GOP recruit seeks signatures to enter recall race as Democrat
Identifying himself as a “protest candidate” rather than “spoiler,” Isaac Weix of Menomonie has until Tuesday to collect the 400 valid signatures he needs to run against Democrat Shelly Moore in the upcoming 10th Senate District recall election.
Weix is no stranger to the process of completing nomination papers and running for public office. He lost in the primary for the 93rd Assembly District last year and in April, his bid for a seat on the Menomonie City Council also met with defeat.
In both elections, Weix — a conservative Republican — ran on the GOP side of the ticket. This time, though, he’s switching sides to run as a Democrat against Moore as the Ellsworth High School teacher challenges Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls).
The U.S. Marine Corps veteran served two tour in Iraq. His observations of his experiences were published in The News.
Harsdorf is one of six Republicans facing recall elections this summer. Recall elections for three Democrats were also expected to be certified by the Government Accountability Board on Friday.
The Harsdorf-Moore face-off was expected to be held on Tuesday, July 12. Should Weix prove successful in getting on the ballot, a primary election will be held instead. The final election would take place on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
The announcement Monday that Weix would be running as one of several “spoiler” GOP candidates was met with mixed reactions.
According to a letter signed by Third Congressional District Chair Maripat Krueger, “We need to make sure Democrat challengers face primaries to allow our Republicans time to mount a campaign.”
Dunn County Republican Party Chair Marv Prestrud disagrees with the strategy. “This is a difficult one for me because personally, I’m opposed to the idea of Isaac running. I’m the chair, but I’m opposed to the position the party’s taking at the state level.”
Calling the situation a “threat to democracy,” Prestrud is unhappy that the recall elections are taking place at all: “I think it’s a little unfair that somebody like Sheila Harsdorf has to be doing her job and then get only a couple of weeks to campaign. It’s all because a person made one vote and followed their convictions. ... I really believe Sheila is going to come out the winner in this anyway. It’s going to look like a really big waste of tax dollars and campaign money in the end.”
The 10th Senate District includes all of St. Croix County and portions of Pierce, Polk, Burnett and Dunn counties. Voters from five Dunn County municipalities will gather at the polls for the recall election — the city of Menomonie, the village of Knapp, and the towns of Menomonie and Lucas.
Dunn County Clerk Marilyn Hoyt isn’t certain how much the special election will cost, but hopes it will be less than $8,000. “I won’t know until they bill me,” she said.
City Clerk JoAnn Kadinger couldn’t be reached on Fridayfor her estimate of the cost to Menomonie taxpayers — she was attending a workshop on the subject of how to conduct a recall election.
Candidates weigh in
GOP Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald said all six Republican senators targeted in the recall were aware of the plan to recruit Republicans to run as Democrats.
Through her campaign manager, Nathan Duerkop, Harsdorf issued the following statement: “Ever since the recall campaign was organized and funded by out-of-district special interests, Sheila Harsdorf has continued doing the work the voters sent her to do — balance the budget and serve taxpayers. Last month, our campaign called attention to the fact that many recall petitioners from out-of-district were circulating the petitions, some from as far away as New York and Michigan. Now, we learn that given the nature of this unprecedented recall campaign, the other side is playing games.
“Quite frankly, we would have hoped Shelly Moore would have been as vocal about out-of-district influences as she is today about the state party’s apparent involvement. We know that Sheila does not support either of these tactics, but it’s a symptom of a recall process managed and run by big spending special interests that are prepared to spend millions to get Moore elected.”
Moore called on Harsdorf to denounce the GOP’s “fake democrats” strategy.
“It appears as though the GOP Senators will stop at nothing to avoid being held accountable,” she said in a statement. “Now they are resorting to dirty tricks in order to delay elections, create confusion and chaos, and avoid being judged by voters in recall elections. Senator Harsdorf must pledge to oppose any similar tactics, and the Republican Party must immediately shut down this partisan, coordinated attack on democracy that wastes taxpayer dollars. These elections must get underway so the State can heal. These underhanded tactics serve no purpose but to divide us further.”