The difference between the recalls of Republican state Senators in Wisconsin earlier this year and the recall of Scott Walker, at least with respect to the signature gathering process, is that those Senate recalls took place in swingy or downright conservative areas. The Walker recall is statewide. And that brings in a lot of low-hanging fruit for signatures: the liberal bastion of Madison, for example, or the Democratic-rich city of Milwaukee.
So it’s not really a surprise that Democrats are able to gather a hefty amount of signatures in a short amount of time. Even still, this announcement is impressive:
United Wisconsin, the group managing the recall, announced on Saturday that during the first four days of the effort — from Tuesday through Friday — they had brought in 105,000 signatures, nearly a fifth of the threshold they must legally meet: 540,208 signatures in a 60-day window.
This doesn’t even include the weekend, which would presumably be a more fertile time to gather signatures. Over the weekend, leaders of the recall effort held a large rally at the state Capitol, which drew as many as 30,000 people to the main square.
State Department of Administration officials estimate 25,000 to 30,000 people filled the square, marching through the cold drizzle, holding signs and chanting seemingly every possible derivation of “Recall Walker.”
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, was in the crowd. So was Ed Schultz, MSNBC talk show host and liberal firebrand [...]
“We are going to do everything in our power to get him out,” said Ellen Holly, a longtime teacher and recall volunteer.
Holly, who has taught for 28 years in Walworth County, is a veteran protester by this point. She and several of her colleagues attended almost every rally and protest at the Capitol in February and March, kicked off when Walker attempted to push through his collective bargaining bill.
At a Sunday morning strategy session in Madison, former Senator Russ Feingold addressed volunteers and signed a recall petition himself. The crowd heartily endorsed the idea of Feingold challenging Walker in the recall election. But he demurred. “There will be a new governor in a few months. It won’t be me, but it will be somebody good,” he said, focusing the crowd on the need to restore the state’s imbalances rather than any particular candidate. More on that from Reuters.
The recall organizers have a ways to go to reach the 540,000 threshold (and actually break it, to ensure a cushion for duplicates or erroneous signatures). But they’re off to a good start.