United Wisconsin, the group collecting signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, reports that volunteers have already turned in 300,000 of the 540,208 signatures needed to trigger a recall election for the governor. None of those signatures will be verified until they are turned into the Government Accountability Board on January 17. But it says something that recall volunteers appear to be a lot more than half way to their 60-day goal in just 12 days.
In Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald's district, volunteers report that they have collected 5,350 out of 16,742 signatures needed on a petition drive to recall him
Republican state senators Van Wanggaard, Terry Moulton, and Pam Galloway also face recall drives in their home districts.
If the Republicans fail in their lawsuit to get redistricting done early (pushing up the implementation of new maps that favor Republicans), they face the real possibility of losing not only the governor's office, but the majority in the senate.
"For the four in jeopardy, standing with Walker may be more easily said than done," James Rowen notes in a blog this week. "Just ask Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke, this summer's duo of recalled, full-fledged Senate GOP dominos," writes Rowen.
Last summer, Democrats and anti-Walker activists fell short of their stated goal of retaking control of the state senate. But by recalling two of the three Republican senators they targeted, they reduced the Republican majority in the Senate to one. They also sent a clear message that voters are not happy with the current political situation in Wisconsin. Since then, some of Walker's pet efforts, including the charter school bill, SB22, have stalled, as Republican legislators appear less willing to fall into line with the governor.
In other words, voters are making their voices heard.
Republicans huff about the national Democratic Party and out-of-state union bosses driving the recall election. But it is abundantly clear to anyone who lives in Wisconsin how grassroots the recall effort really is.
And although Walker and the Republicans have tried everything from encouraging retailers to call the police on signature gatherers at the malls on Black Friday to having their lawyer file a lawsuit challenging the same redistricting plan he helped them devise to running a TV ad campaign featuring school board members and teachers who seem delighted by Walker's $1.6 billion in cuts to public schools, the recall effort continues to pick up steam.
This Saturday, police, firefighters, and local sheriffs' deputies will gather at a Madison Labor Temple event for a recall signature drive.
Margaret Krome of Madison writes in the Capital Times about gathering signatures in rural Wisconsin over Thanksgiving weekend: "Three hunters turned their truck and trailer around and pulled up to where I stood on the sidewalk. I explained that I was with the Recall Walker campaign. 'It's why we turned around,' the driver said. He had already signed, but his father wanted the chance."
"The elderly couple with the 'We support our troops' sign on their door stopped cutting up their Thanksgiving turkey for a Sunday gathering of the clan to wash their hands and sign. 'What he's done to health care and education is just wrong.' "
This is the grassroots revulsion that Walker is up against.
If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "Wisconsin's Down-home Recall Effort"
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