Reaching the voters on short notice | Gary King, editor

All of the sudden there are six candidates – three Democrats, two Republicans and one Libertarian –  officially seeking the state Senate seat formerly held by Sheila Harsdorf, who is now the secretary of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection. The three Democrats and two Republicans will face off in a Dec. 19 primary.  That’s not far away in terms of voter awareness. The two sitting state representatives  among the field may hold a slight advantage in terms of familiarity to voters.  Is there time for the others to even introduce themselves to voters? They will need to rely on the media, and from what we’ve seen thusfar, it looks like the media – newspapers, radio and internet – are rising to the occasion.  Television? Well, the 10th Senate District contains to TV stations and candidates will be forced to cough up big money to permeate that audience via the Twin Cities stations and perhaps stations in Duluth and Eau Claire. It comes down to money and time.  This is one of the more sudden elections in recent history.  And important in terms of how it reflects other elections nationwide that may or may not be reflecting some kickback against the current president. It’s getting noticed. The San Francisco Chronicle last week labeled the 10th Senate District race as the most high-profile of three current efforts to fill vacant seats in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin Public Radio will be offering forums for the candidates in the next few weeks (see separate story).  And, of course, our next few print issues and our website will contain profile information on the candidates. If its a voter’s responsibility to be educated before voting then it’s the media’s responsibility to offer as much fair coverage of candidates, their stances and background, as possible. And the governor’s race next year should be somewhat interesting, also.  Seven candidates are seeking Scott Walker’s position, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  That field will likely be narrowed due to a variety of reasons – most notably money – but it certainly will add a new challenge to voters seeking an alternative to the incumbent.  Stay on your toes, voters. – Gary King