The first recall signatures against a Democratic state senator in Wisconsin are about to be filed, following four recall submissions so far against Republicans, as the battle escalates in the aftermath of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union bill.
Previously, Democrats have filed recall signatures against four Republicans, more than the three that would be needed to put control of the chamber in play if all recalls were certified to go forward: Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper, Luther Olsen and Sheila Harsdorf.
As WisPolitics reports, recall organizers have announced that they will file 21,000 signatures on Thursday against Dem state Sen. Jim Holperin, providing a buffer above the 15,960 minimum signatures that are legally required to trigger a new election. Holperin, along with the other 13 Democratic state Senators, had fled the state in February and early March, in an attempt to block a three-fifths budget quorum for Walker’s bill — a move that Republicans later circumvented through parliamentary maneuvers to pass the bill, though the law is currently bottled up in the courts.
The recall organizers’ press release claims that they have succeeded against the persecution of the unions:
When Holperin refused to return to the state and perform his elected duties despite numerous requests by constituents, the voters of the 12th Senate District immediately set to the task of gathering the needed signatures to recall him. Then, as they faced severe winter weather and the demands of a huge rural district, they found themselves threatened, badgered, and intimidated nearly every step of the way by the unions. At one point they were circled and nearly mobbed in a Merrill, Wisconsin, an incident that resulted in some petitions being ripped up while others were defaced with vulgar language from a angry union protester. (Please view a video of the occurrance (sic). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj9lto2fcIQ)
The voters of the 12th District prevailed, however, and tomorrow will successfully deliver their 21,000 plus signatures to the state capital to recall Jim Holperin.
The linked video shows a small crowd chanting pro-union slogans, and a close-up on a defaced recall petition.
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s district rankings show, Holperin would be the most vulnerable Democrat in a possible recall election, as his district voted 57.4%-40.8% for Scott Walker in the Republican wave of 2010. However, before that it voted 52.7%-45.7% for Barack Obama in 2008. In both cases, it was the most Republican-leaning state Senate district held by a Democrat.
The state Senate currently has a 19-14 Republican majority, with Democrats hoping to pick up three seats in recall elections and win a majority. They are collecting signatures in all eight Republican-held districts that are eligible. Under Wisconsin’s recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their term before being recalled — thus exempting the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010.
In order to initiate a recall, signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election, within the targeted district, must be collected in a 60-day window.