The first efforts to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ended successfully on Tuesday with what organizers are saying are more than enough signatures to force the Republican first-term governor to defend his office in a special election.
United Wisconsin, an organization which is opposed to many changes Governor Walker pushed through the legislature last year, including changes in collective bargaining practices, claims to have assembled a list of over one million signatures before the 17 January deadline. According to Wisconsin law only 540,208 are needed to force an election with the hoped for outcome of ousting the governor.
Julie Wells is the grandmother and factory worker who helped kick-off the recall movement. She was on hand to carry in the first of 150 boxes of signatures which were brought by U-Haul to the state capital on Tuesday. A banner on the truck read, “We did it for Wisconsin’s future.”
“What we have done over the past 60 days for the state of Wisconsin is monumental,” Wells told a crowd of about 400 recall supporters.
The office of the Government Accountability Board will certify the petitions, and then the possibility that Walker will be the third governor in all of US history to be recalled will become even more likely.
However there is a real split among citizens in Wisconsin, and the chances that he will survive a special election cannot be discounted out of hand.
The division in Wisconsin does not begin or end at the governor’s door, either. There are now upwards of 17 state senators, six Democrats and eleven Republicans, who could also be faced with special recall elections this coming year. This unrest was triggered by last year’s bitter fight over union rights and other Republican-supported measures.
Governor Walker has not been daunted by the recall drive, accepting the fact that the chances of a special election are high.
“I look forward to talking to the people of Wisconsin about my continued promises to control government spending, balance the budget, and hold the line on taxes,” he said.