‘Crossover’ voters not expected to influence recall contests

Walker promises to cut income taxes in budget

The chance that a group of so-called “fake Democrats” and a challenger to Gov. Scott Walker could influence the upcoming recall primaries is unlikely, according to a local political scientist.

The state Republican Party has circulated petitions to get six placeholders candidates on the May 8 ballot, forcing primaries in the races for governor, lieutenant governor and four state Senate seats.

Meanwhile, Arthur Kohl-Riggs, a Madison man known for protesting at the state Capitol, is opposing Walker in the Republican primary. Despite his ties to the recall movement, Kohl-Riggs said he wasn’t a “fake Republican.”

“I identify as a Republican,” Kohl-Riggs said. “And I identify Scott Walker as a fake Republican. He doesn’t embody any of the values of the party of Lincoln. He’s an extremist and a radical.”

The six Republicans running as Democrats are “fakes” because the GOP financed their efforts to get on the ballots, Kohl-Riggs said. He said he had a political platform, while those running as Democrats didn’t.

Kohl-Riggs said he would campaign until the primary, but one political scientist said he isn’t likely to threaten Walker — even with the prospect of Democratic voters crossing over to vote for him.

“All of these things we talk about with crossover voting and mischief in the campaigns, it’s always happening at very small numbers at the margins,” University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist John Coleman said. “There are actually real primaries happening the Democratic side, so there would be very little incentive for Democrats to cross over and vote for challengers to Scott Walker.”

‘Crossover’ voters not expected to influence recall contests

Republican voters, not faced with a tough decision on primary day, might cross over to influence the Democratic gubernatorial contest between Kathleen Falk, Tom Barrett, Kathleen Vinehout and Doug La Follette, but it probably won’t be coordinated enough to influence the election, Coleman said.

Kohl-Riggs said part of the reason that he entered the race was to ensure Republicans would vote in their primary, instead of crossing over to the Democratic side. The practice of crossing over is possible because Wisconsin has open primaries in which voters don’t have to declare party affiliation.

Without the support of Democrats, Kohl-Riggs will have to win over Republican voters. But nearly 80 percent of them supported Walker in exit polls during the April 3 presidential primary, WISC-TV reported,

“I believe the polls are accurate,” Kohl-Riggs said. “But the people participating in the polls have been misled.”

Republicans have chosen Walker and will stick with him through the recall, Coleman said.

“I don’t think Republicans need any extra incentive to vote for Scott Walker,” he said.

“He’s very popular, they’re strongly behind him, they’re committed to seeing him succeed.”

Walker, asked about his challenger during a stop on Thursday, shook his head before attacking all of his opponents.

“This election isn’t going to be about those sideshows, it’s about whether we want to go backwards or forward,” Walker said. “When you look at what happened in the past, we had double digit tax increases in the state, we had billion-dollar budget deficits, we had record job loss. I don’t think people want to go back in time for that, but for all our opponents, that’s what they’re talking about.”