State Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover) retained his seat in last Tuesday’s recall election against Republican challenger Kim Simac of Eagle River. With 95% of votes counted, Holperin had garnered 29,750 votes to Simac’s 24,069, or a 55-45% margin. As of press time, a week after the election, the Government Accountability Board had not released the official vote count.
In Lincoln County, voters chose Holperin 5,994 votes to 3,919 for Simac. Voter turnout in Lincoln County was nearly 10,000, or 58% of registered voters.
The 12th District includes the counties of Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Shawano and Vilas. Districtwide, about 55,000 votes were cast. In comparison, the 2008 general election in which Holperin was first elected, drew 85,000 district voters to the polls.
Holperin thanked voters for weighing in on the recall.
“Of course I thank the voters, both those who voted for and against me, who turned out in record numbers,” he said. “Their willingness to take time to vote on a beautiful summer day and with only one race on the ballot demonstrates their willingness to make democracy work and shows they care about the serious issues facing this district and the state.”
Simac, a Northwoods Tea Party leader, spearheaded the recall effort against Holperin in reaction to his decision to leave the state in February to delay a vote on the Budget Repair Bill.
“My opponent tried to make this race a referendum on the single action of leaving the Capitol in order to delay a vote on the Governor’s budget repair bill,” Holperin said. “If that’s what this election was about I think voters spoke out in opposition to the confrontational Capitol politics of the last six months and by their votes are demanding more moderation, more bipartisanship and more compromise.
“Now, I look forward to getting back to work on behalf of all citizens of the 12th Senate District and invite, as I always have, their advice, questions and concerns regarding pending legislation and other issues which they’d like me to address,” added.
Following the results of the recall, Simac said, “…I hope Jim Holperin remembers that above all he is accountable to all the voters of this district.
“Unfortunately, the special interests spent millions of dollars to distract away from the real issues in this race. We need more jobs and a better economy, not more personal attacks and the same old politics.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m proud of the positive, issue-based campaign we ran, and truly touched by all the support.”
She also pledged to continue working to ensure that Jim Holperin represents all of the people of the 12th district.
“We must work together to find solutions that will help us continue to successfully raise our families and run our businesses here,” Simac said. “Even though I didn’t win the election I will continue to work and fight hard for the benefit of all the citizens of the 12th District.”