Recalls expected to cost thousands

Record turnout, primaries would add to the final totals

June 21, 2011

Record turnout for this summer's recall elections could drive up costs to municipalities in the fight for state Sen. Alberta Darling's 8th District seat.

Germantown is expecting turnout as high as 80 percent for both the July and August recall elections, estimating a total of $12,000 to support such numbers.

Assistant Clerk Christine Micka said extra workers will be brought in to accommodate the expected voters.

Primary slated for July

Darling, R-River Hills, is facing two Democratic challengers, which means there will be a primary July 12. Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Whitefish Bay, will have to beat what the Republicans are calling a protest candidate, in this case Gladys Huber, in the primary election.

Republican leaders have said they are running protest candidates to give legislators like Darling more time to work on the state budget as well as campaign.

Giving Republicans more time means adding an election for municipalities - Darling will face the winner of the Democratic primary Aug. 9 - essentially doubling the cost of the recall effort.

Germantown Village Administrator David Schornack said the extra funds may require a budget amendment because the $12,000 was not originally accounted for and there isn't extra money in the village's lean budget.

Official not too concerned

Menomonee Falls expects to pay more than twice what Germantown will, estimating a price tag of $11,000 on each of the two elections. Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said the village does not have any special contingency fund for such things and that the expenditure will have to be sorted out after the money is spent.

Fitzgerald did not seem to be too concerned about the costs, however.

"In a $20 million dollar budget, if we're tighter than $11,000, we're in trouble," he said.

Both Menomonee Falls and Germantown voted heavily in favor of David Prosser, the perceived conservative candidate in the state Supreme Court election, although turnout in both communities was not as high as expected for that race.

Divisions could bring voters

The 8th Senate District is one of the most politically diverse in the state, including conservative communities like Menomonee Falls and Germantown as well as historically liberal communities like Shorewood.

Darling narrowly beat state Rep. Sheldon Wasserman in 2008, and some expected Wasserman, from Shorewood, to run again. Pasch is from one of the more historically liberal parts of the district, although Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, won Whitefish Bay in the non-partisan Milwaukee County Executive race in April.

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