So, now that Scott Walker and the Republicans have won in Wisconsin, people are asking, “Is it a pyrrhic victory? Did they win a short term victory that will cost them big?” The polls seem to show that Walker has taken a beating and independents are slanting against the bill. Still, there are a few things you have to remember.
First off, recalls aren’t a snap to pull off in Wisconsin:
The rules require targeted lawmakers to have been in office for at least a year to be eligible for recall. Eight Republican senators fit that standard. To recall a state senator, Democrats need to gather signatures in each district equivalent to one-quarter of votes cast in the seat in the last gubernatorial election. In most districts, that’s at least 15,000 signatures.
Once that happens, an election is set for six weeks later. (If there are multiple challengers from one party, the election is pushed back four weeks). Only two state lawmakers have been successfully recalled in Wisconsin history.
Signature gathering is a laborious and costly process that challenges even the best organizations. And, you can be assured that Republicans will try to disqualify as many of the petition signers as possible — meaning that recall advocates will need well in excess of 15,000 just to be safe.
But, Democrats insist they are well on their way — having already collected 15 percent of the signatures they needed over the weekend. Liberal groups say that have raised close to $2 million dollars in support.
While they won’t reveal where they are in each district — saying they want to keep Republicans guessing — efforts from some national groups have focused on three state senators: Randy Hopper, Alberta Darling and Dan Kapanke.
They only have 60 days to do this, which is a pretty tight window for both sides. Republicans will try to recall 8 of the fleebaggers who ran off to Illinois. Then, if there are enough votes for a recall, a quality candidate will need to be recruited and they’ll have to run and win in only a few weeks’ time against well known incumbents. That’s generally a pretty tough hurdle to jump over.
Moreover, although the unions seem to have all the momentum right now, that will change if they actually get their recall elections. The moment a recall election is actually declared, conservative money and manpower will start pouring in to help the Republicans and toss the Democrats out on their ears. So, could we see some of these Republicans AND Democrats lose their seats? Sure. That’s what happens when you have elections: Sometimes the politicians in power get thrown out of power — but, history says there probably won’t be all that much of a changeover.
Now, you might say, “Gee, is it worth all that? Maybe they shouldn’t have passed the bill.” Here’s what you have to understand: