The attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker got off to an earlier than expected start at the hands of a contributor to the 2010 Walker campaign. Muskego resident David Brandt filed papers with the Government Accountability Board on Friday, his official committee affiliation is with "Close Friends to Recall Walker." Wisconsin law does not cap the amount that an individual or committee can contribute to the incumbent while signatures are being collected to recall them from office. So as Walker sets out on a trip to conservative states Kansas and Arizona he will have the ability to accept unlimited donations from supporters. The lack of a cap on donations will last until a date is set for a statewide recall election. It is likely that well over $100 million dollars will be raised and spent in the effort to recall Walker.
Wisconsin Democratic leadership, namely Mike Tate, telegraphed the day they would file papers via a nationally televised interview on MSNBC on October 10th. The move allowed the Walker camp to front run the Democratic operation and tack on 11 extra days of fundraising.
The entire operation is a large risk for the Democratic party. They first have to collect 540,000 valid signatures and then field a strong candidate that can close the six point Walker margin of victory over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett only one year ago. Failure to collect the signatures or ultimately defeat Walker will be seen as vindication for the Wisconsin GOP and Republican reformers nationwide.
Recall elections in August were a mixed bag that left the Wisconsin GOP with a one seat majority in the State Senate.
And just as the recall election in August was basically a proxy war between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democratic National Committee (DNC), a recall election would be a proxy war to the tenth power. The election would likely be held in the spring of 2012 and would be seen as a barometer for the national political climate. The result of the recall election would also go a long way in determining which side will have the upper hand when it comes to organization in the 2012 presidential election cycle, when Wisconsin will play the role of a key battleground state.
It remains to be seen how heavily contested a possible Democratic primary would be or if the party would rally around one candidate early on in the process.
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About the Author: Shaun Booth is editor of MilwaukeeStory.com.