Wis. GOP’s Fake ‘Democrats’ To Cost Taxpayers More Than $400K

June 14, 2011 6:09 a.m.

The Republican strategy of planting fake Democratic candidates in the state Senate recall elections won’t just add some serious time to the process. It’s also going to cost local governments and taxpayers throughout the state over $428,000, in just a partial estimate.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

Election clerks estimate the cost of a Democratic primary in the districts of the recalled GOP lawmakers as follows: Sen. Rob Cowles of Allouez, $86,000; Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills, $69,700; Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, $27,000; Sen. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, $84,200; Sen. Dan Kapanke of LaCrosse, $101,000; and Sen. Luther Olsen of Ripon, $60,200.

Those are only partial figures. Two counties in Harsdorf’s district, two counties in Olsen’s district and one county in Kapanke’s district did not provide estimates. The figures also do not include the costs for some of the municipalities within those counties.

The key here is that the six recalls were to be scheduled for July 12. (Three more recalls have been scheduled against Democrats, for July 19, and those races have attracted actual, legitimate Republican primaries.) If there were only one Democrat against each one Republican — and the Dems did indeed originally unite around one candidate in each race — then the July 12 date would be the general election. But with additional Democrats, the July 12 date would then become the primary, giving the incumbents more time to campaign for a general election on August 9.

Since then, the Democrats came up with their own novel solution to the problem: Running their own fake candidate in the same Dem primaries, too, in order to further disrupt Republican efforts to crash the primaries or to pick and choose which races would go ahead in July and which might wait for August.

The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: