Before this week, petitions were already filed to hold a recall election for two of the eight Republican senators. Senator Dan Kapanke was the first senator whose district gathered enough signatures to trigger a recall, and Senator Randy Hopper was the second. With the announcements from Monday and the filings Tuesday from the recall campaigns for Senators Luther Olsen and Sheila Harsdorf, half of the Republican 8 senators will face a recall election. Now, five of the Republican 8 senators will face a recall election, and that means there's a good chance the Democrats can retake the majority of the Senate. However, that does depend upon the success of any recall attempts by the Republicans.
The Republican 8 are being recalled for outright lying to Wisconsin and voting to strip collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin workers. Two senators facing a recall election with just over half the allotted time to get signatures was quite amazing. Now, just two weeks since filing a petition for Randy Hopper's recall, it's unbelievable that three more senators have been added to the list. It shows just how strongly Wisconsin feels about workers' rights.
The effort to collect enough signatures for Senator Robert Cowles is thought to be not far behind, though it's difficult to tell as I've been saying this for a while now.
In the same time, the Koch brothers and Republicans have been trying to recall eight Democrats. According to the AP article, three of the efforts have resulted in enough signatures to file petitions with the Government Accountability Board. However, as I spotted earlier, the Wisconsin Democrats are calling into question the means for which the signatures were collected. Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Mike Tate said that he guarantees "there will be fraudulent signatures turned in." There's also this article from Slate. From a TPM article,
"On a conference call with reporters on Thursday morning, state Dem chair Mike Tate and attorney Jeremy Levinson predicted that they would able to successfully challenge the validity of much of the signature-gathering effort by Republicans -- which Tate repeatedly called a "racket."On the other hand, as Tate stated, signatures to recall the Republican 8 were almost entirely collected by volunteers with paid organizers there to oversee. The magnitude of Wisconsinites who support democracy and workers' rights is becoming very clear. Keep up the good fight!
[Tate said,] "In the coming days, you will see affidavits from citizens in these targeted districts who were deceived into signing petitions by the Republican roadies who often refused to identify themselves by their real names."
"In addition, Tate said that the Dems had stories on hand of people being misled into signing: "We've had people lying saying this is in support of [Democratic state Sen.] Dave Hansen, not to recall Dave Hansen. There are going to be examples of these mercenaries who are paid to collect as many signatures as possible, not valid signatures."
"Also, Levinson said that Democrats would not even necessarily have to scrutinize all the individual signatures, looking for ones to disqualify. "We know as fact that they have had people circulating signatures who are legally prohibited from doing so. Those signatures should all be tossed," said Levinson, also adding: "To circulate a petition, you either need to be a qualified elector [voter] in wisconsin or eligible to be a qualified elector in Wisconsin."
"In particular, Tate said that the Republicans brought in paid signature gatherers from out of state, who were paid on a per-signature basis, and that some of these gatherers had criminal records."
The remaining efforts to get signatures for the Republican 8 are for:
- Senator Robert Cowles - Senate District 2
- Senator Glenn Grothman - Senate District 20
- Senator Mary Lazich - Senate Disctict 28
Even though the recall campaigns have been going extraordinarily well, these remaining efforts need all the help they can get because the deadline to collect signatures is quickly approaching - May 2nd.
I should mention that Republican Senator Dan Kapanke also believes he has a case against his recall, because he feels sufficient paper work wasn't filed. I'm not sure how much legal weight there is behind his argument. He filed a challenge on April, 15th and the organizers filed a rebuttal Tuesday saying the claims were "insubstantial potshots." The deadline for Kapanke to respond is today, but I can't find any news regarding his response. So it's likely he's given up.