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Recall War begins

By   /   November 14, 2011  /   12 Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — The battle for Wisconsin’s “political soul” has begun.

The campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker, billed by partisans on both sides as a contest for the Badger State's political soul, was slated to begin just after the stroke of midnight Tuesday, just as the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and organizers for the liberal political action committee United Wisconsin had promised for weeks.

Recall leaders Monday said they planned to take their campaign papers early Tuesday to the state’s Government Accountability Board, or GAB, office here, and some in the recall drive have scheduled a march at the governor’s Wauwatosa residence.

Republicans, meanwhile, have no intention of standing idly by in the face of an assault on their majority and their agenda, which, they say, is delivering positive results. A Recall the Recall event is slated Tuesday evening here to rally against the campaign.

Social networks were abuzz with recall news Monday — for and against. The petition drive to recall Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and perhaps several Republican senators was set to begin early Tuesday, in a party-like atmosphere — in every sense of the word.

A Madison Recall Countdown Event was planned at a Madison watering hole, beginning at 9 p.m. Monday.

“At 12:01 a.m., we’ll have petitions to hand out  — you can start circulating right away!” the notice read on United Wisconsin’s website.

Thus starts a 60-day window for the recall campaign to collect at least 540,206 signatures on a petition to recall Walker. The same minimum number of valid signatures will be needed to recall the lieutenant governor, but organizers have said they will need tens of thousands of more signatures to ensure the petitions' validity.

While much of the recall's attention has centered on Act 10, the Walker-led measure that limited collective bargaining for most public employees, Democrats say there is much more to the drive to oust the governor.

“The collective-bargaining piece in Act 10 may have been (the) opening cannon shot, but it’s not one thing,” said Jeff Johnson, chairman of the Marathon County Democratic Party.

He pointed to legislation that Democrats say loosens environmental laws and Walker’s “consolidation of power in the conversion of the civil service into political appointments,” among others.

Johnson said he his office would be open at 12:01 a.m. to begin the paperwork of recall, but he probably wouldn’t be joining in.

“Two months is a long time. I’m going to need all the sleep I can get,” he said.

Central Wisconsin promises to be a critical staging point in a political battle expected to extend beyond Walker.

Democrats said they will target state Sen. Pam Galloway, R-Wausau, among other key Republican senators for recall. Johnson said the Marathon County Democrats' marching orders from the state party office is to make Walker petition signatures Priority 1, Galloway No. 2, and Kleefisch No. 3.

Galloway’s office said the senator would have no comment on the matter Monday.

Her supporters did.

“We’re in Galloway Country here,” said Evan Nehring, public relations committee chairman for the Republican Party of Marathon County. “It’s amazing to witness every one of these (Republican) senators standing on (the) principle of what they believe is best for the state. They put their livelihoods on the line, and there has not been a sign of waffling or buckling.”

Also targeted by Democrats and pro-union groups like United Wisconsin and We Are Wisconsin are state Sens. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau; Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls; and Van Wanggaard, R-Racine.

It’s a matter of math. Democrats picked up two Senate seats during this past summer’s Senate recall elections, narrowing the Republican’s majority to 17-16. Any pickup in the Senate would give Dems the lead, and the ability to reverse GOP policy gains.

Going after senators also could signal an understanding of the political realities of incumbency.

“It’s hard to recall a governor,” David Siemers, chairman and professor of political science at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, told Wisconsin Reporter earlier this month. He said the recall campaign should have no problem getting the requisite signatures but asked, “What happens when they don’t win?”

Wanggaard told Wisconsin Reporter that he wouldn’t be truthful if he didn’t admit to feeling some concern about the reported recall campaign against him. He said he will stand on his record and with that, he said he’s pretty confident he’ll be in his post at least another three years.

As for his fellow Republicans, Wanggaard said the GOP enjoys a critical asset: unity of focus.

Nehring agreed.

“Our No. 1 defense is the message and the results that are coming out of the policies we put in place particularly (Act 10),” he said, pointing to Republican budget reforms on pace to turn a $3.6 billion budget shortfall into a surplus, and changes to collective bargaining that freed up money for school districts and local governments.

Opponents contend limiting collective bargaining hasn’t provided the kind of relief the Walker administration promised or now claims.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin sounded ready for the long fight ahead, pointing to last November’s success when the GOP posted sweeping victories.

“The Republican grassroots in Wisconsin proved to be among the best in the nation during the 2010 elections and will continue to stand with Gov. Walker and his common sense reforms,” party spokeswoman Nicole Larson said in a statement.

Larson said Republicans have established the Recall Integrity Center, a website that will provide “Wisconsin voters with a sense of security in the signature collection process, as well as a voice for any misconduct or questionable practices by the (Democratic) groups overseeing the process.”

Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, blasted the Republicans’ Recall Integrity Center, asserting it is tantamount to “leaving the foxes to guard the hen house.”

“This website represents (an) effort to intimidate petition circulators and signers and frighten them away from exercising their constitutional right to exercise the recall tool,” Tate said in a statement.

And so the recall campaign of Walker and others begins, just in time for the holidays. Perhaps “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men” — at least in Wisconsin — may have to wait until the smoke clears on this bitter political war.

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  • George Farr

    Have my donation sent in to support Walker yesterday / NRA is on the way

  • Tpartywarrior

    I will be supporting Gov. Walker today at his house in Tosa, 68th and Bluemound at 4:30.

    If these crybabies win this, no legislator will have the guts to stand up for us taxpayers again.

  • GARY A HEINITZ

    I HAVE ALWAYS SUPPORTED SCOTT WALKER, AND I STILL WILL. HE WAS ELECTED BY THE MAJORITY OF WISCONSIN. THIS RECALL IS B.S. THE STATE IS IN BETTER FISCAL SHAPE THAN IT WAS A YEAR AGO.

  • JungleCogs

    A recall funded heavily by out of state union money.

  • Gerald Jensen

    Walker is doing what we elected him to do … get the out of control spending under control.

    I am sick of this continuous election cycle, all because the Democrats are sore losers wanting a do-over. The next Democrat that tells me “This is what democracy looks like” isn’t going to like my response.

    Enough, already!

  • Ed Knops

    Tate and his other Wisconsin haters should be tarred and feathered and charged with treason not only for trying to destroy Wisconsin but our beloved United States of America. If they don’t like it here, then door is always Open for them to leave and go to some other country that has the same mentality and views they have but we in America worshiped freely, spoke freely, helped one another in times of need, etc. but there are so many deceiving organizations out there with names which sound patroitic but are the most radical groups of people with the most radical agendas. Remember the old saying “Beware of the wolf in sheeps clothing” and this is very appropriate quote to remember. Remember, it was the Doyle Administration that got our state of Wisconsin into the finamical situation and Gov. Walker got stuck with this mess and is doing his best to make us finanically stable again. These lefties don’t give a d*** about Wisconsin all they care about is continuing in Doyles footsteps and once again rob the state and its citizens. God Bless America and our beautiful state of Wisconsin.

  • Wm Brouse

    I am walking the walk with Walker all the way. Question – where is the rank and file of the various

    unions? They know better than anyone what goes on within the power structure of the unions. The

    rank and file ought to revolt against their so called leaders and their “friends” from Chicago and elsewhere.

    They might also remember that expression: “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!”

  • Mike Miles

    Recall the unions. They have cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin too much already. I’m tired of the B.S. If you can’t make it as a union public employee, with the wages and paying more for your pension….then get different job, nobody forced you to be a public employee. Maybe get a job as a union tycoon.

  • em

    Scott Walker and family have my full support!!! Once again I’ll do everything I can to make sure Governor Walker stays in office. I wish these liberals would stop wasting WI taxpayer monies….they are such idiots plus so many of them are OLD pot-smoking hippies from the 60′s. Do teachers come to mind? NOTE: see Prius with Recall Walker stickers pasted all over! Obviously they never grew up nor do they respect our Republic!

  • Terry

    I will support Walker! We’ve got to win this one. The future of our state weighs in the balance!

  • Marine7076

    I’ll stand behind Governor Walker and his policies to date. Our State is in much better shape now than it has been in a long time. I find it amazing that these winers don’t have enough confidence in themselves, or their ability to do their jobs, to invest in themselves, but it is okay for every one else to provide and pay for their lavish benefits. What lunicy and greed and right down disrespect for the Wisconsin Tax Payer. They could care less as long as they live high off the hog and they seem to be to stupid to see that the unions could care less about them, yet they keep paying their forced dues. They are not smart enough to have to think for themselves, as they have to pay someone to do their thinking for them. Quite sad and does not say much for them.

  • Dick Dastardly

    I’ll be backing Governor Walker, both in deed and donations. He has done, and is doing, what we elected him to do.

    DD