Wisconsin Adversaries Dig In on Gov. Scott Walker Recall
(MADISON, Wis.) — The effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker has Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats digging in their heels for a long, arduous process ahead.
United Wisconsin, which organized the plan to recall the Republican governor, submitted more than one million signatures to the state’s Government Accountability Board on Tuesday, apparently making it a recall effort with the most participants in U.S. history.
Although the number of signatures is well above the required 540,208 needed for a recall to proceed, an election is not certain. The state’s Government Accountability Board must first verify each of the signed names, which it has 60 days to complete. The board has already asked for additional time, and said it will invest in $100,000 of new computer software to help complete the verification process.
Despite Walker opponents’ signature-gathering prowess, a recall election would likely be a tight race, analysts say, and the one million-plus signatures wouldn’t necessarily mean a strong voter turnout.
“This was a pretty strong showing, but Walker’s going to fight, too,” said Kyle Kondik, political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “I don’t think it’s a given that anyone who signed a petition is going to vote in a recall. You have to wonder how turnout’s going to be. Are there going to be more votes cast in this special election than there were in the gubernatorial election in 2010?”
If the signatures are verified, Democrats would have a six-week primary season to select a candidate to run against Walker in a recall. The recall election would take place four weeks after the primary. One state Democrat has already declared her intentions to run against Walker: Kathleen Tate, a former executive for Dane County, which encompasses the state capital of Madison.
Other Democratic candidates are likely to follow in the coming weeks and months. Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the party will not endorse any candidate until after the primary has taken place.
In the meantime, a quirk in Wisconsin state laws allow Walker to take in unlimited contributions while signatures are being gathered and reviewed. The governor has so far taken in more than $5 million, and is spending heavily on television ads, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. Walker spent more than $1 million in the first month of signature gathering alone.
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