The St. Croix County Republican Party has launched an 11th-hour effort to mobilize voters to support a “fake” Democrat in the 10th Senate District primary election on Tuesday.
Jesse Garza, chairman of the county party, sent out an email Sunday urging voters who support Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), who faces a recall election Aug. 9, to vote Tuesday for Isaac Weix of Menomonie. He’s one of six fake or protest candidates put up by the Republican Party to force Democratic primaries in six districts where Republican state senators face recall elections.
Weix faces Shelly Moore, a teacher and state teachers union official from River Falls, in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election. “We have the opportunity, and we might as well use it,” Garza said in a phone interview Sunday.
The state GOP has been saying it’s not doing anything to help any of their protest candidates in Tuesday’s elections, other than to help them collect signatures on their nomination papers. Garza said the St. Croix party’s efforts for Weix were independent of the state party, and have been in the works for a couple of weeks.
The email sent out Sunday, which went out over Garza’s name, talked of mobilizing the “conservative base” in Harsdorf’s district and urged the email’s targets to forward the message.
“If you want to end this recall effort Tuesday, vote,” it said, “and send this message out to everyone who will vote for Isaac! We will save the State Senate and put an end to Shelly Moore’s attacks if you vote!”
It also said: “Your vote for Isaac Weix in the July 12th primary election IS a vote for Sheila!”
Garza, a political consultant in the Twin Cities, said his two reasons for the action were his support of Harsdorf, and “I’d really like to enjoy the rest of my summer.”
If Weix wins the primary, Garza said he’s heard he won’t run against Harsdorf in the Aug. 9 general election because he has a military commitment.
Though Tuesday’s elections are Democratic primaries, Republicans can cross over and vote in them because Wisconsin’s open primary law allows it.
Garza said he wasn’t collaborating with people working for “protest” Democratic candidates in any of the other GOP senate districts.
Most political observers don’t expect any of the fake Democrats to win primaries against the Republican senators’ real Democratic challengers, though one political scientist, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Mordecai Lee, said a couple of weeks ago that the real Democrats faced a real risk of losing. He said established Democratic politicians, such as three state Assembly members and former Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, would probably survive, but lesser known candidates Moore and former Oshkosh deputy mayor Jessica King might be vulnerable. King is the real Democrat challenging Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac).
Last week, calls were made to voters in Hopper’s district, and a flier was sent out, in support of John Buckstaff, the protest Democrat challenging King on Tuesday. The flier was identified with a little-known group called Patriot Advisors, which registered June 29 with the state Government Accountability Board to oppose King and support Buckstaff.