Protest candidates cited as factors in recall outcomes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Protest candidates cited as factors in recall outcomes

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MADISON (WKOW) -- In looking for factors in Tuesday's recall elections, several key observers said don't forget about the protest candidates.

These candidates were Republicans who ran as Democrats to force recall primaries July 12 to make sure Republican incumbent state senators had more time to campaign.

The protest candidates all lost, however four of six Republican incumbents won Aug. 9.

Republican party of Wisconsin spokesperson Katie McCallum said the protest candidates accomplished their goals.

"The extra time our candidates had to talk directly to voters, significantly impacted these elections and helped the Republicans maintain their majority."

"Pushing back the elections by a month allowed those republican incumbents to get out into their districts, get some psychological separation from the budget, and the governor and all the things happening in the capitol," UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden told WKOW 27 News.

"It also allowed these outside groups to come in and run ads and make it a pretty intense air war."

All of the primary races had "fake," or protest candidates, even in the two races won in the general election by democratic challengers.

Burden said if there is a recall election against Governor Scott Walker, he doubted a protest candidate would surface because candidates in the race would be so recognizable and well defined politically, and Walker would have more ability to campaign than a state lawmaker, even in a tight recall election time frame.  

A Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson has said recall proponents may try to time the effort to coincide with next November's presidential election, but did not refer to the use of a protest candidate.

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