This will be the first of the actual recall elections and a Hansen victory will likely be heralded as a sign that the tide in Wisconsin is firmly behind the Democrats, and pushing against Governor Scott Walker. All I can say to this is don't believe it. The only thing that a Hansen victory will tell us is that the voters of the 30th don't want to be represented by VanderLeest.
While many voters in the district appreciate VanderLeest's efforts in the Hansen recall effort, the problems in his personal life are simply too numerous, too troubling, and too recent for many voters to consider sending him to Madison.
Does this mean that Wisconsin voters approve of the fact that Hansen and his Democratic colleagues in the Senate fled to Illinois in order to block the Governor's collective bargaining bill? I doubt it. The plural of anecdote is not data, but many people I talk to are still quite upset at what they see as this ridiculous ploy which literally shut down the legislature of this state, at least on fiscal matters. These days, such complaints are almost always immediately followed by another about Republican John Nygren, and his failure to get on the ballot to challenge Hansen.
The WisGOP has turned grassroots anger over Hansen's flight into a $243,000 mistake. That is how much Hansen reported in cash on hand recently. Compare that to VanderLeest's $2000 raised. As the Recess Supervisor notes:
But what I suspect is happening here is that the Democrats, who are already winning the fundraising war, are going to try and use this race as an exclamation point to get their donors pumped for the real races next month.Right on cue, Chris Bowers is up at Kos with a post that ends in an appeal to contribute to the Democrats in the Wisconsin recalls. The link he provides is to ActBlue, the fundraising clearinghouse where donors from all over the country can make small contributions to elections that do not even affect them. I can imagine Democrats from Florida to Oregon heeding the call and then watching the results come in on Tuesday. At that distance, they will be apt to read all sorts of things into a Hansen victory that simply aren't there.
If I could send a message to these donors it would be this: Democrats in Wisconsin and at the national level are happy for you to misread Tuesday's results. This confusion sustains a flood of campaign cash unleashed initially by your anger over Scott Walker's policies, but don't kid yourself. A sizable portion of Dave Hansen's constituents approve of the Governor's policies and were infuriated when Hansen fled to Illinois. The state GOP failed spectacularly to capitalize on this sentiment, leaving Hansen to fend off a challenge from a flawed opponent.
That's the local reality. Too bad it will be totally eclipsed by the national politics of Tuesday's election.