Wis. Dems Could Have Enough Recall Signatures Against Another GOPer

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The recall drives in Wisconsin, where Democrats are seeking to throw Republican state Senators out in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, are picking up further steam — with local Dems saying they might already have enough signatures to recall GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports:

Organizers of a campaign to oust Republican Senator Randy Hopper believe they may have enough signatures to force a recall election.

Organizers are in the process of verifying that the signatures came from eligible voters before filing the petition with the state, said Fond du Lac Democratic Party Chairman Rich Mantz. He would not say how soon organizers would be ready to file the recall petition.

“We have not confirmed we have enough signatures. We still are doing all our double-checking,” Mantz said.

In addition to the new anti-public employee union law, Hopper faces other obstacles related to his ongoing divorce, and public accusations by his estranged wife that Hopper had committed adultery. A survey released in mid-March by Daily Kos, conducted by Public Policy Polling (D), showed Hopper trailing a generic Democrat by a margin of 49%-44%.

Also on the recall front, Democrats announced last week that they were filing enough petitions to trigger a recall against state Sen. Dan Kapanke (R), who represents the bluest district currently held by a Republican. The Daily Kos poll from mid-March had Kapanke trailing a generic Democrat by 55%-41%.

As Greg Sargent reported Monday, Democrats have now put a number on the signatures they collected against Kapanke: Saying that they filed 22,561 — well above the 15,588 minimum, and constituting 145% of the quota. As a rule, Dems are seeking well more than the minimum necessary signatures, in order to have a buffer against signatures that could be disqualified.

The state Senate currently has a 19-14 Republican majority, with Democrats hoping to pick up three seats in recall elections and win a majority. Wisconsin state senators serve four-year terms, with half of them up every two years. Wisconsin’s recall law contains a condition that any effort cannot begin until at least one year into a term — meaning that only 16 members, eight Democrats and eight Republicans, could currently be recalled.

In order to initiate a recall, petitioners must gather signatures equal to 25 percent of the total votes within that district in the previous gubernatorial election. This must take place within a 60-day window, but in these two cases the collection has not taken nearly as long — as the state elections site shows, the recall Kapanke committee and recall Hopper committee signatures are not due until May 2.

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