In August, months and months of effort will culminate in a set of unprecedented recall elections in the state of Wisconsin, focused on a single aim: taking back the state Senate from Republicans and dealing a major blow to Gov. Scott Walker's war against the middle class, students, and above all, unions.
We've been asking for your help to support the recall campaign, and now we have some very interesting news to share. Over the weekend, we tested the waters in three races where Democrats are running against incumbent Republicans. This is what the state of play looks like:
Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos (6/23-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Jennifer Shilling (D): 56
Dan Kapanke (R-inc): 42
Jessica King (D): 50
Randy Hopper (R-inc): 47
Shelly Moore (D): 45
Sheila Harsdorf (R-inc): 50
That's two very closes races and one contest with a big Democratic edge. If we can find a way to convert all of these, Democrats will have a major victory on their hands. While we never want to take anything for granted, state Rep. Jennifer Shilling looks to be in a strong position against Sen. Dan Kapanke, buoyed by the favorable blue hue of the 32nd Senate district. Kapanke's job approval rating sits at just 41-54, while Shilling is viewed favorably at a 56-33 clip, which indicates he has some serious obstacles to overcome if he is to survive.
The other two races on this list are undeniably tougher—but winnable. Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King is in a rematch against Sen. Randy Hopper, who edged her by fewer than 200 votes in a 2008 race that went to a recount. Hopper has considerable negative baggage: According to reports, he left his wife and moved out of his district to take up with a twenty-something mistress (a Republican consultant, no less), whom he later helped get a government job complete with big pay raise. Once the advertising wars heat up and voters get re-introduced to Hopper, we stand a good chance of knocking his approval ratings down and hopefully widening King's small lead.
Finally, teacher and activist Shelly Moore is taking on Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, whom she trails by five. Moore was the subject of an early attack ad by the Club for Growth, which had been airing for a week before we went into the field. Fortunately, the labor umbrella group We Are Wisconsin fired back with a "compare-and-contrast" spot hitting Harsdorf late last week, which was probably too recent to have an effect on our poll. So the fact that the contest is still so close despite a weeklong barrage against Moore suggests that once the We Are Wisconsin ad begins to penetrate, the race could tighten further. In other words, it's definitely within reach.
But none of this—not even the Kapanke race, and certainly not the Hopper and Harsdorf races—is going to be easy. It's going to take time, effort, and money—lots of money. Right-wing groups like the Club for Growth and the Koch brothers can dump in tons of cash at a moment's notice, which is why we need to support Wisconsinites in their efforts to take back their state from radical Republicans. So please consider making a $10 contribution to support Jennifer Shilling, Jessica King, Shelly Moore and all the other Democrats running in recall elections this summer. (Remember, there are three other Republican recall targets—and three Democratic targets, too.)
Daily Kos plans on conducting additional polling so that we can stay on top of the entire recall situation. But for the moment, the most important thing any of us can do is volunteer (if you're local), and contribute (no matter where you live). A path to victory is just that: a path. It needs to get paved, and we've got to pave it. So please, chip in!