Wisconsin State Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) has always been considered one of the more vulnerable candidates for recall in the campaign to undo governor Scott Walker's naked attempt to radically transform the state into a libertarian paradise. New revelations yesterday, however, may make it impossible for Hopper to survive the recall campaign already underway. From MAL, via the blog of ex-kossack folkbum:
But protesters outside the Hopper house this week in Fond du Lac were met by his wife who reportedly came out and told them: Hopper no longer lives there, but with his 25-year-old mistress in Madison.More on the flip...
No confirmation on whether the divorcing wife signed that petition to recall Hopper who represents Wisconsin Senate District 18.
Hopper has always been considered vulnerable, from the very beginning of this fight. According to data compiled by Swing State Project, he won reelection in 2008 by the scantest of margins (0.2%, or 163 votes out of more than 83,000 cast) in a district that broke by 4 points for Obama. His vote totals look even weaker when you consider that his Republican predecessor had run unopposed in SD 18 in 2004 and won with over 98% of the vote, and that the district had flipped from a +15R in Bush's reelection in 2004 to a +4D for Obama in 2008 (SSP again).
Blogging Blue was able to track down Hopper's divorce filing from August 2010 and he also tentatively identified Hopper's mistress:
Randy Hopper filed for divorce from his wife in August 2010, and it’s being reported his soon to be ex-wife will be signing a recall petition.He did grab a screen shot of her bio yesterday, though, before it got scrubbed:
As for the claim by Hopper’s soon to be ex-wife that Hopper is living in Madison with his 25-year-old mistress, I’ve received unconfirmed reports the “other woman” is Valerie Cass, who as of this morning was a lobbyist for Persuasion Partners, Inc., a right-wing lobbying firm. According to her bio on Persuasion Partners’ website (which has since been removed from their site), prior to going to work for Persuasion Partners, Cass staffed the Senate Economic Development Committee, of which Sen. Randy Hopper happened to be a member. I attempted to contact Valerie Cass to get any comment on the veracity of claims she’s in a relationship with Randy Hopper, but my email went unanswered, and as I mentioned above, any mention of Valerie Cass has been removed from the Persuasion Partners website this morning.
Hopper's impending divorce is old news -- recall canvassers almost certainly knew about it before they headed over to his former home to solicit his wife's signature on the petition. But the wife's reported comment is certainly a juicy nugget that can't help a "family-values" politician fighting for his political life, nor will it help if the wife does follow through -- as folkbum reports -- and signs the petition.
Chris Bowers announced yesterday that PPP is polling all eight Republican districts where recall efforts are underway, with results available Monday night to subscribers to an email list and Tuesday afternoon to the rest of us who don't want Chris's fundraising appeals clogging up our inboxes. It will be very interesting to see the results in SD-18.
There are no Marquis of Queensbury rules in Wisconsin today: Walker and the Fitzgeralds are violating parliamentary procedure, the law, and the state constitution in their putsch to seize total control of the state. Hopper's family life is fair game as democrats fight back to save their way of life.Updated by litho at Sat Mar 12, 2011, 10:48:06 AM
Just so folks can see what the happy couple look like, here are pics of Hopper and his lobbyist "friend":
Updated by litho at Sat Mar 12, 2011, 12:08:47 PM
Folks are asking in comments if living outside the district voids his qualifications to represent the district. The Wisconsin state constitution, article iv, section 6, establishes the requirement to be an elector in the district at the time of election, but doesn't seem to require permanent residence in the district. Wisconsin electoral law allows you to register to vote upon having resided in the district for ten days prior to registration (or voting).
Even if he does not have a current residence in the district -- my research didn't show anything one way or the other -- that doesn't affect his legal ability to represent the district. And in the likely event of a recall, he can reestablish residence in the district very easily, simply by renting and living in an apartment for a week and a half before the election.