THE OTHER ELECTIONS

03.12.12

Four Wisconsin Senators Face Recalls

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board approved recall elections for four state senators, Jay Inslee resigns his House seat to focus on his gubernatorial run, and more. Check out the latest news from the rest of the 2012 campaigns.

Freedom Works Picks Manzullo Over Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a 34-year-old considered a “rising star” among House Republicans, relied on Tea Party support to win his seat in 2010. But since taking office, he’s quit the conservative Republican Study Committee and joined the centrist Tuesday Group, driving Tea Party supporters toward his primary opponent, 67-year-old Rep. Don Manzullo, who’s been in the House since 1993. With redistricting forcing the two members to run against each other, Manzullo looks to be facing by far his toughest reelection run. Freedom Works announced Monday its endorsement of Manzullo, a big boost for the congressman, though Kinzinger has been leading in the polls this month and just yesterday received the support of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Illinois Rep. John Shimkus.

Four Wisconsin Senate Recall Elections Approved

The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has approved recall elections for four Republican state senators. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Sens. Pam Galloway, Terry Moulton, and Van Wanggaard may face recall elections if the decision is not challenged in court. The four were blamed for helping Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch—both also being considered for recall—pass a law eliminating bargaining rights for public workers. Democratic opponents are already waiting in the wings to challenge the vulnerable state senators. Recall organizer Lori Compas plans to take on Fitzgerald, state Assembly member Donna Seidel will challenge Galloway, former state Assembly member Kristen Dexter will go up against Moulton, and Wanggaard will face former state senator John Lehman. According to a poll released last week by Public Policy Polling, the majority of Wisconsin voters would like a Democrat-run state Senate and support recall elections.

Inslee Abandons House for Gubernatorial Run

Rep. Jay Inslee announced over the weekend that he’ll be resigning from the House of Representatives to focus on running for governor of Washington state. By abandoning his House seat, the Democrat predicts he will gain more voters and help his party beat Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, who’s seeking to replace current governor Christine Gregoire. Polls predict a tight race between Inslee and McKenna. Democratic strategists have said McKenna’s biggest advantage is name recognition, so Inslee hopes to make himself more present in the state by eliminating the amount of time he’d otherwise have to spend in D.C. Inslee has served in Congress since 1999, something his opponent, the state’s attorney general since 2005, has held against him. “I look forward to hearing Congressman Inslee explain how 15 years in Washington, D.C., have prepared him to lead our state, now that he’s quitting Congress,” he quipped following Inslee’s announcement. The Democrat is already slightly ahead in fundraising, in part because McKenna, as a working state official, hasn’t been able to accept campaign funds from some potential contributors.