Opponents of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., who received national attention earlier this year over his ultimately successful bid to strip public workers of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights, launched a petition drive early Tuesday morning in an effort to collect 540,000 signatures and force a state recall election.
The recall effort, organized by the Wisconsin Democratic Party as well as multiple grassroots organizations, aims to gather about 9,000 signatures a day to meet its goal, according to The Associated Press. The source reports more than 100 events associated with the petition drive were planned across Wisconsin for Tuesday.
On its Web site, United Wisconsin, a non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to recalling Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, said Walker ran for governor with a moderate platform that did not indicate he would pursuing the far-right policies Wisconsin has seen since his election.
There was nothing in his campaign about outlawing collective bargaining and destroying unions; nothing about privatizing all state services; nothing about giving huge tax breaks to corporations while cutting funding on virtually every state program Wisconsinites have come to depend on, the Web site states.
540,000 Signatures Needed
If critics of Walker manage to gather 540,000 signatures, a recall election can be called six weeks after the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board verifies their authenticity.
Kathleen Falk, a former country Dane County executive, as well as Mahlon Mitchell, the president of the Wisconsin Professional Firefighters union, reportedly delivered a signed filing required in the recall process to the state elections office on Tuesday morning. Both Falk and Mitchell told the AP they may consider challenging Walker on the Democratic ticket.
NPR reports organizers have already recruited 8,000 people to circulate petitions in an effort to collect the required signatures.
You're going to see them everywhere, Mike Tate, the Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman, told the source.You'll have people outside the parking lots of shopping malls over the holiday season. There will be people at the deer-cleaning stands during deer hunting.
In a press conference on Monday, Walker said he would not let the recall effort distract him from his pledge to create 250,000 jobs before the end of his four-year term. According to multiple reports, television ads in favor of Scott featuring the text Recall: No have already begun to air across the state, aside from Milwaukee.
Whether Walker's critics will be successful is hard to say. Although a July poll from the University of Wisconsin's Survey Center found that 59 percent of residents disapproved of Walker's job performance, an August poll -- the most recent available -- from Public Policy Polling found that half of Wisconsin residents favored removing Walker from office, compared to 47 percent who said they would be against it.
Still, Walker has history on his side. Only two governors have ever been recalled from office in U.S. history -- North Dakota's Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921, and California's Gov. Gray Davis in 2003.
Walker is not the only elected official who may get the boot early. Papers have also been filed to recall Republican State Sens. Pam Galloway, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard, as well as Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.