I’ve already discussed the road ahead for the Wisconsin recall election a bit. But now that we have the actual figures, it’s truly incredible. Organizers in Wisconsin collected over one MILLION signatures to recall Scott Walker, doubling what was necessary. They did this in under two months. This approaches the number of votes Walker received in the 2010 election, and it’s a much higher bar to find people and have them sign their name than it is to get them to show up at a defined polling place.
Today’s submission in Madison, the capital, will escalate a partisan war that has raged 11 months and divided a state with a history of progressive politics. Voters ousted two senators in August who voted for Walker’s collective-bargaining curbs, and now the governor, lieutenant governor and four Republican state senators face possible removal votes in the second or third quarter.
The million people favoring a recall election for Walker compares with the 1.1 million votes that elected him in 2010 [...]
Democrats and union members also collected about 850,000 signatures to recall Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and 20,600 names to recall Senator Scott Fitzgerald, about 4,200 more than necessary. Also targeted are Senators Pam Galloway, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard.
Overall, you had 1.9 million signatures turned in today. Wisconsin has a population of 5.7 million. Obviously there’s some overlap, but just looking at the Walker recall, almost one out of every five people in the state of Wisconsin signed a piece of paper saying they wanted to kick out Scott Walker before his term ended. John Nichols is right when he says that this is the greatest popular democracy movement in Wisconsin history.
There is still a race to be run. But this recall drive is the greatest popular democracy movement in Wisconsin history, and one of the greatest challenges to political power in American history.
The signals could not be stronger. The Wisconsin democracy movement is real.
And Scott Walker should be afraid, very afraid, of the opposition he has unleashed in a state that is prepared to defend its rights and its future.
Walker is definitely well-equipped with millions in cash to defend himself. And there’s the matter of selecting a candidate. Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor and 2010 gubernatorial opponent, has an edge in the first primary polling available, over Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, state Senator Tim Cullen and longtime former Congressman David Obey. But as I wrote earlier, unions may have a problem with Barrett, so that race probably remains wide-open for now. And nobody has actually announced as a candidate.
For the moment, then, we can just savor the incredible activism involved here. The Recall Fitz campaign is perhaps the best example of this. Originally state Democrats wanted only to try recalls of Galloway, Moulton and Wanggaard, seen as coming from districts most likely to flip. Fitzgerald’s district is strongly Republican, and the state didn’t want to invest in a recall. But some local activists were relentless and determined, and mainly through volunteer efforts, they got the 20,600 signatures, 4,200 more than needed, for the recall. That just shows you the power of the democracy movement in Wisconsin.
Andy Kroll has a bunch more, including this great quote:
But Walker recall organizers say the staggering number of signatures amounts to a mandate to get Walker and Kleefisch out of office. “The collection of more than one million signatures represents a crystal clear indication of how strong the appetite is to stop the damage and turmoil that Scott Walker has caused Wisconsin,” said Ryan Lawler, an official with United Wisconsin.