Wis. Dems To File First Recall Petitions Against GOP State Sen. Dan Kapanke

April 1, 2011 6:11 a.m.

Wisconsin Democrats now say they have more than enough signatures to launch a recall of Republican state Sen. Dan Kapanke, in the battle over Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) new law curtailing public employee unions. They are filing the petitions today — less than halfway through the 60-day window for gathering the signatures.

The La Crosse Tribune reports:

Recall organizer Pat Scheller said volunteers have gathered more than the 15,588 signatures needed and that they plan to take them to Madison after a noon rally today at La Crosse City Hall.

It is expected to be the first completed of 19 active recall efforts registered between Feb. 24 and March 2 against 16 senators.

The senate chamber 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.Shortly before the bill passed in the legislature, Kapanke had said that he expected a recall to happen, though he stood by his position on the issues: “I’m willing to stand up and take that vote.”

More recently, he discussed how he has taken solace in religion, declaring to a Republican crowd that “I’m not ashamed to tell you I’ve read the Bible more than I ever have,” and that Walker also focuses on religion: “How can you go wrong following a leader that obviously gets his mission on this earth?”

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s district rankings have demonstrated, Kapanke represents the bluest state Senate district in Wisconsin of any Republican state senator: Obama carried it by over 23 points in 2008, and in the 2010 Republican wave Scott Walker won it by a margin of less than one point.

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