Organizers of the recall effort against Wisconsin's Senate majority leader said Monday they've gathered more than 12,000 signatures in a bid to wrestle control of state politics from Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers.
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, would face a recall election if his opponents get 16,742 names. Three other Republican senators, Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls, and Van Wanggaard of Racine, also face recall scrutiny.
While Fitzgerald said he was focused on getting companies to start hiring again, those attempting to recall him said Fitzgerald hasn't done the job constituents elected him to do.
"None of Walker's controversial policies would be in effect today if he didn't have a buddy in the Legislature pushing it through," said Lori Compas, who leads the Committee to Recall Scott Fitzgerald. "No matter where you stand on the issues, you need to see that we live in a society that has rules, and you need to follow the rules. He (Fitzgerald) simply hasn't been doing that."
The group has just 16 days to collect about 4,700 signatures. They might get the needed amount, but voters are getting tired of recalls, Fitzgerald said.
"I'm getting a great response from constituents, a lot of people fed up with the recalls, a lot of fatigue out there," Fitzgerald said. "When they see it's going to be millions of dollars the taxpayers are going to have to pay, there's going to be some people pretty unhappy with the process."
Senate Republicans will focus this winter on bills promoting venture capital investments and northern Wisconsin mining jobs, Fitzgerald said. The session is scheduled to end before recall elections would get underway, so that won't hamper the GOP's efforts, he added.
Lori Compas' recall bid in Jefferson and Dodge counties is independent of the state Democratic Party, she said. The party is leading the efforts in the other three districts and will not release signature tallies there, said Steve Potter, a spokesman for the Democrats.
Compas said she's getting help from around the state to recall Fitzgerald.
"In a lot of the districts around ours, people say it's pretty much saturated. They're saying no one's stopping to sign anymore; they go knocking on doors and people have already signed," Compas said. "So, they're coming to help us out, which is great."
Man Who Started Walker Recall Bows Out
The man who officially started the recall effort against Walker has bowed out.
The state Government Accountability board terminated the committee of David Brandt at his request, said Mike Haas, staff counsel for the agency.
Brandt, a one-time donor to Walker's campaign, may not have been prepared for the attention he received from both sides after filing paperwork Nov. 4, Haas said.
Democrats accused his recall effort as being a Republican ploy because it allowed Walker to begin raising unlimited campaign cash early. Democrats with United Wisconsin planned -- and did -- begin their recall effort Nov. 15.
The GAB notified Brandt last month that he had left off required information, such as his bank account, on his statement of intent. Brandt then told GAB officials he did not intend to follow through with recall activities, Haas said.