Wis. Governor To Not Challenge Recall Signatures

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won’t challenge any of the 1 million petition signatures seeking his recall from office because his campaign staff didn’t have enough time to scrutinize them all, a top aide said Monday.

The Republican governor had until 5 p.m. Monday to challenge signatures submitted last month. Despite being granted a 20-day extension to pore over the recall petitions, Walker’s campaign managed to look through only about 400,000 of them, campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said. She said the campaign determined that 10 percent to 20 percent of those 400,000 were erroneous, including entries that listed fake addresses and names, including Donald Duck’s.

“We have essentially been given an impossible deadline,” Matthews said.

The Government Accountability Board, which oversees Wisconsin elections, still has three weeks to determine if at least 540,208 of the signatures are valid, which is the minimum number needed to trigger an election. And Walker’s campaign asked the Government Accountability Board on Monday to consider the findings of two tea party affiliated groups that have been examining the signatures independently.

But those behind the efforts to recall Walker and five other Republicans, including Democrats and their allies, have said they are confident that the elections will go forward. State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said it’s absurd that Republicans have been complaining that the Walker recall petitions were laced with fraud but didn’t challenge a single signature.

“Scott Walker is now acknowledging his total failure in producing credible evidence that would stop his recall,” Tate said in a statement.

Still, whether any election happens and when remains unclear.

A Waukesha County judge ordered the GAB to verify the signatures’ authenticity independently. The board has until March 19 to complete that review. If they verify a sufficient number of valid signatures, they must order an election to take place in six weeks. That would place the contest in late April.

GAB officials, though, have said they don’t want to hold it then. Local clerks will still be wrapping up filing and paperwork from the April 3 spring election, which includes a presidential primary, they said.

And if multiple Democrats challenge Walker, the election would become a primary. A general election would follow a month later.

Walker’s campaign filed documents with the elections board Monday asking it to continue checking the signatures and to consider challenges proposed by the two tea party groups that have been using volunteers to examine the petitions, Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty and We the People of the Republic.

The GAB already has ruled it won’t accept third-party challenges and board spokesman Reid Magney said it hadn’t received anything from the tea party groups as of Monday morning. The groups’ leaders, Ross Brown and Tim Dake, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Democrats and their allies, including many of the state’s most powerful public worker unions, are trying to recall Walker, Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four GOP state senators, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, as payback for a Walker-proposed law that stripped most public workers of collective bargaining rights.

Walker said he had to make the move to help balance the state’s budget deficit and give local leaders the flexibility they needed to cope with sharp cuts in state aid. Democrats, though, saw it as a direct attack on unions, one of their staunchest campaign allies.

Tens of thousands of people converged on the state Capitol for three straight weeks last spring to protest against the proposal. Minority Democrats in the state Senate fled to Illinois in an ultimately futile attempt to block a vote. Republicans who control the state Assembly and Senate passed the measure anyway and Walker signed it into law last March.

Democrats have been hungry for revenge ever since. They ousted two GOP state senators in recall elections last summer, narrowing the GOP’s majority in that house to just one vote. If they can defeat just one of the four senators in this latest round of recalls, they’ll gain control of the chamber.

The victory would be mostly symbolic, though. The legislative session ends in three weeks and lawmakers aren’t due to return to Madison until January, rendering a Democratic majority powerless. Even if Democrats manage to take the governor’s office and the Senate, they won’t be able to advance legislation because Assembly Republicans would never take it up.

The four GOP senators have filed their own signature challenges. Kleefisch has until March 5 to file her challenges.

The GAB has until March 19 to scour those signatures, consider the challenges and decide whether to order elections.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Murph

    Gee,little Scotty always has that look on his face ever since some of his staff got immunity and lower sentences.He’s just the picture of confidence there in Wisconny! Emphasis on the conny! Don’t use slippery soap there where the Fed’s are gonna send you Scott.Or maybe that’s the way you prefer it! It sure looks like you NEED a long vacation.The bookies are telling me..bet on it!

    • Carl

      Has anyone announced they will run against Walker? If not this has been a big waste of time.

  • Hank Rearden

    Two choices. Vote for fiscal responsibility or the democrat.

    • Kevin

      Kevin will honk you if you want him to.

      • Kevin

        Yes i will you Silly Goose!!!! HONK HONK!!!!

  • questioning

    Tea Party? Are they still around? I had thought that group had died of shame?

    • Kevin

      You’ll see them cheering next November when Obama starts packing to move out of the white house.

    • Ali

      many people are the tea party but not called the tea party. they are all the people you know who are sick of BIG BIG government getting bigger and Public Unions controling everything. Get your head out of the sand!

  • Ali

    Coming to Minnesota, STOP the Public government unions from ripping off the tax payer. We all need to pitch in and stop Public government unions. thanks God for people like Scott Walker who are saving this country from becoming like all the other countries who are broke due to Public government Unions running unchecked. if you are not in a Public Government union you shoul be standing up for your rights and stop them from taking your all your money so they can live in luxury. they will be the 1% of the future… think about it.

    • bpk

      If youre so smart you should become a school teacher, that way you can be rich and retire at 50 while ripping off the taxpayers, there hiring if you are qualified.

  • fox

    My thoughts…..
    If you yourself are a member of organized labor, you are married to one, raised by one, been able to retire comfortably, and have had a better quality of life. Because you believe in a honest wage for a honest day’s work. You and your way of life have just been attacked.
    There over all goal is to completely dismantle all unions starting with the private sector first if you don’t believe me look at the add they are going to start airing towards 2011
    at http://www.gop.com. The add states they need to “take Obama and his union bosses out of office” citing them for them for the “mess they made”. One of their agendas is to pin the private sector against the public to break down the banner of union over the two separate entities. Why? To make us weaker. Is it working? Unfortunately, I have talked to too many union brothers and sisters in the private sector who are buying into the stuff the gop is saying (and in my opinion one person is too many). So to all my union brothers and sisters on the fence I plead with you to reconsider your approach because this affects us all.
    My mother is a state employee and was able to raise 3 children on her own without state assistance in one of the worst neighborhoods in the metro. We had food on are table every day and was able to go to the doctor when needed. She would not have been able to do this if she wasn’t union. We would’ve been living off the state which in turn would’ve cost the state more money. So to all the arguments that “they are costing taxpayers money” and “public gets paid more than private” really has no value to me. State employees are tax payers. My mother hasn’t had a raise in 10 years due to a pay freeze while the cost of living has gone up. In MN she does pay into her health and welfare benefits. State workers get treated like garbage and this is just another prime example. Teachers in Wisconsin don’t make that much money if you consider the 4 years of schooling and the average Wisconsin teacher pulling in just over 40 k and 20k in fringes. They earned it.
    I wrote this 8 months ago but its still relevant.

    • Bubba

      Amen, Fox

  • Murph

    There are over 800 REX concentration camps awaiting you first time Faux News junkie voters.The guards are already there too! The only thing missing? Not the 1%. that’s for sure! Vote yourself into a GOP extermination camp if you are that STUPID.! I live in the woods,they can come after me if they are feeling lucky and bring a lot of body bags.You idiots are already halfway in the furnace! This IS the big one! Make no mistake about it! They will start in the cities and work their way out. MOVE!

    • Survivalist

      Murph, don’t invite the “righties” to move to the country. My family lives in the country–we don’t want them here. Let them eat garbage in the city after they get rid of the government and its services and the unions and living wages. Natural selection is in process here–the dumb conservatives will be the first to go.

  • just sayin

    Way to ruin this country liberals… whine and complain. Bunch of babies.

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