Recall Walker effort launched, possible challengers emerge
By Tom Murray. CREATED Oct 11, 2011
MILWAUKEE - Republican Governor Scott Walker deflected questions about the newly unveiled recall effort against him.
"The only campaign we're focused on is helping the private sector of the state," Walker told reporters during an event in La Crosse.
Democrats contend they have hard numbers to support a recall.
"We conducted a poll that showed the deep appetite for recalling Scott Walker," said party spokesperson Graeme Zielinski.
Organizers plan to circulate petitions beginning November 15th. They need to collect signatures at a rate of more than 10,000 per day.
"We're going to have this carried out over the period of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, so that's a complication," said University of Wisconsin political science expert Charles Franklin.
To remove Walker from office, opponents need 540,206 signatures by mid January. Signatures must survive legal challenges. Democrats need to find a candidate and there may be a primary. Then, that candidate would need to beat Walker in a statewide election as early as Spring 2012.
Possible candidates are already emerging.
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said he plans to be active in the recall effort and will attend events throughout Wisconsin.
"I will think about it," Erpenbach said when asked if will be a candidate.
A consultant for former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk says Falk is "open to a run for governor."
Retired congressman David Obey is even leaving the door open to running against Walker, though Obey said he would prefer to have outgoing Senator Herb Kohl or Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett seek the post.
"There is a lot Walker has done that I find appalling," Obey told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray. "Anything is possible."
Barrett lost to Walker in the 2010 governor's race and was asked about being considered again.
"I'm not surprised, given that I ran last time and I ran a very competitive race," Barrett said, though he said he is focused on winning mayoral reelection.
Organizers will have a 60 day window to collect signatures once they start circulating petitions. Democrats plan to open several regional offices to coordinate the recall.