Wisconsin Democrats, after last week’s official launch of the campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker, made a major show of strength over the weekend.
United Wisconsin, the group managing the recall, announced on Saturday that during the first four days of the effort — from Tuesday through Friday — they had brought in 105,000 signatures, nearly a fifth of the threshold they must legally meet: 540,208 signatures in a 60-day window.
There are, of course, two important caveats: First, after months of build-up to the recall campaign, it is natural that there would be an initial rush to sign in the first few days. Second, the Dems will have to gather even more than 540,208 signatures in real terms — for a buffer that campaigns routinely collect in order to protect against signatures being disqualified over one imperfection or another.
Keen to keep up the momentum, recall proponents organized a rally of tens of thousands of people at the state Capitol over the weekend.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
State Department of Administration officials estimate 25,000 to 30,000 people filled the square, marching through the cold drizzle, holding signs and chanting seemingly every possible derivation of “Recall Walker.”
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, was in the crowd. So was Ed Schultz, MSNBC talk show host and liberal firebrand.
A group of about 50 Walker supporters made a brief appearance. They weaved through a collection of teachers, students and organized labor officials unified in their desire to remove Walker from office.
The Dems also held a pre-rally event to train volunteers, featuring a very special guest: Former Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost his seat after three terms in the 2010 Republican wave, and since then has been a favorite of state Dem activists who had hoped for him to run for governor in a recall. However, Feingold took himself out of the running.
But as the video shows, that didn’t stop rally attendees from chanting “Run, Russ, run!” and “Governor Feingold” as the man himself capped off his pro-recall speech by personally signing a petition for the cameras. Feingold reiterated that he is not running.
“There will be a new governor in a few months. It won’t be me, but it will be somebody good,” Feingold said, Reuters reports. “It’s not about me. It’s not about any particular candidate. It’s about restoring civility and some kind of sense of unity to the state.”