin measure passed in the state legislature with the support of Republican Gov. Scott Walker that curbed collective bargaining rights of most state employees in an attempt to close a $137 million budget shortfall.

The six Democrats in Tuesday's election are facing protest Democrats, candidates put up by the Republican Party. The winners from the Democratic primaries will face the Republican incumbents in the August 9th general election.

Wisconsin's open primary laws allow members of both political parties to participate in the state's primaries.

Three Republican elections will take place July 19, two primaries and one recall election, which is not considered a primary because there is only one candidate in the race. The winners of the GOP primaries will face Democratic incumbent state senators in the August 16 general election. The winner of the recall election will serve in the state Senate.

In the recall elections, state Democrats object to Republican legislators' support of the law while Republicans are critical of Democratic lawmakers who left the state during negotiations in opposition to Gov. Walker's agenda, in an effort to block the bill.

The bill, which was upheld by the state Supreme Court in June, sharply divided the state earlier in the year. Republicans insisted the measure was necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and close the budget shortfall. Democrats argued that it was an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies.

Under the Wisconsin law, all public workers except police and firefighters would be required to cover more of their retirement plan contributions and health care premiums.

- CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report.

Filed under: Wisconsin
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    The people of Wisconsin need to remove any elected representative that fled the state to subvert the legislative process. This despicable tactic is mean't to deny ALL the people representation by shutting down the government. It is truly UNAMERICAN and a violation of their oath of office.

    July 12, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. gt

    i hope all the school teachers are back from there summer vacations in florida or the democrats will be in deep do-do....

    July 12, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "Republicans insisted the measure was necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and close a $137 million budget shortfall."
    A shortfall that did not exist until Gov. Walker signed into law a couple hundred million in tax cuts to the wealthy "to help the job creators" create jobs. Wisconsin has an unemployment level well below the national average. Somewhere in the low 6% range, I think.

    July 12, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. TNW

    What a mess...

    July 12, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Bill from GA

    The battle is allegedly over " skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and (to) close a $137 million budget shortfall. "

    Wouldn't it be awesome if a compromise could be worked out among politicians?

    Cut out-of-control government worker benefits (and salaries) AND raise taxes on the rich. Pay off the debt and invest in infrastructure.

    Do it in Wisconsin, Do it in my state of Georgia. Do it with the US Government.

    And o the salaries I mentioned, in Atlanta, the (probably crooked-as-a snake) previous school superintendent made about half again a much as the governor of the state. Salaries at the top end of all levels of government are outrageous.

    July 12, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    Go Get 'em Dems!!

    July 12, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. mf

    i have no faith in this recall election because Gov. scott walker is a thug. he will rig the final election to make republicans win. after seeing how he handle the latest issues i dont trust him

    July 12, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. SF

    Republicans is what's WRONG with this country! they hold us back from progress with their ignorant and hateful retoric! as long as the republican party exists, we will NEVER move forward! we will become a 3rd world country before you know it and who will the republicans blame? DEMS! this country is a joke!

    July 12, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Kent

    The GOP in Wisconsin are out of hand and over reaching with their power. With their slight majority they have all but eliminated public unions in Wisconsin ignoring open meeting laws in the process (they also control the State Supreme court, which claims that the legislature doesn't need to follow their own rules when they don't want to). They have cut 1 billion in education funding, not return that money to all tax payers, but to dole that money out to tax breaks for Scott Walker's favorite companies. They have turned down stimulus money for fixing our rail system that's now going to cost the state 200 million to just keep our current lines running without improvements. Top that off with the fake candidates and re-redistricting efforts to remove recall challengers from their voting districts.

    July 12, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Lynne

    Leave it to the republicans in WI to subvert the system....again! "Oh Let me pretend to be a democrat when everyone knows I'm really a republican so I can screw with them during the recall votes." Shame on them! They know they can't win a fair fight so they cheat...again! Just shows how little they actually care about the people of their state and how much they care about staying in POWER and staying in good with big Corporations! They are something very close to Evil in my book!

    July 12, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. gutsycall

    The Republicans are sleazy in Wisconsin. That once was a state of people who lent a hand to each other, looked out for one another, shared a common interest. Well, I suppose Walker is the one happy person. Like Nero in Rome, he won't be happy until all of Rome is burning. In his case Madison.

    July 12, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. John

    Hey Wisconsin... Your dirty Gov and Repug party just reworked the district lines in your state... even WHEN these rupegs are defeated today the Dems will be out in two years due to this... Time to take more agressive action...

    July 12, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The idea that stopping collective barginning will help a state budget is just out right wrong. Removing collective barginning will only help those that want to fire state employees for no good reason. Collective barginning protects employees from being retalated against by supervisors. Civil service commission don't do much to help. Often times, they follow the whims of the governor in power.

    Unions need to also show that they realize the current state of things. The CWA in NJ was willing to amend the contract with Corzine to include furlough days. That should be an example of what to do.

    July 12, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. vet in texas

    the fact that they waived the police and firefighters because they donate to republicans confirms that this has nothing to do with the budget, and all to do with vindicatiing politics.

    July 12, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Sniffit

    "Protest Democrats, put up by the Republican Party, are challenging the Democratic incumbents in their primary"

    "Their" primary is a mis-characterization. It's not the Dems' primary, whcih is the problem. It's supposedly a primary to choose a Dem candidate, but it's an open primary, which means ANYONE can vote regardless of their party afiiliation. It's why the GOP is running FAKE Dem candidates. Calling them "protest" candidates is just another way of propping up the GOP through eupahmisms and failing to criticize what is clearly an example of their disdain for fair election processes. The GOP has instructed all the GOPers in the districts to show up at the polls and vote for the FAKER in hopes that they can "win" the Dem primary and elect a GOPer to be the Dem candidate...it's absurd...and then have the faker bow out and hand the election to the GOP. It's an unmitigated abuse of democratic principles and election processes and a glaring example of why open primaries shouldn't exist and of just how much the GOP hates democracy.

    "Democrats argued that it was an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies. "

    Again, you avoid the whole story in order to prop up the GOP's position. The "budget shortfall" the GOP used as their justification for trying to attenuate labor rights is a small scale version of the national debt and deficit problems they are using as their justification for calls to eviscerate Medicare, Medicaid, SS, etc.: Walker and his GOP state legislature MANUFACTURED the budget shortfall by handing out tax breaks to their major corporate supporters, just like the GOP in Congress enacted tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 under Bush in order to PURPOSEFULLY start the snowball rolling on manufacturing major national deficit and debt problems. BOTH did what they did purposefully and with the intent of later using the foreseeable and predictable budgetary problems their actions would create to justify furthering the GOP's agenda of breaking labor rights, taknig power away from the middle-class and accelerating the redistribution of the nation's wealth and income to the already extremely wealthy and corporations.

    July 12, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. PJL

    Hopefully this shows the country an example of what happens when
    you vote for a Republican – for anything.

    July 12, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. kyle

    I just wish they could recall the Governor.

    July 12, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Rickster

    The Wisconsin situation is yet another example of democrats being wrong, as they always are. One school district has turned a projected 400,000 deficit into a projected 1.4 million dollar surplus because of the savings created by Scott Walker and the republican's policies. With that savings the school district plans to add teachers and reduce classroom size....exactly the opposite of what the democrats and the unions(one & the same) said would happen. Other districts will have similar results. Great job, Scott Walker and the republicans!

    July 12, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Re-read the article, which is rather wishy-washy. This is the *Republicans-running-as-Democrats against the Republican senators who actually ARE facing recall* story. Apparently nothing is too low for Republicans in the great state of Wisconsin, which makes me even more sure of my vote for Mark Dayton here in Minnesota, else we too would be facing similar political party obstruction in Minnesota. Especially considering that the entire basis behind our State government shutdown IS obstruction from within the GOP. Fortunately for us, ALL those newly elected GOPers from the 2010 MN state election forcing the shutdown will be replaced next cycle with Democrats. But, hey, let me give a fond shout out to our previous Governor, Tim Pawlenty. Perhaps had he spent more time worrying out his state economy (and not his future presidential run) perhaps need for this shutdown could have been avoided.

    July 12, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. GI Joe

    They cut benefits for workers and IMMEDITELY gave even more to corporations in tax deductions. They weren't in trouble – they were crooked. And what does a meeting discussing human rights (collective bargaining) have to do with money? Only in a republican-run fascist state.

    July 12, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |