Democrats Hit Walker With Over 1 Million Recall Signatures

Democrats file more than 1 million signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker, but no candidate or election date have been announced.

After two months of flexing their volunteers' political muscles on the streets, Wisconsin Democrats delivered a powerful first punch in the recall rumble against Gov. Scott Walker today when they filed more than 1 million signatures to recall the first-term Republican governor.

Hundreds of recall supporters cheered in the street when Julie Wells, a coordinator of the recall effort in rural Jefferson County, threw up the cargo door of a U-Haul truck containing boxes of the signatures and congratulated the crowd for their two months of work gathering signatures all across the state.

“Despite the millions of dollars Walker has raised and spent, we have overcome…We have proven that democracy is alive and kicking in the state of Wisconsin,” Wells said.

The boxes were ceremoniously delivered box by box into the state's Government Accountability Board, which will verify the accuracy of the signatures before ordering a recall election against Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four other Republican senators that were targeted in the effort. A total of 1.9 million signatures were filed against Republican legislators today, with 845,000 of those collected for Kleefisch.

The success of the recall effort is an indication of "how strong the appetite is to stop the damage and turmoil that Gov. Walker has caused in Wisconsin," said Ryan Lawler, the vice chairman of United Wisconsin, the group that led the recall effort.

“What we have accomplished is incredible," Lawler said. "This is one of the greatest exercises of democracy in American history.”

The recall coordinators only needed to collect 540,208 signatures to force the recall election. For the recall election to be denied, one of every three signatures would need to be invalid.

The number of signatures collected represents more than 46 percent of the voters that voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election – a number that tops the participation level of the only two other statewide recall efforts in the country's history. This is the first-ever statewide recall election in Wisconsin.

Many of the coordinators of the Walker recall effort said they were surprised to see a total of more than 1 million signatures collected, despite the success they were seeing locally.

"We've known all along that we are making history, but we didn't know how much this history means," said Sue Gootson, a volunteer coordinator in conservative Walworth County. "The country and the world are watching what we are doing today."

"It was an amazing coming together of people, many whom have never been involved in politics before," added Richard Schwalb, a coordinator in Milwaukee County.

No candidate yet

Although no Democratic candidates have formally announced their intentions to run, there is a long list of names being floated around in the media.

A new poll shows Walker's rival in the 2010 gubernatorial election, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, is leading in the polls. But at least one expert says the election will be decided based on Walker's popularity – not the candidate that runs against him.

"It doesn't really matter who you put up against Walker, because voters pretty much made up their mind a year ago," said Dennis Dresang, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin's La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate said a primary seems likely, and he thinks it could be a positive thing for the party.

"You'll have candidates traveling across the state for six or plus weeks...I think it will be a positive campaign focused on Scott Walker's failures," he said.

Road to recall

Under state statute, the state's Government Accountability Board has 31 days to verify the signatures and order the recall election to be held six weeks later. Kevin Kennedy, the Director of the state's Government Accountability Board, already said he plans to file for an extension in court to give his staff more time to verify the 1.9 million signatures. He said he does not yet know how long of an extension he will request. 

Kennedy said his staff will flag any obviously fictitious names for further inspection. The names will be inspected for duplication and published on the agency's website when they have been scanned. Walker will also have the opportunity to challenge the signatures.

Tate said the Democrats have made an effort to flag invalid signatures to the best of their ability, but he said he expects some invalid signatures will be found in the process. Just over 9 percent of the signatures submitted in last year's recall election against Republican state senators were invalidated, and he said he has no reason to believe that percentage would be higher in this recall election.

"We very clearly believe there is no challenge both legal or otherwise that will prevent things from going forward,” Tate said. “Scott Walker is going to be recalled. It’s just a matter of how long the Walker campaign and the Government Accountability Board want to drag out an election.”

Jeremy Levinson, an attorney representing the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in the recall effort, said the recall election should be triggered as soon as the number of signatures have been counted.

“The process is designed to decide whether the citizens of Wisconsin have gotten enough signatures to properly exercise their right to recall, and once that is determined, any further delay is a violation of the rights of those that signed the Walker petition and any of the other petitions,” Levinson said.

Republicans respond

In a statement, Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney called the recall effort "baseless" and "shameful," saying it will saddle Wisconsin taxpayers with more than $9 million in unbudgeted costs.

"Regardless of what the radical left may believe, Wisconsin families will continue to stand with Governor Walker, who has balanced a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, and created thousands of new jobs,” he said.

Walker was fundraising in New York today, but in a statement, he said he expects to overcome the recall.

“Instead of going back to the days of billion dollar budget deficits, double digit tax increases and record job loss, I expect Wisconsin voters will stand with me and keep moving Wisconsin forward,” he said.

Craig January 21, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Lesbe friends? Homo you don't. :-p
Drive To 24 January 21, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Aw Craig- you're so sensitive. I like you.
skinnyDUDE January 21, 2012 at 06:41 PM
WEAC INSURANCE .......MANY DISTRICTS LEFT AFTER WALKER REFORMS WERE IMPLEMENTED.......AND SAVE THE STATE CHOOL DISTRICTS MILLIONS. So clearly they were a Bad deal . But the contracts bargained that they be the insurer. It was obviously a union shell game .WE ALL KNOW IT .
skinnyDUDE January 21, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Drive To 24 January 21, 2012 at 07:52 PM
School boards had the right to collective bargain benefits and carriers. The Trust only provides health insurance benefits to approximately 35% of public school employees in Wisconsin. Some of the largest school districts in Wisconsin such as Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay are self-insured or purchase from companies other than the Trust.  Wisconsin’s health insurance industry is highly competitive and districts already solicit bids. The Trust wins and loses districts all the time. A recent example of this is the Kenosha Unified School District, which left the Trust and has returned, much due to our competitive pricing. For example: o Trust rate increases have been BELOW national averages for the past three years. For the fourth year in a row the Trust has delivered a mid single-digit base rate increase
Drive To 24 January 21, 2012 at 07:53 PM
The WEA Trust was chosen by the Wisconsin Group Insurance Board in 2010 to be in the State Group Health Insurance Program in 24 counties.  Further, the Trust was selected as a Tier One option, the lowest cost tier in the state plan. In order to be placed in Tier One, the Trust must be extremely competitive. Our pricing is not an artificial price but comparable to what the Trust charges school districts.
Drive To 24 January 21, 2012 at 08:01 PM
The Republican Party of Wisconsin recently published an article by Katie McCallum entitled, “School Districts Escape the Grasp of WEAC with the Help of Collective Bargaining Reforms.” The article claims, “School districts around Wisconsin are realizing serious cost savings now that they may search for health insurance providers outside the WEA Trust.” However, the article made several erroneous claims and omitted key information.The most glaring of these is that the article claims the School District of Marshfield will save approximately $850,000 by leaving the WEA Trust, when in fact Marshfield expects to see that savings because they recently decided to choose the WEA Trust over other insurance carriers. According to the Appleton Post Crescent article from June 30, 2011, Marshfield expects to save $850,000 by switching to the WEA Trust. Ms. MacCallum’s error in the article directly contradicts their claim that schools are saving money by leaving the WEA Trust. “The School District of Marshfield chose the WEA Trust’s group health insurance coverage because of the Trust’s competitive pricing, business model, and our unparalleled products and services,” said Kathryne McGowan, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development.Furthermore, the article made no mention of Kenosha Unified School District, which recently chose the WEA Trust as their group health insurance provider. Kenosha expects to save approximately $3 million by choosing The WEA Trust. DUDE
Drive To 24 January 21, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Strange that Belling has shut his mouth after WEA TRUST threatened to sue his sorry .....
Drive To 24 January 21, 2012 at 08:13 PM
But what’s disconcerting about this is the assumption by “conservatives” that insurance companies such as ours could have reduced rates all along if only we had more competition. The reality is that we have always been in a highly competitive market in school district health insurance — losing customers and gaining them every year.As a not-for-profit, we return 93 cents out of every dollar in health care services - compared to less than 80 cents from some of our competitors. We invest in service to our members, annually ranking among the top three in the nation.We were formed by the state’s largest teachers union in cooperation with school districts 40 years ago to help small districts “pool” to obtain better insurance at more reasonable prices — just as small business groups are trying to do today.We’re competitive because we’re good at what we do. We’re successful around the state because of our market principles. Our first loyalty has always been to the school districts and members we serve, not investors or Wall Street. Because of our reputation and competitiveness, school districts from La Crosse to Kenosha and Marinette to Turtle Lake have renewed with WEA Trust. Others have joined for the first time — most recently the Marshfield School District.
Drive To 24 January 21, 2012 at 08:17 PM
DUDE: She claims that WEA Trust had a monopoly. That is also not true. In most of the contracts with which I am familiar, school boards are able to change the insurance carriers if they can find equal or better coverage at a lower cost from another carrier. In spite of many attempts to find such equivalent coverage, school districts seldom do. What Mrs. Schroeder has not done is explain why WEA Trust was able to underbid private insurance companies while it provided a superior product. The competition for WEA Trust came from privately owned companies whose goal is to make the highest profit possible. Private health insurance companies make profits by keeping their costs below their income. Private health insurance companies lose money when they pay our medical claims...and that lowers their profits.Because WEA Trust is not a privately owned company, making a profit is not their primary goal. WEA Trust was established by the school workers of Wisconsin to provide quality health care, not to make money. The school workers, the school workers' unions, and the employees of the union did not profit from WEA Trust, and I challenge Ms. Schroeder to produce proof of that unsubstantiated claim. Because WEA Trust has such low administrative costs, the people of those Wisconsin districts which carried WEA Trust for their workers got the full value of the premiums that they paid; the funds were spent to provide health care, not on the profits of the insurance company. HAD ENOUGH DUDE?
Joe January 22, 2012 at 04:11 AM
CLARK KENT? - uh maybe a primary as vetting process?
Joe January 22, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Craig- i think McBride has a crush on you.
Joe January 22, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Sllence Craig? What's a matter- getting used to the Newt?
Zelda January 22, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Funny comment, Joe. The Republican presidential clown show keeps getting better and better. Thank you South Carolina! It's too bad Stephen Colbert/Herman Cain didn't win. That is the best you have people? The choices are (drum roll please) a wish washy Mormon who the evangelicals will never accept and a tax problem the independents loath, a northerner who would bring women's reproduction rights to the dark ages (bye-bye birth control pill) and a Newt who the Republicans waxed with a $300,000 ethics fine and threw him out of Congress let alone the tiffany and womanizer reputation.
Zelda January 22, 2012 at 04:37 PM
In the meantime, we're getting good economic news with unemployment figures dropping, better housing starts, auto companies doing fantastic and retail numbers increasing and a strong president who took Osama Bin Laden out. Then we have the radical governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana who draw crowds wherever they go, crowds of dissent. Speaking of Mitch Daniels - they chose him to rebut the State of the Union? Really? He was Bush's budget director who claimed that the Iraq war would cost $318 million, created a budget (as Republican Joe Scarborough said this morning on Meet the Press) that turned a surplus from the Clinton era into a deficit and the "lunch bag" Republicans viscerate him for breaking collective bargaining. Now I'm watching TV and the reporter asks Amy Koch (who was caught screwing her staffer) "What was the hardest part." OMG. It can't get any better than this.
Zelda January 22, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Actually, it can get better...as soon as Scooter is recalled out of office as well as Kleefisch and three more senators. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
It's great to see ole scumbag scotty squirming in his seat! The sad thing is he will have to explain to his kids that he was a failure as Governor, what a shame!
AWD I sense your anger from the realization that your boyfriend Scotty is on his way out. It is also apparent that you suffer from salary envy of the public employees package. Although I am not a public sector employee, actually a business owner (two hotels and a quick store), like Warren Buffet I feel if the workers are violated so too will be the business owners in the long run. AWD you don't have to toil at min wage job small business loans are available however you must have will and desire to win. Anyway, like the old song goes nah nah nah nah hey hey hey goodbye, enjoy your retirement Scotty! lol!
obtw March 29, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Read the headline of the article. Today the GAB certified that Mike Tate is a liar.
morninmist March 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM
@obtw The TEAGOP is a FRAUD for mouthing off for months about fake names. Only 5 fake names found! http://www.news8000.com/news/Few-fake-names-among-30-115-Walker-recall-signatures-struck-by-GAB/-/326/9760234/-/127rr4jz/-/index.html
obtw March 30, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Please re-read the headline. Were "over 1,000,000" signatures" submitted? It's either yes or no. Did Mike Tate lie?
morninmist March 30, 2012 at 01:03 AM
GRAND day obtw!! The recall election for Walker is a go-officially!! http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/29/1078952/-Wisconsin-GAB-certifies-900k-valid-signatures-to-recall-Walker#c72
James R Hoffa March 30, 2012 at 01:09 AM
@morninmist - Even if true, which 'Verify The Recall' would gladly debate the issue with you, it doesn't excuse your side's inability to accurately and effectively count, does it? No wonder your side can't effectively manage a budget without running huge deficits, illegally raiding segregated funds, and going into debt - you can't even count to 1M without screwing it up by over 100k! Close enough isn't good enough for the people of Wisconsin - that's why we Stand With Walker! Try again!
morninmist March 30, 2012 at 01:40 AM
@Hoffa et al Your numbers game is old. Let's play a new game. http://rootriversiren.blogspot.com/2012/03/dress-me-up-scotty.html Dress Me Up Scotty
James R Hoffa March 30, 2012 at 03:54 AM
@morninmist - Cute - but let's get one thing clear, shall we? It's your side's numbers game, not mine. In fact, this board is all about how your boy Tate went screaming to the media about over 1M signatures being submitted to the GAB. Apparently, Tate really needs to take some remedial elementary math, and everyone on your side that drunk and perpetuated this kool-aide for months (including yourself) needs some remedial lessons in humility! Next time, back a horse that at least knows how to count - you'll have more credibility!
morninmist March 30, 2012 at 10:38 AM
@James R Hoffa 10:54 pm on Thursday, March 29, 2012 As the article says--"the counting is done". You only have your boring yipping left. Onto the recall election. And a reminder that the WI TeaGOP has shot themselves in the foot! "@DontWalkeronME: Wisconsin's War on Women won't help Gov Walker (R-Tool) fight the recall efforts http://freakoutnation.com/2012/03/28/wisconsins-war-on-women-wont-help-gov-walker-r-tool-fight-the-recall-efforts/ #wirecall" http://freakoutnation.com/2012/03/28/wisconsins-war-on-women-wont-help-gov-walker-r-tool-fight-the-recall-efforts/ http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/145107795.html GAB set to declare recall elections against Walker, Kleefisch, 3 GOP senators CREATED 5:00 AM .....The counting is done, and recall supporters turned in more than 900,000 valid signatures against Walker and more than 800,000 against Kleefisch. Enough valid signatures were already counted to bring about recalls against Senators Scott Fitzgerald, Pam Galloway (who has since decided to vacate her office), Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard. The GAB plans to certify the elections in just a few hours. .........."The message is that Scott Walker abused his power. He wasn't honest with the people."....
morninmist March 30, 2012 at 11:08 AM
BTW @Hoffa and obtw and other TeaGOPer's --You need to keep track of your own (in)credibility before you go yipping like a broken record. This tweet is just one reminder! Spud Lovr ‏ @SpudLovr RT @ejkirkstein As #wiright crybabies desperately attack #wirecall, don't let them forget this: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/letter-encourages-wis-voters-to-sign-recall-petitions-adolf-hitler/ #wiunion #recallwalker http://www.theblaze.com/stories/letter-encourages-wis-voters-to-sign-recall-petitions-adolf-hitler/ Letter Encourages Wisconsin Voters to Sign Recall Petitions ‘Adolf Hitler’ Posted on December 22, 2011 at 6:21pm by.......
morninmist March 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM
And a special tweet to all on this grand day --The GAB will make the recalls official. Renee ‏ @PurrpleCatMama Good Morning Peaceful Warriors on this Finally Friday, Day 412 of the People's Movement!
Wlaker is trash, he's yesterdays garbage and might as well start packing his bags. If you are dumb enough to drink Walkers kool-aid and think a 50,000 a year teacher broke the bank your just plain dumb!
morninmist March 30, 2012 at 11:45 PM
The TeaGOP is a bunch of hypocrites including folks on this board who constantly cry about Dems wasting taxpayer money. But here you go again--more wasting of taxpayer money. You tried it last summer and LOST--not you try again at taxpayers expense! Lisa Mux. ‏ @Muxywithmoxie GOP to run placeholder Dem candidates in all recalls http://elections.wispolitics.com/2012/03/gop-to-run-placeholder-dem-candidates.html #wiunion #wirecall What a waste of taxpayer $.


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