Most blog readers are well aware of what's happening in Wisconsin tomorrow, where six tea party-friendly state senators face recall elections. These elections are vital for Wisconsin -- particularly Wisconsin's working families -- because if Democrats win at least three of these seats, they will regain control of the state senate (Republicans currently hold a 19-14 majority) and can stop the extreme actions of Gov. Scott Walker and his conservative allies. Tomorrow's elections have been the target of more than $20 million and trickery from groups like Americans for Prosperity. On the other side, a host of progressive groups have lent a hand to fight against Walker's cronies in the state senate.
But the importance of the election goes well beyond Wisconsin. As many have pointed out, success in Wisconsin would show not only the power of the grassroots, but could serve as a bellwether for 2012's elections and could predict a "re-imagining of the Democratic Party." The senators up for recall are all conservatives who were able to win in 2008 despite Barack Obama's victory in the state and these victories would be a sign that the voters are fed up with right-wing assaults on working Americans. The elections could also set the stage for a recall of Walker himself next year and could play a big role in redistricting, where friendlier Democratic maps could help eliminate freshman Republicans Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy.
It's also important to note that the recall elections, if successful, would be a step in the right direction for achieving gender equality in office, particularly bringing progressive women into office:
The recalls in Wisconsin have been unprecedented for numerous reasons, but one that hasn't received much attention is the fact that women are running in five out of six of the recall races. The demographic population of Wisconsin shows men and women roughly evenly split, but in the State Senate only eight of the 33 Senators are women. In the recall races three progressive women are challenging three conservative men (with the other two challenging conservative women). If those seats are flipped that'll make the count 11 women in the State Senate or 33 percent of the Senate. Combining both chambers of the Wisconsin state legislature women only make up less than 23 percent of members.
Predictions range anywhere from Democrats sweeping all six seats tomorrow to only picking up one or two seats, which would not be enough to stop Walker's agenda. Almost everyone believes that voter turnout will be the key and a massive effort has been made to get out the vote tomorrow. As of August 3, the Democratic field program had reported the following:
As of this morning, over 11,700 volunteers and staff have knocked on 437,235 doors and made 716,339 phone calls for a grand total of 1,153,574 attempts! Our field team has been meeting and surpassing goals week in and week out and they are ready to move into GOTV.
We now have 87% of our GOTV shifts filled for our August 9th elections and 83% of our shifts filled for the August 16th Democratic protects in SD 12 and SD 22. Statewide we have 6,228 shifts filled. With only six days until our next set of elections, time is short but, we’re ready.
A quick preview of the six races that will be on the ballot tomorrow, in order of likelihood of a Democratic pick-up:
1. SD32: Most observers give this race to Jennifer Shilling over incumbent Dan Kapanke. Recent polling showed Shilling with a double digit lead.
2. SD18: Jessica King had a 8% lead over thug Hopper in a recent poll. In a just world, a guy like this would have no chance to hld this seat, and he only won it by 184 votes in 2008.
Randy Hopper: "I'm going to ruin you for every F-ing thing you've done"
3. SD8: This race has been within the margin of error in recent polls, but it's hard to see how an incompetent alleged criminal like Darling could hold a seat she only won by 1,007 votes in a district that went for Obama in 2008. Sandy Pasch would do both Wisconsin and the country a service by taking out Darling.
Alberta Darling: Can't name one job created in her district
4. SD14: Democrats believe they have a legitimate shot for Fred Clark to win here and take out Luther Olsen. Polling has shown the race to be within the margin of error and the party is excited about the paid media and GOTV efforts they've put forth in the district.
5. SD10: Shelly Moore has consistently trailed incumbent Sheila Harsdorf beyond the margin of error, but Democrats say the district is rabidly anti-Scott Walker and with GOTV efforts that are well beyond the goals they set, they think the race might still turn in Moore's favor.
6. SD2: Nancy Nusbaum also trails the incumbent -- Robert Cowles -- by more than the margin of error. Nusbaum has more money for the final push and Democrats point to an enthusiasm gap in the district that could help them pull off the upset.
It's not too late to help out in Wisconsin. If you are in the Wisconsin area, sign up to help get out the vote. If you are anywhere else, you can participate in virtual phonebanking. Next week, two more senate recall elections will take place, so things are far from being settled in Wisconsin.
To keep up with the up-to-the-minute details of the recall elections tomorrow, check out the following progressive Wisconsin blogs: