At noon today, Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Mike Tate announced that the recall petition drive against Governor Scott Walker has passed the half-million mark. Volunteers had collected 507,533 signatures as of December 15.
That's just 32,675 signatures shy of the total needed to trigger a recall election.
Today's date is significant because it is exactly half way through the two-month window allowed by Wisconsin law for collecting the 540,208 signatures that would trigger a recall.
But Mike Tate upped that number, asking volunteers to do better than the minimum requirement and shoot for a goal of 720,000.
"From Superior to Beloit to La Crosse to Milwaukee and all points in between, the people of Wisconsin are rising up," Tate said.
Tate pointed out a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows Wisconsin leads the nation in job losses, even as the governor justifies cuts to schools and social service programs as part of a job-creating strategy. Walker is "kicking more than 65,000 families off health care coverage just in time for Christmas," he added.
"The people of Wisconsin have said enough is enough," Tate declared.
"Scott Walker continues to spend millions on misleading TV ads trying to convince voters that his drastic cuts to education and other 'reforms' are working," said Meagan Mahaffey, executive director of United Wisconsin, the group that is coordinating the recall effort. "But the people of Wisconsin are not buying his lies and are moving at record pace to stop Walker's destruction and recall him from office."
United Wisconsin endorsed the new goal of 720,277 signatures--or 33% of the 2010 general election turnout, as opposed to the 25% required by law to launch a recall.
As I noted in a blog yesterday, some grassroots activists have endorsed the idea of pushing for 1 million signatures to show the breadth and depth of the opposition to Walker, heading into a 2012 recall election.
Which counties the signatures are coming from will also play a significant role in the possible outcome of a recall election.
United Wisconsin today released data from selected counties, some of which tend to vote Republican:
Specific signature totals from selected counties include the following:
8,007 signatures or 128% of Walker’s 2010 vote total in Douglas County
22,365 signatures or 124% of Walker’s 2010 vote total in Eau Claire County
21,558 signatures or 91% of Walker’s 2010 vote total in Rock County
7,375 signatures or 84% of Walker’s 2010 vote total in Oneida County
6,972 signatures or 81% of Walker’s 2010 vote total in Grant County
Tate went long on sports metaphors in his announcement. The half-million Wisconsinites who have signed so far, he said, would fill "seven Lambeau Fields," and he added some more totals for Camp Randall and the Milwaukee Brewers' stadium.
"You have done something amazing," Tate said. "But now is not the time to get complacent. We'd like to fill Lambeau a few more times."