Gov. Scott Walker
Democrats in Wisconsin got out of the gate with a very strong start for the race to gain the necessary signatures needed for a recall election in the “Forward” state. This can’t come as good news to the Republicans and Gov. Walker (nicknamed “Dead Man Walker” by no less of a representative of mainstream American opinion than TIME magazine).
Greg Sargent writes in the Washington Post:
Dems have now collected over 56,000 signatures supporting the recall drives, according to party spokesman Graeme Zielinski, after another surge in organizing activity over the weekend. That’s up from rougly 14,000 after last weekend. This means Dems are well ahead of schedule: In each targeted district, Dems need to amass the required signatures — 25 percent of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election — by a deadline of 60 days after first filing for recalls, which happened nearly two weeks ago.
In other words, Dems are reporting they are nearly halfway to the finish line, with roughly three-fourths of the alloted time remaining.
Though the national media has largely treated the Wisconsin story as resolved, now that Republicans used a procedural maneuver to pass Scott Walker’s measure, the new signature numbers suggest the GOP’s maneuver may only be giving more momentum to the recall drives. The recall fight has drawn the attention of national Dems, who are keeping attention on the battle in hopes that it will have ramifications in the 2012 Congressional and presidential elections, by galvanizing the Dem base, persuading independents that the GOP has overreached, and reawakening the affection of blue collar whites for unions.
Some will insist that these numbers are unreliable, because they are coming from Dems. But if they did cook the numbers, such exaggerations would quickly become apparent if they fell well short of their goals by the deadline. (Republicans are refusing to reveal the amount of signatures they’ve collected to recall Dems.) What’s more, these signatures numbers claimed by Dems mirror other indicators of enthusiasm: Dems and labor continue to raise money for the recall drives at a dizzying clip, and a huge rally amassed in Madison over the weekend.
According to Wisconsin Dem spokesman Zielinski, Dems are ahead of pace in signature gathering in every single one of the eight districts being targteted, and in three of the districts, Dems have well over 50 percent of the number required.
And in a related note, popular Wisconsin resident, Jeff Skiles, who was co-pilot of the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane, told WISC-TV that he will be closing his accounts (totaling over $400,000) at M&I Bank today. M&I’s executives were amongst the largest donors to embattled Gov. Scott Walker’s election campaign. Below, Skiles speaks to pro-labor protesters in Madison on Feb. 26, 2011.