Campaign to recall Wisconsin Gov. Walker announces half of necessary signatures already collected

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November 30, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

By: Greg Janetka

MADISON, Wisconsin: Less than two weeks after starting their campaign to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) from office, organizers announced on Monday that they have already collected over 300,000 signatures - more than half of the 540,208 necessary to force a recall election.[1] The exact number of signatures, however, cannot be independently verified. United Wisconsin organizers say they will not be turning in their signatures until the deadline on January 17, 2012. The group did not say how many signatures they collected in their efforts to recall Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, but that the totals were close.[2]

Since the beginning of the campaign, Walker has been actively campaigning as if he expects a recall to take place. He has so far issued two TV commercials - the first featuring a school board member stating Walker's reforms reduced costs allowing more money to go to classrooms, while the second features a high school teacher who says she's "not much on recalls." Additionally, the national conservative group Americans for Prosperity teamed up with The MacIver Institute to air ads in support of Walker.

The latest commercial by Scott Walker

Democrats have not yet announced a candidate that would run against Walker if the recall effort is successful. Names floated as possible candidates include U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former U.S. Representative Dave Obey[3], U.S. Rep. Ron Kind[4], Wisconsin Firefighters Union President Mahlon Mitchel, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, state Rep. Peter Barca, and State Sen. Jon Erpenbach[5]. Many observers turned to former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, but he has repeatedly stated that he will not run.[6]

While many campaigns have occasional reports of incidents such as signs going missing or being vandalized, the recall effort has been rife with these since the beginning. The first day of signature collection saw a rock with an anti-recall message tied to it thrown through the window of a cafe in Madison. Since then a number of volunteers have received anonymous death threats.[7][8] and there have been reports of petitions being torn up[9] and stolen[10], something that may be part of a coordinated effort. An anonymous Facebook group called Operation Burn Notice has been set up as with the goal of destroying petitions.[11] In response, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has reiterated that providing fraudulent information or destroying a recall petition is a felony, while the organization One Wisconsin Now has offered a $10,000 reward for reports of signed petitions being destroyed.[12] So far no one has been charged in any of the incidents.

Four recall campaigns targeting Republican state Senators Pam Galloway, Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard are also ongoing.

If sufficient signatures are turned in by January 17, the earliest a recall could take place would be March 27. However, petition challenges and lawsuits could significantly delay that date.[13]

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