Wisconsin Dems to announce that they will try to recall Scott Walker

June 6, 2011
By Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

There’s a long way to go, and the goal seems like a very tough one to reach, but Wisconsin Democrats are set to go for it: They will announce at their annual convention later today that they intend to launch an effort to recall the ultimate target — Scott Walker himself.

Mike Tate, the chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, will reveal the plan in a speech today at the convention in Milwaukee, according to advance excerpts of the speech that were sent my way.

“We will not stand down — and next year, we will recall Scott Walker from office,” Tate will tell the crowd, according to the excerpts. “We will begin to repair the damage done to this state and we will begin anew with a Democratic Governor who will fight for our children, who will fight for our families, our teachers and our firefighters. We will fight for the people — not the powerful.”

While Dems have long been expected to ultimately launch a recall campaign against Walker, this will be the most explicit vow to date from Wisconsin Dems that they will, in fact, take the plunge. And the announcement is likely to make for some good political theater to fire up Wisconsin Democrats and grassroots activists, who are currently in a battle to recall six Wisconsin GOP state senators. It’s still unclear how many Wisconsin Dems will have to face recall elections, pending an official review of GOP signature-gathering.

Elsewhere in his speech, Tate will give himself a bit of wiggle room, by claiming: “Should the people continue to rise up, continue to fight back, and continue to cry out for immediate change, we will recall Scott Walker from office next year.” But a Wisconsin Dem source tells me the wiggle room is mainly intended as a reminder that the decision to try to recall Walker will ultimately be dictated by the people of Wisconsin, not party chiefs.

To be sure, there’s a very long road ahead to the recall of Walker. Dems first have to deal with the six ongoing recall battles, and if they don’t take back the state senate (they need to net three wins) it could potentially blunt the appetite for a recall campaign against Walker. Second, Dems would have to sustain the current levels of grassroots energy for many more months — after the current recalls play out — and mount a statewide signature gathering campaign, a far taller order than targeting state senators. They would have sixty days to collect 540,000 signatures, 25 percent of the total votes in last year’s gubernatorial election.

And third, if they did manage to gather the signatures, they would have to find a candidate. One potential contender, Russ Feingold, seems more interested in running for Senate; meanwhile, Dave Obey is seen as unlikely to run against Walker because of his age. Dems are eyeing Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost narrowly to Walker last year, but it’s unclear if he’ll make the run. So: A long way to go indeed.

But still — it looks like they very well may go for it.


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