Wisconsin’s April 3 Spring Primary Election will have increased importance as the battle continues to choose the Republican presidential nominee.
After the 2008 election, changes were made to the election process aimed at giving the Wisconsin primary more significance. This was done by moving the primary date to a time after Super Tuesday elections had taken place.
It does not appear that any of the four remaining GOP candidates will have garnered the 1,144 required delegates needed for the nomination before Wisconsin voters head for the polls. Whether or not Wisconsin voters will provide a magic number of votes to allow one of the candidates to reach that magic number (1,144) remains to be seen. Most observers think the likely nominee won’t be known until sometime in May.
Former State Senator Ted Kanavas, the Mitt Romney campaign co-chair in Wisconsin, is busy securing county campaign chairs and coordinators on college campuses around the state. A Romney fundraiser has been set for March 31 in Milwaukee.
The Romney campaign is said to have spent $516,000 for air time, with more ads likely to be purchased by the Romney Super Pac, Restore Our Future.
Rick Santorum is scheduled to appear at a March 24 forum and dinner in Milwaukee sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. Plans call for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to be at the Santorum event.
More Wisconsin appearances have been scheduled by Romney and Santorum as the primary date approaches.
Appearances by candidates Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul have not been announced.
Since Gingrich’s wife, Cecelia, is from Whitehall in Trempealeau County, it seems likely the former House Speaker will schedule appearances in the state some time before April 3.
Wisconsin will be able to send 42 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August.
Determining the number of delegates in a state and how they are awarded is not a simple task.
Each of the 50 states receives 10 at-large delegates. They also receive three delegates for each Congressional District—Wisconsin has eight of these districts. Each state also receives three delegates for party leaders.
States receive bonus delegates for having elected Republican governors and U.S. senators and if Republicans represent more than half of the state’s congressional delegations—and if Republicans control the state legislatures.
Wisconsin’s 42 delegates include the 10 at-large delegates, three for party leaders, three for each of the eight Congressional districts (24) and the five bonus delegates as outlined in the prior paragraph.
The three delegates attached to each congressional district go to the candidate that wins the majority in that district. The remaining 18 are considered “at-large” candidates and they go to the candidate that wins the state.
Last week the Government Accountability Board was granted an extension to the deadline by which it had to certify recall petitions. Without the extension to March 31, the deadline would have been March 19.
Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess approved May 8 or June 5 as the dates for recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican senators.
In the races that require a primary (when more than one candidate from the same political party will be running), the primary election will be held on May 8. The general election will follow four weeks later, on June 5.
For races where a primary is not needed, the general election will take place on May 8,
As things stand now, a Democratic primary will be needed in the governor’s race. Announced or likely candidates include former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and Secretary of State Doug La Follette. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is reportedly considering entering the race.
Mahlon Mitchell, the president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, announced Monday he is running as a Democrat for the office of lieutenant governor. A Milwaukee private investigator, Ira Robins, has indicated he is also planning to seek that same Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.
But there is more.
Over the weekend, State Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) announced she was resigning her Wisconsin senate seat due to illnesses in her family.
Galloway, a medical doctor, denied her resignation was because she did not want to face a recall. In fact, she released a statement saying she was “confident” she would have won over a recall challenger.
We’ll just have to wait and see which Democrat(s) and Republican(s) decide to run to fill the vacancy. It means the process to find Galloway’s successor will start from scratch and will likely mean dates for another primary and general election to fill this seat.
And still more.
Late Monday morning a conservative group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) announced it was moving forward with recall efforts against two state senators, one Democrat and one Republican, who opposed the mining bill in the Wisconsin State Senate.
The bill would have streamlined the state’s mine permitting process and this would have helped Gogebic Taconite open an iron mine just south of Lake Superior.
With Republicans holding a majority of one in the State Senate, the bill was pretty much killed when Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) announced he could not support the measure.
Then Schultz and Democratic Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) teamed up and said they would offer an alternative bill. But the legislature was almost ready to adjourn (which it did over the weekend)—and perhaps lawmakers were just plain tired and unwilling to take on another controversial measure this session.
After Schultz announced he could not vote for the mining bill the mining company said it would scrap its effort to open a mine in northern Wisconsin.
Shirl LaBarre, Hayward, filed papers with state election officials on Monday, which authorize her to start collecting recall signatures against Jauch.
Dan Curran, Dodgeville, filed papers authorizing him to start a committee to explore recalling Schultz.
If LaBarre and Curran get enough signatures on their recall petitions, this could mean more recall elections later in the summer.
In the meantime, Jauch has written a letter to the governor asking him to get involved in crafting a mining measure that could be approved with bipartisan support.
During a Sunday interview show in Milwaukee, State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) said he hopes there will be a special session of the legislature that would focus on a mining bill.
If you receive a letter by fax that indicates it is from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), do not respond.
Fraudulent letters, bearing the USDA logo and seal have been sent to individuals and businesses in Wisconsin. They are signed by an individual identified as “Frank Rutenberg” using a title of “Senior Procurement Officer.”
These letters seek personal information from recipients. The USDA and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) warn UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD RECIPIENTS RESPOND WITH PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION!
USDA officials learned about the letters on March 16. The letters have been received in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—but could also have been sent to people in other states.
USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General.
If you suspect you have received such a letter or have questions, contact the USDA at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-720-9448.
Again, recipients should not respond to the letters or supply the requested information.
• Operation Greatest Generation, a day-long celebration honoring Wisconsin’s WWII veterans, will be held on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay. The event is open to all WWII veterans and their guests and the public. It is part of the state’s Year of the Veteran. For more information, go to: www.wisvetsmuseum.com
• More than a handful of government officials and judges signed recall petitions against Walker. Reports indicate 29 circuit court judges (15 from Milwaukee County) signed the recall petitions, as did a number of Madison area elected officials. No judges from the appeals courts or the Wisconsin Supreme Court signed the petitions.
• Republican Eric Hovde, Madison, has entered the U.S. Senate race for the seat now held by retiring Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). Hovde joins other Republicans that include former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, current Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) and former Congressman Mark Neumann. The race’s primary election will be on Aug. 14. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-2nd District) is the only major Democrat who has entered the race.
• On March 26, 27 and 28 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The nation’s highest court, which does not allow cameras, TV or radio broadcasts, is planning to release same-day audio recordings of the arguments. C-Span said it would transmit the argument audio on its C-Span 3 channel, on its website and also on its Washington radio station.
• Next week, look for a wrap-up of bills passed by the Legislature before its adjournment in the wee hours of March 10.