Three of the eight Wisconsin Senate Republicans eligible for recall, who just last week voted to strip state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, trail generic Democratic challengers in hypothetical recall matchups, according to a PPP poll of registered voters commissioned by Daily Kos.
Democratic activists in Wisconsin have been circulating petitions to gather the requisite number of signatures to trigger a recall election for each of the GOP Senators legally eligible to be recalled this year, with a goal of overturning the current Republican majority. Democrats would need to flip three seats in order to reclaim the majority.
In the poll, Sen. Dan Kapanke trailed a generic Democrat 55% to 41%, while Sen. Randy Hopper trailed 49% to 44% in his theoretical contest. Sen. Luther Olsen also lagged behind an unnamed Democrat, but by a slimmer 49% to 47%.
In two other contests, the Republican incumbents, Sen. Rob Cowles and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, led by two-point and four-point margins respectively, indicating that those races could also be competitive.
To force recall, petitioners must gather signatures totaling 25% of the number of people who voted in a given district in the previous election. On Monday, activists announced that they were nearly halfway there.
The big question going forward is whether Demorats can sustain the energy behind the recall effort through a special election. And of course, in a special election, those Republicans would be pitted against real people, not unnamed challengers.
And even if Democrats regain a majority, they would have little power to immediately undo the impetus behind the recall: Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting bill. With only a slim majority, they would be unable to override a veto.