Could the plot thicken for some GOP senators this year?

There’s been a lot of talk this week about how people have to give Scott Walker a year in office before he is “eligible” to be recalled, by law. As the first six weeks of his administration have already shown, this is a fellow that can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. He’s lost more than $830 million in high-speed rail and broadband stimulus money, together with the jobs and infrastructure improvements those investments would represent. He’s cut into consumer protection with a tort “reform” measure that removes incentives to seek justice by diminishing the responsibility that defendants will have to take in certain cases. He’s gone after environmental protections. He wants to sell state-owned power production to corporations so we can pay double-digit returns to the new owners instead of retaining that cost savings for the people of the state.

But the most brazen insult has been to try to strip union rights away from public employees in a move that everyone understands will ripple down from the state to the counties and municipalities. It will continue the process of lowering the standard of living for many other people in Wisconsin who may not realize that they will share in the loss, as hundreds of millions of dollars in discretionary income are sucked out of their markets. The only thing that delayed it was his need to pass some business tax cuts first. Tens of thousands of people stormed the capital. But it seems that carrying water for the Club for Growth, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Koch Brothers means more to the governor and some legislators than making sure their actions are measured, fair and limited to what is truly necessary to balance the budget. (There is a reason that I always run the guv’s picture with the Americans for Prosperity background. It’s because people need to remember where he’s coming from and where he’s going.)

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Article XIII, §12

 Recall of elective officers. Section 12. [As created Nov. 1926 and amended April 1981] The qualified electors of the state, of any congressional, judicial or legislative district or of any county may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective officer after the first year of the term for which the incumbent was elected, by filing a petition with the filing officer with whom the nomination petition to the office in the primary is filed, demanding the recall of the incumbent.

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It would be great if some of the tremendous energy brought to bear by the people of Wisconsin who stood up for themselves, their friends, their neighbors and their communities could be channeled into something that could make a near-term difference in the way that our state is being governed. Fortunately, that is the case.

What is making it possible for Governor Walker to promote and pass so much backward, reactionary policy so quickly is that he has GOP majorities in both houses of the legislature and they’re only too willing to rubber stamp his radical agenda. It would be a good idea to let the GOP Senators who are up for re-election in 2012 know that their day of reckoning could be moved into this year. Successfully recalling even one lawmaker who jumps into bed for gutting worker rights in Wisconsin would send a powerful message. Get three in the Senate and Walker would be, well, closed for business.

So without further ado, here are the Republican senators that would be subject to recall this year, if the voters of their districts should choose to make it so. And I promise, I will add any Democratic senators to this list who vote for Walker’s bogus budget repair measure – (but don’t hold your breath, because it’s not happening):

District 2, Rob Cowles, Green Bay

District 8, Alberta Darling, River Hills

District 10, Sheila Harsdorf, River Falls

District 14, Luther Olsen, Ripon

District 18, Randy Hopper, Fond du Lac

District 20, Glen Grothman, West Bend

District 28, Mary Lazich, New Berlin

District 32, Dan Kapanke, La Crosse

Of those, several would be a waste of time to try to unseat because their districts are such that the only way for someone to win against an incumbent would be to campaign as being even more conservative than the incumbent. (In the case of someone like Glen Grothman, that is probably not even possible.) But at least five of them — Cowles, Harsdorf, Olsen, Kapanke and possibly Hopper – for them, this issue could be enough to undo them or at least cause an expensive extra defense of their seats that would have an uncertain outcome, provided good challengers can be recruited and funded. People in those districts need to let these senators know that this is a bottom line issue, for which there will be no forgiveness if they miss the call, whether this year or next.


UPDATE: She’s not everybody’s Darling… Former Dem Assembly Rep. Dr. Sheldon Wasserman indicates he could be a candidate vs. GOP Sen. Alberta  Darling:

UPDATE: The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is now raising funds to recall the “eligible” GOP senators:


8 Responses to “Could the plot thicken for some GOP senators this year?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Rosenberg and Jim Rosenberg, WalkerWatch. WalkerWatch said: RT @jdrosenberg: WI Senators in even-numbered districts are constitutionally "eligible" for recall filings. […]

  2. Alberta Darling could be in jeopardy too; she didn’t win her seat by an overwhelming margin in 2008, and no doubt the Democrats could find a decent candidate to throw up if a recall were successful.

  3. Annette Cowling Says:

    Thanks for the information. Glen Grothman was on hand to speak in Madison tonight, attempting to defend Governor Walker’s plan to balance the budget, or shall we say, phase out unions in Wisconsin. I hope the Democrats stay out of sight for as long as it takes. Wisconsin is getting the national attention it really needs right now.

  4. This is a brilliant idea. Set it up. Let’s do it. !!

  5. Found this post through Facebook, was really inspired as an idea that was positive and something that can be done NOW. Whipped up a flyer that can be passed out at future rallies in the hopes of reaching people in those areas, attributed the idea to this post but if you want I can remove the footer, just let me know.

  6. There’s no need to credit me. It’s YOUR constitution, too!

  7. Just some quick observations: I don’t think I would separate out the group that is “less vulnerable” to recalls. That was a rather random observation on my part and while it might have some merit from a practical standpoint, an earlier comment already pointed out that I likely missed some possibilities (and I accept that, gladly.) I also think that while it’s important to know who is subject to immediate recall, they will need to be taken on a case-by-case basis.

    A danger of something like a recall effort is the old “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger” mentality. Think about that as it applies to incumbents and also use a “reasonable person” standard as you think about the constituencies involved. (For example, I’ve had situations in the past where I wouldn’t necessarily sign a recall petition on someone, but would happily vote for an opponent in the next regularly scheduled election.)

    Beware of idle threats. A good analysis needs to be made in each case, including polling and message testing. Failed attempts waste time, resources and political capital. It’s important to pick and carefully plan fights that can be won (but as I pointed out in the post, there may be some of those.) It will be important to see how this shakes out and then evaluate the environment at that time.

  8. Good points, and I’ve updated the flier a bit, but overall I think it’s a good and positive idea and way of reaching people in those areas. Anyone reading this can print and share the flier here:

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