Another milestone has been hit by United Wisconsin, the group organizing the recall of Scott Walker. Though there was some concern that enthusiasm for the recall would be dampened this far out from Walker’s initial sin of assaulting worker’s rights, that cannot be seen in the number of people willing to sign a petition to oust him prematurely. In the first 12 days of the recall – and organizers have 60 days to gather the required signatures – over 300,000 signatures have been gathered, over half of what is needed to trigger a recall. Some cushion over the 540,208 threshold is advisable – organizers want to get between 600,000 and 700,000 in all – but this is a hell of a start less than two weeks in.
“Scott Walker has taken to the airwaves, supported by millions in corporate cash, to defend his record of job loss and full-scale assault on Wisconsin’s institutions and values,” United Wisconsin Executive Director Meagan Mahaffey said in a statement. “But all over Wisconsin, the people are seeing through Walker’s deceptions and are moving to take our state back.” [...]
No Democrat has stepped forward yet to announce a challenge to Walker in a potential recall race. Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said the party won’t put a candidate forward until early 2012 in order to keep the fight focused as a referendum on Walker.
“The burden is on him here,” Tate told the Associated Press.
The fact that Walker has already started running TV ads defending his record is an indicator that he fully expects a recall. He may not have expected one this swiftly.
There are parallel efforts to recall four Republican state Senators, but no information has yet been released about those efforts.
Looking ahead to the recall, which at this rate would happen in the spring, take a look at the unemployment rate in Wisconsin. It was at 7.4%, below the national average, when Walker was inaugurated in January of 2011. It’s at 7.7% now. Walker ran on a pledge to create jobs in Wisconsin. That hasn’t materialized, and this could have an impact behind the scenes of the recall election. Democrats will surely run a campaign on attacks on worker’s rights and inequality, with Walker trying to defend his record. But at the base level of jobs, the biggest issue facing the country, Walker doesn’t have much of a record to run on. That’s a key backgrounder to the recall effort.