Other Elections Besides Walker Recall

By: - June 5, 2012 12:00 am

Wisconsin voters will be heading to the polls today (June 5) to decide whether to cut short the term of Governor Scott Walker by electing Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who was also his opponent in the last election.

While that race has generated a lot of publicity, it’s just one of many decisions that voters around the country will make today.

Also in Wisconsin, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators are facing recall elections in a chamber that is currently politically deadlocked.

Today is the busiest primary day of the year for state legislative primary races across the country, with California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota set to decide their candidates for the general election.

California’s primary will be particularly interesting to watch because of a new “top-two” primary system that puts all candidates for the legislature, Congress and statewide elected offices on a single primary ballot, regardless of party, making some races more competitive than they would otherwise be. The top-two vote-getters in each race will face off in November.

Also in California, a ballot measure could shorten current legislative term limits from 14 years to 12 years. Legislators, who can now serve only six years in the State Assembly and eight years in the Senate, would be able to continue to split that time across chambers or spend their entire 12-year legislative career in one chamber, which is not currently allowed. Another ballot measure would raise the state’s cigarette tax from 87 cents a pack to .87 a pack and use the revenue for cancer research, smoking cessation programs and law enforcement. The average state cigarette tax is .46.

In Montana, where gubernatorial primaries will take place, Attorney General Steve Bullock is heavily favored as the Democratic nominee, while the Republican field is a little more uncertain. Former U.S. Representative Rick Hill will face off against former state Senator Corey Stapleton and former state Senator Ken Miller. Popular incumbent Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer is term-limited.

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Melissa Maynard

Melissa Maynard oversees the Pew state fiscal health project’s Fiscal 50 online resource, which helps policymakers understand fiscal, economic, and demographic trends affecting their states by tracking tax revenue, reserves, employment rates, Medicaid spending, and other issues important to long-term fiscal health.

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