MILWAUKEE -- This week is a big one for Wisconsin state politics, as recall organizers say they've collected enough signatures to force a gubernatorial recall election for the first time in state history. There have only been two successful recalls of governors in U.S. history.
The recall effort that began in the chilly air of mid-November had nearly reached its goal in mid-December, and shows no signs of slowing down in the snow of mid-January. As the effort to gather enough signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker nears the end, organizers are celebrating. "We've made history here in Wisconsin. We've recalled a governor. It's never happened before," Peter Rickman with We Are Milwaukee said.
On Tuesday, recall organizers say they will drop off enough signatures to force recall elections not only for Walker, but also Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four state senators. "We're going to blow away the 720,000 mark. It's going to be a lot more than 800,000," Ted Kraig with We Are Milwaukee said.
Governor Scott Walker is minimizing the numbers. "The vast majority of people in this state who didn't sign that, people who, no matter what their politics are, want this state to move forward," Walker said. For the last 60 days, Walker has taken advantage of a quirk in state law that allows the incumbent to raise unlimited amounts of money. He has already launched a TV ad campaign, and Republicans are gearing up to challenge the signatures, opening field offices across the state.
"They may force challenges, but ultimately, it's going to come down to, what does our democracy demand of our politicians, and we're saying as the 99 percent here in Wisconsin, we want to get rid of this one percent Walker fellow, no matter the challenges," Rickman said.
"The clear thing we have to decide, do we want to go back to the days of double digit tax increases, of billion dollar budget deficits and record job loss, or do you want to move this state forward and that's the choice," Walker said.
The Government Accountability Board will receive the signatures Tuesday afternoon, and then they'll have to verify them, a process they say will take more than two months.