Progressives Target GOP State Senators In WI With Recall Threat

March 1, 2011 3:30 a.m.

A pair of national progressive groups are firing the first shots in what could become a full-scale recall campaign against Republican state Senators in Wisconsin, TPM has learned.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America are launching a robocall campaign to test the waters for the immediate recall of several state Senators as well as Senate President Michael Ellis and moderate Senator Dale Schultz, who voters would be able to recall in a year under Wisconsin law.

The robocall, voiced by a New London, WI teacher, will be dispatched to 50,000 constituents of Republican Sens. Luther Olsen (District 14), Robert Cowles (2), Dan Kapanke (32), Schultz and Ellis.

The calls gauge voter interest in recalling their Senator.PCCC and DFA say they can mobilize 40,000 local activists to kickstart a recall effort should voters be ready for one.

“We will not be bullied by Gov. [Scott] Walker’s unfair attempt to attack workers and take away our rights,” Ron Biendseil, one of DFA’s Wisconsin members, said in a statement. “And if the Republicans go along with Walker, they will be looking for new jobs sooner than they think.”

The progressive recall threat is just the latest salvo in a war of words in Wisconsin since Walker announced his intention to strip thousands of unionized state workers of their collective bargaining rights. While the situation has devolved into something of a cold war — with 14 Democratic state Senators preventing Walker’s plan from moving forward by parking themselves in Illinois — politically it has continued to heat up.

Often threatened in recent weeks, recalls in Wisconsin are possible for any elected official a year into his or her service. Republicans have threatened to recall eight of the AWOL Democratic Senators, and Democrats have floated the idea of recalling Walker himself next year.

Recalling Sen. Dale Schultz could pit progressives against a potential ally (of sorts). The moderate former state Senate Republican leader has not publicly signed on to Walker’s bill and has floated a plan to end the impasse and keep collective bargaining rights alive.

PCCC and DFA have not pushed the button on a recall effort yet.

Check out an example of the calls DFA and PCCC will be sending across Wisconsin starting Tuesday:

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: