MADISON, Wis. – Opponents of Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker submitted nearly twice as many signatures Tuesday as required to force a recall election, but still face the challenge of transforming public outrage over his moves against unions into actual votes to oust him from office.
If Walker is worried, he’s not showing it: As the petitions were delivered to election officials, Walker was out of state raising money to defend himself and the agenda that has made him a national conservative hero.
The 1 million signatures that United Wisconsin, the coalition that spearheaded the effort along with the Democratic Party, said were collected far exceeds the 540,208 needed and amounts to 23 percent of the state’s eligible voters.
Walker was elected in 2010 as part of a national Republican tide, and quickly angered unions and others with aggressive moves that included effectively ending collective bargaining rights for nearly all public workers.
Petitioners said they were submitting about 305,000 more signatures than were needed to trigger a recall election against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and said they also exceeded the number needed to force recall elections of four Republican state senators, including Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said given the number of signatures collected, Walker shouldn’t seek delays and instead let the vote proceed.
“Does anyone really honestly believe we’re not going to have an election?” Tate said.