Wisconsin Democrats optimistic about gubernatorial recall despite steep challenges
October 11th, 2011
03:01 PM ET
3 years ago

Wisconsin Democrats optimistic about gubernatorial recall despite steep challenges

(CNN) - The bar is set high for Wisconsin Democrats seeking the recall of first-term Republican Governor Scott Walker. But while successful recalls on the state level are exceedingly rare, Democratic officials are optimistic.

The recall effort, which was announced Monday on the Wisconsin Democratic Party's website by party chair Mike Tate, will officially begin on November 15th, with the circulation of a recall petition.

Once that petition is filed, the party will have only 60 days to gather the necessary signatures, at least 540,208 of them according to Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board. This number is equal to one quarter of the number of votes cast for governor in the previous election.

Despite the challenge that this effort will pose to Democratic activists, Tate seemed confident about the petitions prospects on Monday night, telling MSNBC's Ed Schultz that his party is aiming to significantly exceed the required number and collect over 600,000 signatures.

Said Tate: "we are putting together the resources, the team, the staff, the volunteers that we need to collect signatures from every single corner of Wisconsin."

Tate further remarked that Walker is "universally unpopular" and that he represents a "radical agenda."

Walker's administration gained national attention earlier this year when he, along with Republican legislators, pushed forward a bill to cut state workers' collective bargaining rights. That bill was signed into law in March, following weeks of protests at the state capitol building in Madison.

There has been a wave of attempted recalls in the Wisconsin legislature over the past year, but this would be the first time in Wisconsin's history that a governor has faced recall.

In fact, there have only been two successful gubernatorial recalls in United States history, that of California Governor Gray Davis in 2003 and that of North Dakota Governor Lynn Frazier in 1921.

While recalls at the state level are rare, a July poll by the University Wisconsin Survey Center noted a 59 percent disapproval rating for the Governor. Democrats therefore believe that they can gather the required number of petition signatures.

According to Kenneth Goldstein, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, a successful ouster of the governor would rely on many unpredictable factors, but it's "less hard to predict that they'll get the numbers."

The more difficult battle will begin once those signatures are approved, and the state holds a recall election, which could be as early as next spring. According to Goldstein, both sides will be well financed in that election.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin's executive director, Stephan Thompson, welcomed the recall in a written statement saying: "We welcome and encourage a comparison between the positive results we're seeing around the state and the failed policies of the past favored by those seeking a recall."

CNN affiliate WKBT quoted Governor Walker Tuesday as saying: "From our standpoint, our only campaign we're focused on is helping the private sector in the state create 250,000 jobs. What others are working about, whether cynics might be involved, really is not as much of a factor as what we're doing to help people in La Crosse and all across the state create more jobs."

Also see:

Plouffe: Economic frustrations stirring Wall Street protests

Romney defends Wall Street but vows to fight for middle class

Poll: Half the country has heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests


Filed under: Democrats • Scott Walker • Wisconsin
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. vet in texas

    America please check Wisconsin's unemployment numbers now vs what they were before Walker was elected, his reason for giving away billions was for companies to create jobs............they haven't, and they won't, which actually shows the GOP's only agenda, add the fact that they refuse to cut oil subsidies but want to cut funding for medicare instead, and fill holes in the budgets created by said tax cuts..........means exactly what they will do if they control the whitehouse, if elected, the Ryan plan will be law, and we will have only ourselves to blame, Wisconsin and Florida are experiencing it.

    October 11, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Bill

    Wisconsin will be in much better shape when this joke of a governor is recalled. Goodbye Scott.

    October 11, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The Wisconsin Dems sticking up for average Americans have my 100% support!

    October 11, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    The thuggish tactics of the GOP has cost them two seats already. Let's see if it's 3.....

    October 11, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. TomInRochNY

    As the Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times."

    October 11, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Lisa P

    Notice how people who talk about "those failed policies of the past" never mention just what it was that they failed at? In Wisconsin's case they kept the state from becoming a plutocracy, run by the rich for the rich. They kept our air and water clean and our schools among the best in the nation. Scott Walker has tried mightily to reverse all those "failed" policies but the funny thing? We voters never saw those policies as a problem. Governor Walker got in by promising something else entirely (Jobs, jobs, jobs!) which he has "failed" to deliver. I can hardly wait to vote him out. I hope we get to vote out a bunch of his cronies in the State Senate too as long as we are at it. The Assembly will get theirs in November 2012, as well as that fool Paul Ryan. Wisconsin is going to be blue for a long, long time after the Walker debacle. We've learned our lesson.

    October 11, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. ray

    I am from Madison Wisconsin and Gov Walker is the best Gov WI has seems in years. He did what it took to get the job done even though it was tough. Thank you Scott Walker for all your hard and good work for the Wisconsin families. Our future is brighter with the things you've done. Keep up the good work and I'll vote for you again and again.

    October 11, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Sandy

    Bye bye Walker!

    October 11, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. chris l

    When does a weasel smell like a skunk?
    When that weasel is Scott Walker!

    October 11, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. liberal...like Jesus

    I gather the phone lines between the Koch brothers and Walker are burning up about now...love to hear those plans. With you in spirit- GO WISCONSIN!

    October 11, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. T'sah from Virginia

    Dang, if I had the time and did not have to work and was RICH and did not have to pay taxes and got all of the tax breaks – I would go to WI and knock on doors!!! I truly hope they pull this through because in reality, WI is GROUND ZERO and you see what's going on in the rest of the country!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012!!

    October 11, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. Lisa P

    @vet in texas

    You know the funny thing is that in the month or so after Walker was sworn in they kept on bringing Mitch Daniels of Indiana (10+% unemployment) up here to praise Walker's fiscal responsibility, bold moves, conservative principles, etc., like Daniels knew anything about creating jobs. Now it looks like the goal was always to upset our employment applecart which has always been balanced on trust between employers and employees and a willingness to work together. Wisconsin workers have always chosen to reduce their income in order to save jobs (we lost about 15% in the last decade in fact, but our unemployment is typically 2 points lower than the national average) with the idea that they'll get it back when times improve. Apparently that's not in the program for the greedheads Walker wants to have running this state. He wants to turn us into Indiana.

    October 11, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. vicsanta

    This is the same idiot who got punked by a radio station into believing he was talking to one of the Koch Bros.

    October 11, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Just look at Walker straight in the face...doesn't he look just like Sarah Palins youngest child??

    October 11, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Reggie from LA

    Just look at that picture. Looks like a man just raring to go to serve the state of Wisconsin. Or maybe that's the usual Koch trance? What were they thinking after he'd already pulled that union bustin' crap before? People who think unions are useless and thuggish should never have another pay increase, weekends off or 40-hr weeks as long as they are in the workforce.

    October 11, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. AR1000

    A short politician career. Time to say goodbye liar.

    Russ Feingold & Tom Barrett for Wisconsin 2012.

    October 11, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. d

    Cant wait to sign it...no i am not a puplic employee...he walker is a thug period...

    October 11, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |