I need to put some time into another quick Walkergate primer.
Quick summary: Six Walker staff/contributors have been charged with a combined fifteen felonies (and some misdemeanors) as a result of a John Doe investigation initiated by the Milwaukee County district attorney. About a dozen Walker associates have been granted immunity for cooperating with the investigation. It began as (and is) an investigation into improper campaign activities performed by county employees during Scott Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive. It has come to (seemingly) include improper campaign contributions, open records violations, embezzlement, pay-for-play politics, and even uncovered some child enticement & "specific images" of a minor charges along the way. Investigation began in Milwaukee County in 2010; the FBI's first known involvement came in September 2011 when a Walker associate's house was raided.
A couple of names popping up on the periphery, but not officially charged with anything, intrigue me because they involve a couple Wisconsinites who have made it onto the national political scale. For those of you who aren't so wonky: Reince Preibus: Chair of the Republican National Committee, after having been head of the Wisconsin Republican Party. Unsuccessfully challenged WI14 Sen. Robert Wirch in 2004 before that. Mark Block: Head of the former Herman Cain presidential campaign, from which you may remember him as "smoking man" in that ad which went viral. Before that, head of Americans For Prosperity in Wisconsin.
Reince Preibus' involvement is fairly apparent. He was head of Wisconsin Republicans at the time and was aware of it, and is the current head of the RNC. (He succeeded Michael Steele, if that helps.)
Mark Block is interesting because of his past involvement with Americans For Prosperity. They're the group which sponsors Tea Party Express bus tours & events, which had a hand in the misleading mailers with the wrong election date this summer, which you might recognize from the "Paid For By" small type in a lot of right-leaning political ads. They get a lot of funding from the Koch brothers; Walker got prank-called by someone pretending to be David Koch. Block received immunity because some of a Walker associate's embezzled money paid for travel to an Atlanta Cain campaign strategy session. At least, that's presumably all that can be confirmed.
I have a feeling Americans for Prosperity is likely to get involved in this. There's a persistent Milwaukee blogger who's been writing about a lot of things Walkergate before they turn up in traditional press. One thing he had pointed out a while ago, which I haven't seen appear in traditional press yet, involves AFP. There was a Tea Party rally held in a Milwaukee park in 2009, at which there were banners with both Milwaukee County Parks & AFP logos on it. That coexistence crosses some legal lines as well.
I know, I know... there's probably some of you out there wondering whether I'm sporting a tinfoil cheesehead right about now. This blogger was accurate months ahead of time on some of the names and websites which appeared in recent indictments.
I don't think the FBI's involvement is fully known just yet. These Walkergate allegations could be handled just fine by that Milwaukee district attorney. They happened under his jurisdiction, and he'd be perfectly capable of handling them in the event that this were truly just a Milwaukee County matter.
It could be argued that the FBI became involved because of the "specific images" part of the investigation, I suppose... but the FBI's first known involvement was raiding the home of a staffer who had nothing to do with the child enticement/images part of it, months before those particular indictments came.
It's going to be one hell of a scandal once all is said and done.
I think Walker's fate is tied to this more than anything else at this point. His budget repair bill sparked epic protests and gotten him on the recall ballot, but I don't think that gets us all of the way there. Whether or not the scales tip in favor of recalling Walker is probably going to depend upon Walkergate.
To me, it's just a matter of whether he outdoes Rod Blagojevich at this point. If he does, it's going to be bleeping golden.
Now that the petitions are scanned and undergoing review, the question has turned to who will run...
First poll came out from Milwaukee's Marquette University, the school from which Walker dropped out. It was actually conducted by the UW professor who was my student government internship faculty advisor. It's the first poll to include specific Democrats against Scott Walker at this point. Walker currently leads amongst all four, with candidates still in the process of declaring. Scott Walker wins vs... Kathleen Falk 49-42 (former county executive in Madison area) Tom Barrett 50-44 (Milwaukee mayor & Walker's 2010 opponent) Dave Obey 49-43 (Retired longtime Congressman) Tim Cullen 50-40 (WI14 Senator) (Announced he was not running today.)
There was a People's Legislature held in Madison today, put on by Tom Garvey, who's something of an elder statesman in the state Democratic Party & also runs Fighting Bob Fest. Speakers and other sessions in the early hours with a candidate forum afterward. The big draw of the day was inviting any potential gubernatorial candidates to speak and take questions. Five showed up, half running & half not. Two who declared, two who won't, and one potential. The maybe in the field is Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, my favorite in the absence of Feingold. I told him as much when we met at the petition submission celebration. Got there about ten minutes late and sat in the back row just as he was finishing a speech before caucus. Missed the speech, but he singled out Tanya & I for a wave on his way out. Two Kathleens, Vinehout & Falk, who spoke were the only two declared candidates thus far. Kathleen Falk gave what seemed to be a stump speech which didn't get me going. Had some good things to say, but didn't seem to have that fire in the belly I want in my candidate. I must admit, I wasn't terribly fond of her when she was county executive in my Madison days. Kathleen Vinehout impressed me. She's one of the WI14 senators who had written an alternative-but-ignored budget proposal last year. She seemed passionate and knowledgeable and was the only one to stick around for Q&A. Could grow on me. The non-candidates who spoke were Secretary of State Doug La Follette (Fighting Bob's great-grandnephew) and Mahlon Mitchell from the firefighters union, both good for their own reasons.
Rumors of a Feingold run seem to have more legs lately than they have been the past couple months. They don't mean anything to me until we hear it from Russ, but thought it might be worth noting.
We are going on the first anniversary of Walker introducing his budget repair bill (which was today) and the start of protests at the capitol on the 13th/14th. I missed today's capitol rally because I had to work. I'll be at Tuesday's rally with my valentine, though.
What a year...
Updates Scott Walker gave the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C. this weekend. Worth noting that it's a presidential election year and three of the four candidates were also in attendance.
Wisconsin has less jobs now than when Walker began. Six straight months of job losses. Ranked 50th in job creation nationwide. Wisconsin's budget deficit this year increased by six million dollars compared to last.
The state received $140-some million in the mortgage/foreclosure settlement. Of the $31 million that's under Walker's control, $25 million will go towards plugging the hole in his budget rather than, Idunno... actually helping the people who got screwed in those deals.
State senators had until Thursday to submit their challenges to signatures. Recall committees have until Tuesday to respond to these challenges, followed by two days of rebuttal from targeted officials. Once that is through, the GAB will determine whether or not those petitions are sufficient to certify an election. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch will have their deadlines in the last week of February and first week of March, respectively. Wish I could share details of some of the challenges going on in my district. We're fairly confident our senate district's independent effort will land the Senate Majority Leader on the ballot, despite what he says.
Republicans enacted what is seen as a partisan redistricting map going into effect for November elections through the next decade. It has recently come to light that 75 Republicans in the state legislature (that is, pretty much all of them with 132 between both houses) were involved with signing secrecy pledges. These possibly run afoul of open meetings laws. There are also a couple legislative staffers who have been found to be working not out of the capitol, but from the law firm which was involved with drawing up the maps. Could be another scandal brewing there.
Only new thing I've heard regarding Walkergate is that investigators learned about and confiscated papers from a locked dumpster outside a county courthouse in Milwaukee. Possibly related to one of those recently charged beginning to cooperate?
Update on the Obama For America thing I had mentioned earlier: I applied, filled out their written scenario assessment, got an interview, was accepted in his spring fellowship program, and attended a training session in Madison last weekend with the expectation that I would begin building a local team and start working (albeit unpaid) on his campaign at this point. Earlier today, I wrote the regional director informing her of my decision to back out of the program. It probably cost me any chance of potential Obama campaign employment down the line, but I don't really care.
When I began the process around the new year, our expectation was that my senate district's recall would fall just short. We had a strong finish, getting 4K of our 20K signatures in the final week. Once the challenges are through, we think we will have triggered our unofficial recall after all. We're the little recall that could, after all...
The Democrats wouldn't file this one to begin with, and don't seem particularly interested in recruiting/running candidates themselves. Hell, some of them flat-out called us crazy for trying to get enough signatures to recall him. My friend Lori the petition filer is likely to run against Sen. Fitzgerald herself, and has gotten encouragement from some Democratic officials to do so. When I've gone to political events in Madison lately, I can't help but hear Lori's name being dropped in conversations. She's become something of a rock star in certain circles over the course of the past 2-3 months.
A Lori for Senate campaign is a unique opportunity. The establishment here is pretty much keeping at arm's length. Had Democratic staffers I worked with this summer tell me we were crazy for filing it to begin with. It started DIY and it appears it will probably stay DIY as things proceed. I think there would be a lot more potential for involvement/engagement in a Lori candidacy. Not to mention that when Lori was asking around amongst local recall team leaders for support before she made her decision to file this petition, I was the only one of the lot who said she should go for it. I offered my name and support and wound up being her only fellow committee member at the time of the filing. I had a hand in beginning this recall, and I feel an obligation to help see it through to the end.
It's going to be our scrappy group of volunteers taking on the entrenched Senate Majority Leader in a district more favorable to him than us, but it's going to be an uphill battle worth fighting. It will be a challenge, but one that I will welcome. I have the feeling that I could work on campaigns every election year for the rest of my life and never again have the opportunity to work on one which started like this, and I can't pass up the opportunity.
President Obama visited Milwaukee today. It is the first presidential visit to the state since all this began, when I can think of three or four other visits during his presidency prior.
The most prominent item on his agenda was a visit to a Master Lock factory in Milwaukee. This company got a mention in the State of the Union address for bringing jobs back to America from China. The factory is staffed by union workers.
Scott Walker was scheduled to go on a tour of the factory and stay around for the president's speech at the facility. Instead, just this morning, he claimed he could not due to stomach flu. Strangely, that did not preclude the governor from meeting the president on the tarmac at the airport.
Something doesn't seem quite right about that excuse...
Rough timeframe we're looking at: February 27th: Gov. Walker's deadline to file challenges to signatures on his recall petition. March 5th: Lt. Gov. Kleefisch's deadline to file challenges to signatures on her recall petition. March 12th: Government Accountability Board meets to determine how to proceed with Gov./Lt. Gov. recalls, and possibly other business. March 19th: GAB deadline to certify recall petitions and set an election date. Potential X-factor of legal challenges and such could delay the process here.
Six Tuesdays after recall elections declared: General elections where there will be no primary. Primary elections where multiple challengers wish to take on the incumbent. There is definitely a primary amongst those wishing to take on Walker. Four Tuesdays after that: Recall election for Walker & any other targeted incumbents whose district had a primary.
The earliest this is likely to happen is May 22nd/29th. (As I mentioned above, more likely June 5th.)
As I mentioned, Monday was Walker's deadline (despite his request for a second extension) to submit challenges to recall petition signatures. One Million signatures. Zero challenges.
These are the people who represent me in my state government. I hope this post helps to explain why I do what I gotta do.
This is Joel Kleefisch. He is the husband of Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and represents me in the Assembly. In this clip, he is Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World that day. (And props to him for not living in the area & getting Oconomowoc right.)
This isn't even really an isolated incident. I saw similar things go on in the capitol under the cover of night with my own eyes.
This is Scott Fitzgerald. He is the majority leader in the Senate. He is a previous ALEC state chair. He receives more money from out of state than from within our own district. He lives fifty miles from the capitol, but claimed twice the senate average in per diems - essentially giving himself a 36% raise. He had me blacklisted from receiving his email updates before I ever even initiated contact with his office. We don't call this place FitzWalkerstan because of Walker alone. Nothing gets through the state legislature without Scott and his brother Jeff, Speaker of the Assembly.
Here, in a clip nearly a year old, Scott Fitzgerald is basically admitting he's using state government for national political purposes.
This is another clip nearly a year old. It was taken during the WI14's exile. Here Scott Fitzgerald is with a joint committee motioning the controversial budget repair bill to the governor, over the objections of Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca. Barca found them in the process of passing this this five minutes before Democrats were expected to arrive from their caucus. This meeting is taking place with only 1h:45-50m notice. Normal circumstances dictate twenty-four hours, and even a "special session" such as this requires two hours notice.
A month after this, the county clerk in the reddest county in the state "found" 14K votes two days after the election, swinging the state supreme court election to the incumbent former Republican legislator... and then that court ruled what happened here was not illegal.
I have to bring these bastards up because Fitzgerald is going to be coming up in this thread fairly often. A glorious thing is, Fitz is facing recall. It is the one recall which was not filed with the official Democratic Party/United WI effort. It was filed by a volunteer friend of mine, Lori, who was upset to learn at a recall training that they weren't going after him and did it herself.
This afternoon, I attended Lori's event announcing her candidacy.
A couple other things, as long as I'm content-bombing this thread:
I have resigned myself to the fact that Russ Feingold is not going to run for governor. I thought that maybe, just maybe, he would change his mind once his book was out and he finished the resulting media tour. No such luck. After that, he announced he was going to be a national co-chair of the Obama reelection campaign.
June 18: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (Cambridge MA) June 19: Benjamin Booker (Pawtucket RI) June 23: Rush (Boston) July 24-26: Newport Folk July 30: Trampled By Turtles (Providence) Aug 7: Deftones / Incubus / DFA1979 (Mansfield MA) Oct 29: The Who (Boston)
Ugh... sneaking off from my volunteer duties to post. In anticipation of signature challenges after Monday, there has been data entry on all of these signatures. At least the Walker one. I've probably done upwards of five hundred myself these past couple days. That's more signatures than I collected, I'm sure. The guy across from me on the last shift was glad to enter his 500th signature as well.
So think about that when I say that Walker challenged zero signatures. He said early in the process that he had eleven thousand volunteers willing to help him enter that data & prepare for his challenge. With a million signatures, that works out to 90-100 signatures per volunteer. Average. Over thirty days.
I know our Recall Fitz crew entered 20,600 signatures (plus 1100 circulators) within the same timeframe - with thirty-some people.
That million signatures must have been really discouraging for those standing with Walker.
OK, back to work... another half hour, then I'm cutting out for dinner with some Democracy Addicts.
Remember when I randomly ran into a Twitter friend up in the Northwoods working one of the summer recalls? She's in Madison tonight/tomorrow. Meeting up. Beats staring at petitions like I have been the last 4-5 hours...
Not sure if this belongs here or in the Occupy thread (both?), but I've been reading a lot of posts about a call to action in early April.
Occupy Boston has a big issue lately with plans to drastically reduce service and increase fares for public transportation in and around the Boston area. It's pretty devastating when you see the proposals. The words I see are "Wisconsin style protest" ... aka, taking over the Massachusetts state house and flooding it with protesters, while the state has hearings on what to do with the transit authority.
So you all over in Wisconsin started a national trend.
June 18: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (Cambridge MA) June 19: Benjamin Booker (Pawtucket RI) June 23: Rush (Boston) July 24-26: Newport Folk July 30: Trampled By Turtles (Providence) Aug 7: Deftones / Incubus / DFA1979 (Mansfield MA) Oct 29: The Who (Boston)
In case you didn't notice, 2011 will go down in history as the year that democracy went viral.
There's something rather similar brewing in British Columbia. Teachers in the province have withdrawn their services for three days, which began today. It sounds as if teacher contracts were legislated, the teachers union wished to negotiate, and the provincial minister thus far hasn't. Budget needs were cited as a reason. From the strike announcement I saw, they will plan to do this one day per week ongoing until the administration meets for negotiations.
I see hundreds of students participating in walkouts, teacher rallies at the capitol, similar protest signs, "99%" rhetoric being used, and Tiwtter feed that reminds me a lot of #WIunion. I'm generally broke, but I will send them a pizza if they need it. Feeling a lot of solidarity watching from this from afar.
What's different there is that it seems to only affect public educators' unions, as opposed to all public sector unions. There also appears to be a Supreme Court decision of about a decade ago, which had decided against another administration's plans to rescind/restrict collective bargaining.
I'm going to be curious to see how all this plays out.
Michigan is going to have an interesting 2012 as well. Gov. Rick Snyder's controversial emergency financial manager law has been suspended by petition effort. It is suspended unless and until voters approve it on a November ballot. That's going to look more like what happened to SB5 in Ohio. We don't have a similar citizens' veto referendum process here in Wisconsin. If we had, the last year here could have looked a lot different. Recall Snyder seems to be picking up again. Looks like there's a "Recall 2.0 Kickoff" going on over there in May. It looks like they're going to refile and give it another try. Michigan's recalls don't go down the same way ours do. They will have the same threshhold of 25% of voters in the last election - about 807K in their case. They get more time, having to collect them over 90 consecutive days within a 180-day period.
Updates As of today's court session, we tentatively have a date set for this actual election: June 5th. I'm not considering anything definite until the GAB says so.
All four recall efforts against state senators, as well as the Lt. Gov., also appear to be a go.
Legislature's session ends this week, and it's been going fast and furious. Sessions going until 4am, the potential end of the contentious mining bill, lots of odds and ends, and social issues coming up. Silver lining: there was a resolution congratulating Bon Iver on the Grammy win which passed.
Scott Walker's scheduled time in January included 158 hours of personal time. That's nearly an entire week (which is 168 hours) not including any sleep or other downtime. Mostly spent on out-of-state fundraisers. He makes $144K a year. Recently talked about how he could "make some real money" when he leaves politics.
Walkergate update: Last Friday, Scott Walker officially created a legal defense fund. That can only be done for one of three reasons: 1. Charged with crime. 2. Convicted of crime. 3. Under investigation for a crime. Numbers 1 & 2 don't apply here, and Walker has earlier claimed that he was not a target of the investigation. Either he's lying, or said legal defense fund is illegal under state statutes. The head of the GAB says he's not legally allowed to comment - something that would happen if someone were involved in that John Doe investigation. Curious.
Wisconsin officially leads the U.S. in 2011 job losses. Only six states lost jobs. Every neighboring state gained jobs. Wisconsin had triple the amount of the state ranking 49th in job creation. Ugh.
Wisconsin GOP primary is April 3rd. Could be getting interesting around here.
That's not all, but that's all I've got time for now.
Odds are starting to look like I just might make it to Bonnaroo this year after all... ;D
The Wisconsin Senate has ended their session as of yesterday. The Assembly is currently around hour twenty-seven of a session which began at 10am yesterday.
Republican state senator Pam Galloway of Wausau, one of the four state senators targeted for recall, announced today that she is resigning effective immediately. Her replacement will be determined by the recall process already initiated. Her departure leaves the state senate evenly split at 16-16.
Our effort to recall Senate Majority LeaderSen. Scott Fitzgerald has a theme song, by the way. Looking forward to hearing this one down on the farm, circumstances permitting.
Example of why "Fitz & the Tantrums" is so appropriate is at about 2:15 in this clip:
This is from Valentine's Day, when he went way off-topic and called for adjournment until 12:01am.
Updates now, with a rant to follow if my girlfriend stays asleep here on the couch long enough to permit:
There are ten days until the GAB's deadline to declare an election. March 30th is their deadline. Campaigns are picking up in the meantime. Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin and a fixture at the protests, has declared his candidacy against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. There are rumors of other entries into the Democratic gubernatorial primary, a field which already has three declared candidates. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's 2010 opponent, is believed to be waiting until after Milwaukee's April 3rd election to decide/announce. Also possible is Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca.
Sen. Lena Taylor, WI14 Milwaukee Democrat, received an envelope filled with feces at her capitol office this week. The return address on the envelope suggested opposition to the Republican* mining bill which did not pass as the legislative session wound to a close. * I use the asterisk because I don't know if I can really say it came from the party. In the Assembly, the bill came out of committee without an author and - after some needling - Assembly Republicans named all of themselves as authors. If you ask Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, "the corporations started building that bill."
Two more state senate recalls may be beginning. Democratic Sen. Bob Jauch & Republican Sen. Dale Schultz would be targeted. The two had been crafting a compromise mining bill which did not see a vote. Schultz's vocal criticism against the mining bill was what killed the version put forth by Senate Republicans. He joined all sixteen Democrats in voting it down, 17-16. The recall against Jauch was filed for the group Citizens for Responsible Government. The woman filing on the group's behalf, Shirl LaBare, lost a run for Assembly in 2010 and is trying again. In 2010, the mining company behind the bill only gave money to four Wisconsin candidates and she & Walker were among them. I smell more pay for play. (As an aside, that mining bill - hell, even Walker's Act 10 of last year - would not have passed the current Wisconsin Senate in its current configuration. That's gotta count for something. Otherwise, I spent all last summer helping take those two GOP seats for naught.)
On March 10th, there were 60K+ people at the capitol for a Reclaim Wisconsin rally. I have pics, but I've had to swap SDs in my phone and they're not at the top of my to-do list just now. (I have a good deal of stuff I need to transfer/upload off that, sorry.)
On St. Patrick's Day, the Lori Compas for State Senate campaign had its official kickoff party. We probably had upwards of 250 in a packed park pavilion.
Recall elections were officially certified today for May 8th & June 5th. May 8th will be primary elections where needed or general elections where there are no primaries. June 5th is the general election for any recalls in which there will be a May 8th primary. (At this point, this only includes Walker until other primary candidates announce.)
Now that the recall election schedule definitely does not conflict with Bonnaroo attendance, I am pleased to announce that I will be able to accept a QSAROO scholarship ticket. I'll be overworked, underslept, broke & potentially missing the biggest celebration in Wisconsin history outside of a Packers Super Bowl win... but I'll be there ;D
Out of curiousity, how many people even voted in the last Wisc gubernatorial election? Just wondering how it compares to the number of signatures collected.
Wisconsin statute to initiate a recall is one-quarter of the previous electorate which put the official into office. In the case of Scott Walker, the threshhold was 540,208. Multiply that by four, and you get 2,160,832. That is how many people voted in the 2010 Wisconsin gubernatorial election.
(Video by Arthur from the aforementioned Reclaim Wisconsin rally.)
I remember when I first met Lori. It was July, outside an establishment in her hometown Fort Atkinson awaiting Walker's arrival for a private event. I was sporting Forward Cheesehead & holding a "Recall Walker" banner. She took a picture, said "I think we follow each other on Twitter," smiled and moved on before we could talk.
She's a wife and mother of two from Fort Atkinson. Married to a geography professor, which you can't help but love given the surname. She is a wedding photographer/small business owner, also involved with her kids' school and a local gardening club. Arguably the nicest person I've had the pleasure of knowing along the way.
Lori has popped up in this thread from time to time. Whether it was taking that picture of me with the heart balloons last summer, a pre-recall meeting where we thought we would be torn new ones but instead got a wink and a nod, working the Recall Fitz table at the kickoff rally, attending Fitzgerald office hours, turning in the first petition to be filed on submission day... my journal here will show she's been here most of the way.
She has admitted that when all this began, she probably couldn't have told you that Scott Fitzgerald was her state senator or recognized his name. Now, as you see, she is speaking before a crowd of sixty thousand as a candidate in the race to recall the majority leader. It's been quite a year in Wisconsin.
Lori filed the Recall Fitz petition on the same day the other petitions were filed. I went to a recall training/info session in November down in Fort Atkinson a few days after being chosen as a local team leader. That close before the filing, the official effort was keeping its cards close to its chest - they had said how many state senators they would target, but not which ones. We were told that Sen. Fitzgerald was not among them. With one week notice, and a little help from friends including myself, Lori drafted and filed the petition on her own.
We circulated petitions against Fitzgerald just as we did with the recalls from the official effort. Our threshhold was 16,742 signatures. We suspected all along that it was going to be close, whichever way things went. The effort was entirely independent for the majority of the time. With about ten days to go, We Are Wisconsin lent us a professional organizer. With three days to go, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin finally started to send export volunteers from Madison/Milwaukee into the district. Recall Fitz hit its trigger number with about a week remaining in our efforts. With a little help from some friends, we turned in 20,600 signatures, survived the review challenges, and put Sen. Fitzgerald on the ballot - tying his fate to Scott Walker.
We were told it couldn't be done. I had a Democratic staffer tell me we were "crazy." Maybe we are, but we got the job done. At least, the easy part...
We're up against a lot of disadvantages here, but we're still going up against them. Fitzgerald is the entrenched party leader with name recognition. He's going to spend millions, while we have maybe $40k. He's had Paul Ryan fundraise for him, there have been Wisconsin GOP fundraisers in D.C. on behalf of embattled incumbents. We'll be outspent, but maybe not outmanned. We had eleven hundred people pass around Lori's petitions and (hopefully) willing to keep up the fight. It's fairly clear that this is a battle between money from outside the district versus boots on the ground within the district. Complicating the situation is that, like all six recall races, the Republicans are entering a "fake Democrat" candidate in the race to force a primary.
Quite frankly, I don't think I have ever seen - and may never again see - the choice between good and evil so clearly delineated on a ballot.
Within our movement, especially in Madison, Lori is something of a rock star. Out where we live, we're in a district that leans Republican by double digits with polls showing an even split on the incumbent. The independent, unconventional nature of this race and our target - I dare say - make Lori vs. Fitz the marquee state senate race here. It's an uphill battle, but one worth fighting.
We submitted Lori's nomination papers to the GAB yesterday. Normally, a candidate for this office has ten days to gather between 400-800 signatures to get on the ballot. We collected 920 signatures in seven hours on Saturday alone, and 1800 over the entire weekend.
That's a bit about Lori. I think I needed to share a bit about what's going on at the senate district level before things get too hectic, because this race is nearly as important to me as the one to recall Walker.
I should also mention that my local office, though focusing on the Walker/Kleefisch recalls as well, is technically a Compas for Senate office. The state Democratic Party wouldn't be touching this district were it not for Lori. Our options for establishing the office and being able to accept donations were limited to three choices. We could either pay entirely out of our own pockets, do so by starting a PAC - which would legally prohibit us from coordinating with Lori's campaign, or be a Lori for Senate office ourselves. We chose the path of being a Compas campaign office. This should help explain why I'm soliciting funds for her campaign with my new signature.
Updates Wisconsin Spring Election Today Today is the Wisconsin presidential primary and spring elections.
Scott Walker has not made any public appearances with any candidate. Paul Ryan has been making the rounds with Mitt Romney. Romney did pay a visit to a Walker campaign office over the weekend.
My friend Jenna tried to get into a Romney town hall meeting, ostensibly open to the public with an RSVP. She was asked to leave by security for being a "known protester."
There is a "Verify the Recall" database which was put together by Walker's Tea Party allies, although not allowed to be used in challenging signatures. This has been used by those on the right in attempts to discredit/attack candidates and judges who signed the petition. (It is possible that this is why Jenna was asked to leave the Romney event.)
JoAnne Kloppenburg, the candidate who nearly defeated Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in last spring's elections, is on the ballot for an Appellate Court Judge position. Hoping this one works better.
Odds & Ends Some unions had taken Walker's budget repair bill (Act 10) to court. The result was something of a split decision. Parts of Act 10 were upheld because the judges did not believe the plaintiffs had a strong enough case under the Equal Protection clause. Two major provisions of Act 10 were deemed unconstitutional and thrown out. Union recertification votes can no longer require an absolute majority of all membership to be valid, returning to a majority of those present. Wisconsin must also allow union dues to be deducted from members' paychecks on or before the end of May.
There are officially four Democrats in the primary to challenge Walker in the recall. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker in 2010, officially joined the race. Polls show Walker narrowly trailing a generic Democratic candidate, and within the margin of error against specific named Democrats.
Rumor has it Scott Walker was seen slipping into the Milwaukee County courthouse early this morning. Either he was slinking in there to cast his vote without fanfare, which seems uncharacteristic for a politician, or he was there for reasons relating to the ongoing John Doe investigation.