MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The clock is ticking for opponents of Republican Gov. Scott Walker who are hoping to force a recall election next year and are spurred by anger over his successful push to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public workers.

The petition drive to collect more than 540,000 signatures began in the early morning hours Tuesday, with more than 100 events planned across the state to start gathering them all. Recall supporters must collect 9,000 signatures a day to meet the target.

Lisa Tareski of Milwaukee, who voted for Walker, was one of eight people who won a contest sponsored by the Democratic Party to be the first to sign the petitions.

“I want to fix my mistake and be one of the first to tell Scott Walker that he did not have my full support in 2010 and he never will,” Tareski said in a statement.

Walker recall organizers hope to tap ongoing anger over the collective bargaining law, which took away public employee unions’ power to negotiate anything other than wage increases no greater than the rate of inflation, and build on momentum from last week’s vote rejecting a similar law in Ohio. Wisconsin doesn’t allow for a referendum challenging its law to be put on the ballot, so opponents are targeting Walker and at least three state senators for recall.

The governor said Monday he was trying not to get distracted by the recall and would remain focused on his 2010 campaign pledge to grow jobs in the state by 250,000 before the four-year term he was elected to serve is over.

He defended his record and said voters were ready to move forward and didn’t want to get stuck in an endless campaign cycle.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” Walker said. “It’s a new day in Wisconsin.”

He launched his first television ad of the campaign, defending his record while the words “Recall: No” appeared on the screen. The ad was running statewide, except in Milwaukee, according to Walker’s campaign manager Keith Gilkes.

Walker said in an interview that he planned a series of ads with people talking about how his initiatives are working in their communities as well as his plans for the future.

“We really believe people want to hear about where we’re headed,” Walker said. “I think it’s important for people to hear my positive vision.”

Republicans currently hold a narrow one-seat majority in the state Senate after two GOP incumbents were ousted in recall elections this summer.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he expected to be targeted for recall in addition to three of his colleagues who defeated Democratic incumbents last year. Democrats said they planned to start recalls against Sens. Van Wanggaard of Racine, Pam Galloway of Wausau and Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls.

Governors have been recalled from office only twice in U.S. history, in North Dakota in 1921 and in California when voters removed Gov. Gray Davis from office in 2003.

“Any recall attempts filed will be nothing more than a shameless power grab by the Democrats and their liberal special interests, and will not deter Republicans from moving the state forward under responsible leadership,” Republican Party spokeswoman Nicole Larson said.

Democrats do not yet have an announced candidate to take on Walker should enough signatures be collected to force an election. The earliest such an election could occur, without any expected delays in verifying the signatures or legal challenges, is March 27. Most expect any election would be later in the spring or in the summer.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (17)
  1. I'm Just Sayin' says:

    recall folllowed by stomping feet in puddle and holding breath until blue in the face. Nice tactics, reminds me of “win at any cost to the tax payeres.” Why did you not put up a better candidate in the first place. recalls were meant for serious offences as opposed to only insulting unions.

    1. jimmy says:

      “recall folllowed by stomping feet in puddle and holding breath until blue in the face”

      I agree WALKER is really acting like a baby.

  2. Tom says:

    This will be interesting! We will find out if there are enough nuts in Wisc to save Walker.

  3. I'm Just Sayin' says:

    Why did the democrats not put up a better candidate in the first place?

  4. GN says:

    Free Lunchers and Unions running the country, Explain to me again why the country is so far in debt.

    1. Tom says:

      @ GN

      Free lunchers and Unions did not put this country into debt! Wars in Iraq and Afgan, Bush tax cuts, and other GOP spending back in 2000 – 2006 is what put us into debt. We didn’t exactly hear conservatives complaining back then!

      1. dan says:

        And since Obama was elected he has spent more money than any other Present in history and has not found a way to pay for any of it. Way to go Dems!

  5. Kevin says:

    Union’s Suck! Why should my taxes pay for Govt workers who make double for the same job I am doing? They work FOR ME! Not a union! If our Gov had a sack between his legs…..we wouldnt be in the red……tough times mean tough cuts……we are watching the wussification of America……

    1. Beavis says:

      Union bashers suck; so do scabs!

  6. Donkey Logic says:

    So the precedent to be set here is to organize a recall every time a politician makes a decision you don’t agree with? This is insanity and pushes Democratic whining to new levels. At least they have their mascot right, what a bunch of a$$e$.

  7. OldDirtyHippie says:

    Time to take out the trash!!!


    1. Betty says:

      I agree, it is time for the 99% to go home and please clean up after yourselves. What a bunch of pigs!

  8. I'm Just Sayin' says:

    the 91% are the people at work right now, there is no 99%, it is a falacy created by one person trying to exaggerate numerical suport for his 1% reality. The 91% need to kick out the 100% in congress and tell the new pigs if they behave like the old pigs, that they too will be fired. that is the 100% on BOTH SIDES OF THE ISLE.. As to the posters above, MN is in debt because democrats over spent and under collected. The country is in debt for the same reasons, except it was a no collect president (Bush) that spent like a democrat on social programs, except it was on wars….

  9. OldDirtyHippie says:

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    Free Assange!!!
    Free Manning!!!

  10. Murph says:

    The Feds will likely delay their trial and encarceration of Walker until after a recall election is held.Having another Repugnican serve out Walkers term is too repugnant for words and for the Feds.The people of Wisconsin deserve better than that.Sometimes the Feds work in mysterious ways.But denying a corrupt regime an opportunity to continue it’s ravages is worth the wait! Then put him where the sun don’t shine! Hard time for a bringer of hard times,poetic justice!

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