The political enthusiasm fostered by the summer recall elections may be recreated as organizers say they plan to target specific legislators as a part of the effort to recall the governor.
The recall campaign, led by Democrats, will include Republican legislators along with the governor, and is set to commence on Nov. 15, according to Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Graeme Zielinski.
Zielinski would not name any specific senators that are currently being considered for recall.
“[I have] nothing to report. We are still arriving at the decisions and they will be made based on the caucus [up to] the grassroots level,” Zielinski said.
Jay Heck, the executive director for the non-partisan group Common Cause Wisconsin, said he believes almost anybody who was not targeted for recall in August is under consideration as a candidate for the upcoming recall election.
“Any senator can be recalled. The Republicans will recall the Democrats and the Democrats will recall the Republicans. However, the most vulnerable, I think, are those senators who had won a close election … those who had won narrowly, by a small margin,” Heck said.
He added the calls to recall Walker are largely instigated by the collective bargaining provisions of the budget repair act that stripped many public employees of their collective bargaining rights.
“How much it’s going to cost the state and the taxpayers – I don’t know. But the more frightening [issue] is how much money will be spent by Walker. He has tremendous support in corporations; I’m sure he can raise millions of dollars,” Heck said.
University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden agreed with Heck, saying while the original motivation for the recall of the governor stems from his effort to restrict the collective bargaining rights of public employees, an ongoing investigation may be further fueling the campaign.
“[The restriction of collective bargaining rights] is still a central concern, but other reasons now include the substantial cuts to education and health care, as well as the ongoing ‘John Doe’ investigation of his staff.”
Burden said the parties would likely go after senators in districts where their records seem in contrast with the partisan preferences of their constituents.
Recall efforts, Heck said, have received surprising support from the public, but the state has remained closely divided on partisan issues during the last 12 years.
“It has always been 50/50. Wisconsin has always been the state that manages to flip the outcome of elections including the presidential election. No one really knows how it will turn out,” Heck said.
Burden said recent polls have found more of the state’s citizens support the recall effort than those who oppose it.
While the outcome of an election would be widely dependent on the Democratic candidate, early polls indicate the public would support an unnamed Democrat over Walker in a recall election, he said.