Another recall effort by Wisconsin Democrats, targeting Republican state senators in reaction to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, is coming to a head on Monday, with signatures to be filed against GOP state Sen. Luther Olsen – the third such petition to reach that stage. And in theory, this development could now put majority control of the chamber officially in play.
As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, rural Wautoma substitute teacher Ann Schmidt will file 23,000 signatures, far more than the 14,700 minimum needed, though in practice signature efforts often collect an additional buffer against signatures that could be challenged and disqualified for errors.Olsen has a clear vulnerable spot, having previously called Walker’s plan “pretty radical” — and later voting for it, for which he has already been targeted in a Democratic TV ad.
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. They’re collecting signatures in all eight Republican-held districts that are eligible. (Under Wisconsin’s recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their term before recalled — thus exempting the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010.) In order to initiate a recall, signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election, within the targeted district, must be collected in a 60-day window.
Republicans are also targeting Democrats for recall, and have claimed strong results in some districts, but have yet to file any petitions.