Scott Walker has decided not to challenge any of the over one million signatures for his recall, meaning that an election will likely be held in the spring.
That leaves only a review by state elections officials standing between the Republican governor and only the third recall election for a governor is U.S. history. An independent conservative group released its own analysis of the recall petitions Monday, but state elections officials said the law does not allow it to count those outside challenges.
“We are not filing any specific challenges to any specific signatures today,” Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said. “We simply ran out of time.”
Organizers gathered more than 1 million signatures in 60 days seeking to force the recall – well over the 540,000 valid signatures needed. Over the last month, Walker and Republicans have been examining the signatures seeking to find ones to challenge as invalid.
The Government Accountability Board will continue their review, but given the massive cushion recall organizers have and the lack of challenges from the opposition, this recall will happen.
Walker claims that he ran out of time and wanted additional extensions to review the signatures. But the extensions he did get – which added twenty days to the normal review process – achieved their goal of dragging out the recall a bit more and extending the amount of time Walker could collect unlimited donations. He has amassed a huge war chest at this point.
Walker’s new tactic on the recall is to whine about the wasted taxpayer dollars resulting from the upcoming election, a figure he puts at $9 million.
“Well, we’re focused,” Walker responded, “but it’s a huge distraction, not just for me, for the legislature. I mean, it’s $9 million of taxpayers’ money just to run this. Think about the number of kids we could help, think of the number of seniors we could help in our state with $9 million that we didn’t have to waste on this — this frivolous recall election.”
Surely, if the organizers stood down on the recall tomorrow, Walker would immediately move to apply that $9 million right to assisted living services and public education, and not to cronies in the energy sector or corporate tax cuts, the way he did on his first budget, right?
John Nichols estimates that the primary elections for the recall, where Democrats will pick a candidate, could happen as early as late April, but he suspects the date will be May 1, with the general election to come four weeks later on May 29, right after Memorial Day. The Government Accountability Board has until March 19 to complete their review and verify the recall. Some third parties have tried to challenge the recall, but there’s no real process for that in Wisconsin law.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, preparing for months of campaigning, released their first ad, targeting “Walkergate,” the series of investigations about illegal conduct by members of Walker’s staff. That ad is above.