Walker Foes Plan to Launch Recall With Pajama Parties, 'Midnight Madness'
Opponents of Gov. Scott Walker are planning a slew of pajama parties, Green Bay Packers viewing parties and "midnight madness"-themed events to kick off their historic effort to recall the new Republican governor, which is set to begin at midnight.
"Be the first in your neighborhood to have your petitions in hand as we head into day one of our historic effort to recall Scott Walker," the Democrats' website says of a "Petition Pick Up Party." "Bonus points to anyone with recall themed PJs!"
Dozens of events were planned across the state late Monday night and Tuesday to start gathering the more than 540,000 signatures that would be required to get a Walker recall election on the ballot in 2012. Supporters would have until Jan. 17 to turn in their petitions to the state Government Accountability Board.
Democrats on Monday also said they plan to target at least three more Republican senators for recall this year, including Sens. Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine.
Wanggaard, who has been in office since January, said he has been anticipating a recall but won't be focusing on it.
"We just have to keep doing the people's work," he said. "I have been bipartisan and worked across the aisle, and I think I have been pretty proactive. I can't let this bother me or slow me up. We have to be a voice for everybody."
The freshman senator is seen as vulnerable because he represents a district that historically teeters between Republican and Democrat.
Mike Tate, chairman of the state's Democratic Party, said those districts are being targeted because middle-class families in those areas had been represented by lawmakers looking out for their best interests but aren't any longer.
Independent recall petitions could still be filed by other groups targeting Republicans or Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he expects to be targeted for recall, too. And he said he expects a GOP supporter — probably someone who wants to recall Democratic Sen. Julie Lassa of Stevens Point — to file a lawsuit arguing that recalls should take place in the new districts approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature this summer, rather than the old ones.
Fitzgerald added that the GOP doesn't plan to file any recall paperwork on Tuesday, but he won't take recalling Democrats off the table as an option. He said Republicans would likely wait until after the holidays before targeting Democrats and, if they do file, would likely focus first on Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma.
Fitzgerald also said he would run fake Democrats again in recall elections targeting GOP incumbents to give them more time to campaign.
The official recall hasn't yet begun, but Republicans are already questioning whether recall fatigue has set in in the wake of this summer's wave of recalls.
"There are a lot of people out there who are sick of politics, and here we have another round of recalls," said Stephan Thompson, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Republicans are launching a new "Recall Integrity Center" as the recalls begin. Thompson said the website is "designed to protect the integrity of the signature-gathering process and (will) be a valuable resource for Wisconsin voters who have witnessed any wrongdoing or suspect foul play by Wisconsin Democrats or big-government union bosses."
The GOP says voters can submit videos, recordings, photos and incident reports, which will reportedly be investigated by Republican staff members, retired law enforcement and FBI agents.
"It sounds a lot like stalking," Tate said of the Republicans' efforts.