Judge Approves Recall Election Dates Of May 8, June 5

Governor, Lt. Governor, GOP Legislators Targeted For Recall

MADISON, Wis. - A Dane County judge on Wednesday morning signed off on an agreement that set recall election dates of May 8 and June 5.

The recall elections will target against Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess gave the agreement an official OK Wednesday. The tentative deal was reached a day earlier by lawyers for the state elections board, recall committees and recall targets.

"It seems one more week is the best balance of things here," Niess said.

Under the deal, any required primaries would be held May 8 with a general election four weeks later, on June 5. Otherwise a primary election would have been May 1 and the general election May 29, near the Memorial Day holiday.

GAB board director Kevin Kennedy said that election officials thought this delay was necessary.

"I think it's important that we get this," said Kennedy. "I've said all along we want to make sure we did our job and did it thoroughly so people were confident that we had carefully examined the petition to determine whether or not it is sufficient."

Attorneys representing Republican lawmakers also felt this time frame was legitimate.

"I don't think there's any undue delay," said Joe Olson, attorney for the four GOP senators who are being recalled. "(The) GAB has come out and said this is what we need to finish reviewing all of the petitions to make sure they are compliant with the law, so we're satisfied that GAB is doing its job"

Lawyers representing some of the recall organizers expressed continued concern about the delays.

"As we start to move even a week into June, the character of the electorate changes," said Jeremy Levinson, an attorney for the recall committees. "As school lets out and parents are busy with their children, and we were committed to making sure many people who can be able to vote as a practical matter in these elections as possible."

Election officials have already confirmed recall elections for the state senators face recall elections. It appears nearly certain that Walker and Kleefisch, will also stand for recall as neither submitted documents contesting signatures.

With the target dates for a likely primary and election set, many who are weighing a decision to become candidates might need to make up their minds. So far, the Democratic field includes former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Follette.

Marquette University Law School professor Charles Franklin said that the establishment of dates might prompt some high-profile Democrats who are weighing a gubernatorial run to make choice.

"I think there is now added pressure if Tom Barrett is going to get in the race to declare his intentions soon, if other candidates are going to get in the race for them to declare their intentions," said Franklin. "They may be able to put it off a little while, but if you wait until after the April 3 statewide and local elections, you're only talking about just over a month for the primary period."

If an election is indeed certified on March 30, candidates who would get in would have until April 10 to circulate nomination papers to get on the ballot officially, WISC-TV reported.

Franklin said that the public should also expect a quick deluge of campaign ads and efforts to get voters to the polls.

"Most modern campaigns are affairs of months and months -- not just things in a couple of months, so it's a compressed timeline for all the candidates," said Franklin.

Stay tuned to WISC-TV and Channel 3000 continuing coverage.

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