Wis. Dems To Launch New Round Of State Senate Recalls

Wisconsin Democrats just recently announced their official campaign to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, following their near-miss earlier this year to recall their way to a majority in the state Senate. But that’s not all: The recall-Walker campaign will also include another bite at recalls for the state Senate.

Under Wisconsin’s recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their current term before being recalled — thus exempting earlier this year the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010. With half of the state Senate up for election every two years, this meant that only those senators who were last elected in 2008 could be targeted for recalls during this past year (and also that the attempt to recall Walker would have to wait). But now, headed into 2012, that ceiling has been lifted.

“There is an opportunity here, given the large-scale effort under way, to target some of the senators who stood by Walker,” state Dem spokesman Graeme Zielinski told the Wisconsin State Journal. “You will know in time who we’re targeting.”

On the other side, Republicans are in turn eyeing recall counter-efforts against Dems. “At this point, no decisions have been made, but all options are on the table. We will wait and see what the Democrats decide to do, and then weigh our options and move forward,” said Dan Romportl, executive director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate.Wisconsin Democrats earlier this year, faced with a 19-14 Republican majority in the state Senate after the 2010 Republican wave, mounted a campaign against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation by trying to recall 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.

Both parties waged signature campaigns in all 16 eligible districts, targeting eight Republicans and eight Democrats, with the final result being that six Republicans and three Democrats had recalls triggered against them.