Victory in Wisconsin: Movement to Recall Scott Walker Hands in One Million Signatures, Twice the Number Necessary
On Tuesday, grassroots group United Wisconsin turned in approximately one million signatures -- nearly twice the number necessary -- to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and prompt a new election that may boot the union-busting governor and some of his allies: 845,000 signatures were also collected to recall Lieutenant Rebecca Kleefisch, and thousands more signatures make her and GOP state senators Pam Galloway, Terry Moulton, and Van Wangaard vulnerable for ousting.
The next stage will likely be a battle between Walker and his challenger:
It's unclear at present who Democrats will choose to challenge Walker in the recall election. Potential candidates include Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.)*, former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, and possibly outgoing Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.).
Even with a staggering one million signatures collected, Walker foes face a formidable challenge in tossing Walker out of office. Polls conducted near the end of 2011 showed Wisconsinities split on recalling Walker, though a November survey by St. Norbert/Wisconsin Public Radio found 58 percent of respondents backed the Walker recall effort.
Walker recall organizers are also paddling against the tide of history. Only two governors have lost recall elections in modern American history—North Dakota's Lynn Frazier in 1921 and California's Gray Davis in 2003. That said, in those recall efforts the signature totals amounted to 32 percent and 23 percent of the the state's electorate, respectively, according to United Wisconsin. By contrast, 46 percent of Wisconsin voters signed a Walker recall petition.
Recall organizers will also be up against an extremely well-financed Walker campaign, which can raise unlimited sums of money to defend the governor thanks to quirk in state elections law. Between July 1 and December 10, Walker raised $5.1 million dollars, almost half of it from out-of-state donors. Indeed, Walker chose to attend a fundraiser in New York City hosted by ex-AIG CEO Hank Greenberg on Tuesday rather than stay in Wisconsin.
Walker achieved infamy in February 2011 when he introduced "budget repair" bill to cut collective bargaining rights for most workers in the public-sector. Coupled with his threat to send send the National Guard to squash worker protests, the bill prompted the Wisconsin uprising that occupied the state capital and flooded the streets. The bill passed, but the people did not give up.
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