Should the eventual 2012 GOP presidential nominee be seriously campaigning in Wisconsin? The last time the Badger State went for the Republican candidate was in 1984 (Ronald Reagan), but this year’s state recall elections could be a real indicator.
Tuesday marks the first in a series of recall votes spurred by the high-profile battle over Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law pushed earlier this year by Gov. Scott Walker (R) over the objections of state and national Democrats.
Democratic primaries are being held today to take on all six Republican state senators facing recalls, and the general elections in those races are on August 9th. Three Democratic state senators face recalls; those elections will be held on July 19th and August 16th.
Only one Democrat elected to run against each of the six Republicans. But the state Republican party put forward a “Democratic”candidate in each race, in order to force primaries and give Republican incumbents more time to campaign. Democrats refer to these contenders as “fake” candidates; Republicans prefer “protest” candidates.
The votes today in Wisconsin will be looked to by both national parties as an early indication of the political climate in what is widely considered to be a swing state in 2012.
If Democrats are ultimately able to turn over the three seats they would need to re-take control of the state Senate, it would be widely interpreted as a significant rebuke to Walker and the national Republicans who backed him.
On the other hand, a failure by Democrats to win the state Senate majority would be touted by Republicans as evidence that the protests at the state capitol earlier this year were orchestrated by national labor groups and didn’t have the grassroots support they appeared to enjoy.