News Coverage on Referendum
In Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin Dems tout 1 million signaturesM. J. Lee
Organizers behind the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker collected 1 million signatures to be submitted to the state’s Government Accountability Board on Tuesday, dwarfing the required number of names and virtually ensuring that a recall election will take place later this year.
A total of 540,208 valid signatures, or 25 percent of all of the votes cast in the election that put Walker in office last January, were needed to force a recall election, but organizers had aimed for hundreds of thousands more than the minimum requirement to ensure they met the threshold even if some signatures are disqualified.
The success of labor and liberal activists in forcing a recall election guarantees that Wisconsin will have an election-year reprise of its national star turn from last year —as ground zero in a climactic conflict between conservative activists and public-employee unions. Given the timing of the special election, and the fact that Wisconsin is a critical Midwestern electoral battleground, the contest is sure to seep into the presidential election between President Barack Obama and the Republican presidential nominee.
The Wisconsin Democratic Party was quick to dub the recall effort — which also targeted Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and a handful of Republican state legislators — the “biggest” in American history and boasted that organizers had gathered a whopping 460,000 extra signatures for the recall of Walker, who infuriated many in his state last year by pushing through a law that ended most collective bargaining rights for many public workers.
“An incredible number of Wisconsinites have stood up to be counted and say, ‘We can’t wait for the next election. We absolutely must get Scott Walker out of office right now,’” Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate told POLITICO.
Meagan Mahaffey, executive director of United Wisconsin— the group behind the recall efforts — said Tuesday’s results sent a “crystal clear message to Scott Walker that voters are done with his extreme policies and his destruction that he’s doing to our state.”
Mahaffey insisted that the movement did not simply represent a battle between Walker and organized labor. “This is a message to people of all backgrounds and all different types of people that have worked so hard on this recall. The best outcome for all of us is the same: Recall Scott Walker,” she said.
Kelly Steele, a strategist for We Are Wisconsin, the group that led Wisconsin’s Senate recalls, also hailed Tuesday’s news as a victory for all Wisconsinites.
“Scott Walker lied his way into office, and has since launched unprecedented attacks on Wisconsin’s working families, dividing the state like never before,” Steele said in an email. “This historic recall is a million-strong victory for Wisconsinites united to take their government back from wealthy special interests who bought and paid for Scott Walker and are dictating the terms of his extreme agenda.”
The Republican Governors Association quickly came to Walker’s defense on Tuesday, announcing the launch of www.StandWithScott.com — a website dedicated to promoting the governor’s policies and accomplishments.