Why does this not surprise me? The Menomonee Falls Patch ran a story today about a growing group of Walker supporters that hope to spoil Democrats' recall party by writing in the Republican's name in a potential primary.
In the “Wild West” political territory that is the Wisconsin recall elections, it seems anything goes.
Therefore, it should probably come as no surprise that some supporters of Gov. Scott Walker have come up with a new plan to thwart efforts to unseat the Republican governor.
Utilizing word-of-mouth and social media, these Walker supporters are encouraging voters across the state to write in the governor as a candidate in the Democratic primary — if the recall election moves forward.
Wisconsin has an open primary so we are in unchartered territory. The GAB has absolutely no idea what the ramification of a write-in candidate will be.
If this effort were successful, it's unclear what the effect would be on the general recall election. The Government Accountability Board isn't providing a clear answer either.
“The law requires a space for write-in on the ballot,” said Reid Magney, GAB spokesman. “Beyond that, it would be premature for us to comment on something that involves so much speculation.”
Wisconsin's system of open primaries means voters do not have to share a political party's affiliation to vote in its primary. So, there's nothing to stop Republicans from voting in a Democratic recall primary — and from writing in Walker's name.
Democrats don't seem too worried, however:
Democrats, who have been navigating the state’s political Wild West for the past year, don’t seem to be concerned about the write-in campaign. Perhaps Dirty Harry’s iconic catch phrase, “Go ahead, make my day,” is the best phrase to capture the mood.
When asked about his initial impression of the write-in campaign, Wisconsin Democratic Party Spokesman Graeme Zielinksi said it was, “Surprise, then laughter.”
Zielinski said the effort has no chance of succeeding.
“Republicans seem frightened by democracy and the will of the people and, given what Scott Walker has done to ruin Wisconsin, they should be,” Zielinski said.
This isn’t the first time Republicans attempted to influence a Democratic primary. During the 8th Senate District recall election, Republican activist Gladys Huber ran in the primary. She was one of several "fake Democrats" who ran in the Democratic primaries across the state. None was successful.
At this point, I am not surprised by some of the tactics floated by the GOP and its lunatic base. Personally, I don't see this idea gaining any traction as state law during recalls requires that the top 2 vote getters advance to the recall election.
From the Wisconsin Constitution:
ARTICLE XIII. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.
(4) Unless the incumbent declines within l0 days after the filing of the petition, the incumbent shall without filing be deemed to have filed for the recall election. Other candidates may file for the office in the manner provided by law for special elections. For the purpose of conducting elections under this section:
(a) When more than 2 persons compete for a nonpartisan office,a recall primary shall be held. The 2 persons receiving the highest number of votes in the recall primary shall be the 2 candidates in the recall election, except that if any candidate receives a majority of the total number of votes cast in the recall primary, that candidate shall assume the office for the remainder of the term and a recall election shall not be held.
(b) For any partisan office, a recall primary shall be held for each political party which is by law entitled to a separate ballot and from which more than one candidate competes for the party's nomination in the recall election. The person receiving the highest number of votes in the recall primary for each political party shall be that party's candidate in the recall election. Independent candidates and candidates representing political parties not entitled by law to a separate ballot shall be shown on the ballot for the recall election only.
(c) When a recall primary is required, the date specified under sub. (2) shall be the date of the recall primary and the recall election shall be held on the Tuesday of the 4th week after the recall primary or, if that Tuesday is a legal holiday, on the first day after that Tuesday which is not a legal holiday.
I could not find any language preventing the incumbent from running against themselves in a recall primary (imagine a recall election with Walker (R) vs. Walker (D) on the ballot) but, again we are in unchartered territiory.
These are the kind of stunts that never seem to be well thought out by the GOP.
This story may be passed over by many readers and even the MSM but I did think this was worth at least posting if only to see what others felt about the idea.
Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 10:20 AM PT: UPDATE:
Thanks to user robertearle for finding the WI statue that shoots this stupid, unresearched idea out of the water:
WI statutes 9.10(3)(c) and 8.03(1)
9.10(3c) says that the officeholder being recalled automatically goes onto the ballot as a candidate (unless he resigns).
8.03(1) says that if a candidate is the 'named' candidate of one party, he cannot win the primary of another party, even by winning as a write-in (and it specifically mentions winning as a write-in).