Wisconsin Republicans have now put forward a ringer Democratic candidate to force a primary in the recall against GOP state Sen. Dan Kapanke, as part of the state GOP’s strategy to combat the recalls. The candidate: James Smith, a 25-year old hospital technician who has served on the La Crosse County Republican executive committee, and who will now challenge the official Democratic candidate, state Rep. Jennifer Shilling.
The La Crosse Tribune reports:
Smith, a regular fixture at local labor protests this spring where he held signs touting his support for Gov. Scott Walker, said he resigned his party leadership position Monday before announcing his candidacy. He said he does not plan on campaigning aggressively but wants to protest the recall process.
“I want to bring light on the issue that 22,000 signatures can pretty much overturn an election where even the loser got 40,000 votes,” he said Tuesday.
The key here is that recalls are now tentatively scheduled for July 12, under the state election officials’ proposed timelines, targeting six Republicans. If there were only one Democrat against each one Republican, then the July 12 date would immediately be held as the general election. But if there were additional Democrats, the July 12 date would then become the primary, giving the incumbents more time to campaign for a general election in August.
Also, thanks to Wisconsin’s open primary system in which anybody can vote in a party primary, it would force the Democrats to spend time, money and resources campaigning for their own nominations.
The strategy is being officially coordinated by state Republican leaders, and has been endorsed by state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.