The Wisconsin State Democratic Party just sent out an email to supporters announcing that they have officially filed recall papers against all 8 Republican Senators eligible for recall immediately. Depending on their success in gathering enough signatures – and the threshold is not too high, they need between 14,000 and 20,000 signatures in the various districts – the State Senate will be up for grabs in Wisconsin as early as this year.

The filing of recall papers starts a 60-day clock for signature gathering. Then the signatures are examined and challenges made, but if the recall petition meets all requirements, the recall begins just 6 weeks later. Recalls in Wisconsin include primaries and general elections; it’s basically a do-over special election.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party, which asked for donations to fund the recall effort, wrote this in their email, which provides some clues as to their intentions:


Make no mistake, these Republican Senators are vulnerable to recall for their radical partisan overreach. Senator Randy Hopper won his last election by just 184 votes. And Alberta Darling won her last race by only 1,007. By recalling just three of the eight Senators we are targeting, we can regain control of the Senate [...]

Scott Walker’s Republican allies in the Senate have stood by for days while Walker has refused to negotiate on his partisan power grab disguised as a budget repair bill. Walker and his allies had no intention of listening to the people. That’s why Republicans unplugged the state legislative hotline for the first time in years.


In particular, Darling, the co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee which reported out the budget repair bill, is seen as a prime opportunity. She represents a relatively blue district on the north shore of Milwaukee, and former Assemblyman Sheldon Wasserman has already indicated that he would run on the Democratic side.

The state Democratic Party tied the Republican legislators to the Koch brothers, who have become a prime villain in this fight, and to the strong-arm tactics over the past several days, including unplugging the legislative hotline for people to register complaints, withholding the paychecks of the missing Senate Democrats, and bolting windows shut inside the Capitol.

Without referring to the recall maneuvers, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) remained confident that the budget repair bill would pass. He claimed that TIm Cullen promised him Senate Democrats would come back to Madison today, but I’d like that from a different source.

Meanwhile, Dale Schultz (R), the Senator most likely to reject the budget repair bill on the Republican side, ripped Scott Walker in a radio interview today:

When one political party gets control of everything, and they sort of forget the main mission… you know, you wonder why people don’t have any faith in the political process.

Wisconsin could get the opportunity to reverse that one-party rule very quickly.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent spoke to the state party chair, Mike Tate. Also, here’s a statement from the President of Wisconsin’s version of the American Federation for Teachers:

“We have learned that today people have begun filing recall petitions in an effort to take Wisconsin back. We are now going to focus our organizing attention on these efforts and all across the state we will immediately join these efforts and begin collecting signatures, knocking on doors, making phone calls and talking to our friends and family. Starting today, day by day, one by one, we will begin taking our state back before Governor Walker is able to take it backwards,” said Bryan Kennedy, President of AFT Wisconsin.

There will be a lot of support for this.

…SEIU is stepping in.