Wisconsin Democrats are gearing up for their petition drive to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, in the wake of his anti-public employee union legislation, with a series of public rallies and closed volunteer-training sessions.
The opening rally will be in Madison, on Tuesday.
The Madison event will feature some high-profile special guests: Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who ran for governor in the Democratic primary in 2002, and was the narrowly unsuccessful Dem nominee for attorney general in 2006; state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who was one of the 14 Dems to flee the state and temporarily block passage of Walker’s legislation; former Congressman Dave Obey, who is a potential gubernatorial candidate in a recall, and the current Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. Plus, it will be emceed by local talk radio personality John “Sly” Sylvester.This will be followed by events in other cities: Stevens Point on October 26, Eau Claire on October 27, Appleton on November 3, and Milwaukee on November 3.
These places are all major media markets in the state, and are represented by Democrats in the state Senate. Thus, they are places where the Dems would be able to churn out greater numbers of petitions, as the Dems pursue the lofty goal of collecting 540,206 signatures over 60 days — more than 9,000 a day, statewide — plus some significant buffer against signatures being disqualified. The Dems have previously announced that the petition drive will begin November 15.
The state has achieved national fame (or infamy) this year for Walker’s legislation stripping public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights, the waves of protests that filled the state Capitol and other locations, and the tens of millions of dollars that were spent on this past summer’s recall campaigns.
Wisconsin Democrats, faced with a 19-14 Republican majority in the state Senate, attempted to mount a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, by recalling their way to a majority. However, they were also hampered by the fact that the only recall-eligible districts were ones where the incumbent had won their terms in 2008, even during that year’s Democratic wave.
In the end, Democrats were only able to pick up two seats, for a narrow 17-16 Republican majority. Out of the recall campaigns that were waged by both parties, four incumbent Republicans and three Democrats retained their seats, while two Republicans lost to Democratic challengers. However, the Dems still kept the door wide open to trying to recall Walker, and polling data has shown the state closely divided on Walker’s approval and whether to recall him.