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Topic: [ncsm-members] WI: 1 million signatures for recall
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,815
Registered: 12/3/04
[ncsm-members] WI: 1 million signatures for recall
Posted: Jan 23, 2012 9:02 PM
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From POLITICO, Tuesday, January 17, 2012. See
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=3A786946-B580-4BAA-A3C7-D9482ADE557F
**************************
Wis. Dems tout 1M recall signatures

By: M J Lee

Organizers behind the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker collected
1 million signatures to be submitted to the state's Government
Accountability Board on Tuesday, dwarfing the required number of
names and virtually ensuring that a recall election will take place
later this year.

A total of 540,208 valid signatures, or 25 percent of all of the
votes cast in the election that put Walker in office last January,
were needed to force a recall election, but organizers had aimed for
hundreds of thousands more than the minimum requirement to ensure
they met the threshold even if some signatures are disqualified.

The success of labor and liberal activists in forcing a recall
election guarantees that Wisconsin will have an election-year reprise
of its national star turn from last year -as ground zero in a
climactic conflict between conservative activists and public-employee
unions. Given the timing of the special election, and the fact that
Wisconsin is a critical Midwestern electoral battleground, the
contest is sure to seep into the presidential election between
President Barack Obama and the Republican presidential nominee.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party was quick to dub the recall effort -
which also targeted Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and a handful of
Republican state legislators - the "biggest" in American history and
boasted that organizers had gathered a whopping 460,000 extra
signatures for the recall of Walker, who infuriated many in his state
last year by pushing through a law that ended most collective
bargaining rights for many public workers.

"An incredible number of Wisconsinites have stood up to be counted
and say, 'We can't wait for the next election. We absolutely must get
Scott Walker out of office right now,'" Wisconsin Democratic Party
Chairman Mike Tate told POLITICO.

Meagan Mahaffey, executive director of United Wisconsin- the group
behind the recall efforts - said Tuesday's results sent a "crystal
clear message to Scott Walker that voters are done with his extreme
policies and his destruction that he's doing to our state."

Mahaffey insisted that the movement did not simply represent a battle
between Walker and organized labor. "This is a message to people of
all backgrounds and all different types of people that have worked so
hard on this recall. The best outcome for all of us is the same:
Recall Scott Walker," she said.

Kelly Steele, a strategist for We Are Wisconsin, the group that led
Wisconsin's Senate recalls, also hailed Tuesday's news as a victory
for all Wisconsinites.

"Scott Walker lied his way into office, and has since launched
unprecedented attacks on Wisconsin's working families, dividing the
state like never before," Steele said in an email. "This historic
recall is a million-strong victory for Wisconsinites united to take
their government back from wealthy special interests who bought and
paid for Scott Walker and are dictating the terms of his extreme
agenda."

The Republican Governors Association quickly came to Walker's defense
on Tuesday, announcing the launch of www.StandWithScott.com - a
website dedicated to promoting the governor's policies and
accomplishments.

"Gov. Walker tackled Wisconsin's challenges head on, and his plan to
turn around Wisconsin is working," RGA Chairman Bob McDonnell said.
"Thanks to Gov. Walker's leadership, the future prospects of
Wisconsin's taxpayers, families and job-creating business owners are
brighter than ever."

Newt Gingrich was the first GOP presidential candidate to express
public support for Walker Tuesday. "Newt proudly campaigned for Gov.
Walker when he was running for office and he would proudly do it
again. He is one of the best things going for the Republican Party,"
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

"Recall should be used only for politicians who have been guilty or
crime or fraud, not those who take on powerful special interests.
Scott Walker showed bold leadership. If international union bosses
want to beat Gov. Walker, they should try to do so through the proper
election process. This recall would set a dangerous precedent," said
Ron Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton.
Successful recall efforts are a rarity in modern politics. But the
idea that they could be used as an effective weapon against political
opponents received a historic boost in 2003, when California Gov.
Gray Davis was ousted less than a year after his reelection in a
recall bid led by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Walker, 44, began his confrontation with public employee unions
within weeks of taking office a year ago. He submitted an austerity
budget for Wisconsin that included provisions to revoke the
collective bargaining rights of most state workers on most contract
provisions beyond wages, and took other steps to weaken the power of
the unions.

Conservatives around the country cheered what they saw as a
courageous step. But Walker's move led to massive protests in Madison
and around the country, and a showdown with Democrats in the state
legislature that saw Democratic state senators leave the state in an
effort to prevent a quorum for Walker's measure to pass. The bill
eventually was enacted after a series of court challenges ended in
Walker's favor.

Walker had long expected the recall effort to net enough signatures
to force a vote. "From our viewpoint, this election - come April or
May - will not be about a rehash of last February and March. Voters
in this state, and not just because I'm going to say it, are
overwhelmingly ready to move on. They want to move forward. So our
argument - real simple - will be: Do you want to move forward or
backward?" Walker told POLITICO in December.

A loophole in state law allows Walker to do unlimited fundraising
until a recall date is set, and Walker's been aggressively
stockpiling funds for the coming onslaught.

As for his potential Democratic challenger, the governor predicted
that the candidate will be "hand-picked" by the unions, declaring
that his yet-to-be-named "opponent" is not a single person, but "big
union bosses."

Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International
Union, said Tuesday that Walker was getting what he deserved for
using his power for "political payback" against the unions.

"This is a governor who many believe abused his power and tried to
stifle his opposition," said Stern. "Under the guise of balancing the
budget, he politically paid back, very negatively, unions and other
allies."

But even as they were gearing up to celebrate a historic victory this
week, Wisconsin Democrats still have not answered one important
question: Who will they back to defeat Walker?

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has downplayed the issue, saying it
would be counterproductive to discuss names before a recall election
was even secured, guaranteeing that the question will loom even
larger after Tuesday for a party that has so far given no indication
that they are fired up and ready to unify behind any one individual.

"There are a couple of good Democrats that I know are taking a look
at this race, and this is indicative of how weak Scott Walker is that
we may have more than one strong candidate," said Tate. "This is
tremendously significant - it's something that's never happened
before in Wisconsin history. It is a very high bar to hold a recall
election."

Whether the challenger ends up being former Dane County Executive
Kathleen Falk or state Sen. Tim Cullen, Tate noted that he expects
the winner of the Democratic primary to beat Walker and become "a
phenomenal governor."

A new poll released Tuesday indicated that both Falk and Cullen would
be a weak match against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic
nominee who lost to Walker in the 2010 gubernatorial race.

Barrett received 26 percent support in a hypothetical four-way
contest for the Democratic nomination, compared with 22 percent for
Falk, 21 percent for former Rep. David Obey and 11 percent for
Cullen, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted on Jan.
16 of 522 likely Democratic voters.

Barrett congratulated the people of Wisconsin in a statement Tuesday,
declaring that it was "time for a new direction" for his state.

"I stand with the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Wisconsin
citizens who have had enough of Walker's cynical politics that try to
divide the people of our state," said Barrett. "It's time for a new
direction that will heal our fractured state and move Wisconsin
forward again."

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board stipulates that public
officials in Wisconsin are only eligible for a recall after he or she
has served at least one year in their current term.

The GAB had initially planned a 60-day review process to verify the
validity of the names submitted on Tuesday, but recently requested
more time to comply with more stringent rules that were recently put
in place. State officials are predicting that with the current state
of affairs, a recall election consisting of a primary and general
race, won't take place until at least June.
-------------------------------------
Ginger Gibson, Maggie Haberman and James Hohmann contributed to this report.
***************************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu



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