Gov. Walker to face recall election
The WTMJ News Team
Steve Chamraz reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MADISON - On Friday morning, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board declares a historic recall election involving Republican Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four GOP state senators.
"It'll be close," said Governor Walker about the impending race he'll be involved in this spring. He joined both Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" and TODAY'S TMJ4's Live at Daybreak on Friday morning.
"We had talked six months ago, I said there'd be an election. When the out of state special interests came in and really drove up things, we knew the resources would be there to have an election like this."
Enough valid signatures were already counted to bring about recalls against Senators Scott Fitzgerald, Pam Galloway (who has since decided to vacate her office), Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard.
An additional election is expected to be set for the district which former Senator Galloway served before she resigned following recall efforts.
"I think Scott Walker's days in office are numbered," said Democratic spokesman Graeme Zielinski. "The message is that Scott Walker abused his power. He wasn't honest with the people."
"Walker has made Wisconsin a leader in job loss and criminal political corruption," Zielinski added on Friday.
"He has divided the state in a way like no other governor and shows no stopping his dishonest, power-mad ways. This recall was forced upon Wisconsin by Scott Walker, and now he will face the accountability he has so desperately sought to avoid."
Walker outlined the importance of turnout in deciding a recall election, while citing what he calls his record in comparison to past governors.
"I think we can tell there's probably the clearest contrast in the country. Do we go back to the days of double digit tax increases, billion dollar deficits and record job loss, or do we build off the positive foundation we've built to move our state forward? The last two months, we've had more than 17,000 private sector jobs, our unemployment rate is down below 7% for the first time since 2008."
Debate, political divide has grown more intense than ever in Wisconsin
Governor Walker responded to questions Friday about the political culture in Wisconsin that has perhaps more divided than ever.
He claims that the emotion and intensity of that divide comes from non-Wisconsin political forces, particularly on the Democratic side, after the events of Capitol Chaos in February 2011.
"Most of this happened about this time last year as people and money started coming in from outside of our state," said Walker.
"Last year, when we started seeing bodies come in from places like Chicago, New York and Washington and others that were shipped in and bussed in, we started seeing the tens of millions of dollars coming in from out of our state, that's where the intensity started to really peak. My hope is that after June 5th, once the recalls are done, those folks will move on to other states, the money, influence and bodies they're bringing in will move on to other states."
Walker admitted, however, that Democrats did not have the only outside influence on recent politics in Wisconsin.
"That includes people on all sides of the issue. It started when you had the national big government unions come in, but I think others have come in from all across the political spectrum."
The Governor explained that Wisconsin, what's often referred to as a "purple" state in terms of how it votes in elections, has often had political divides.
"This state in the past has almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. It continues to be today," said Walker.
"The difference is that we've always been respectful and civil about our differences. We've had passionate debates and we've moved on."
Election schedule includes May, June dates
Primary elections would be scheduled for Tuesday, May 8th, along with any general elections for races where no primaries would be needed.
If primaries are required in particular races, general elections would happen on June 5th.
Candidates running in a recall election have until April 10th to file nomination papers.
Kathleen Falk and Tom Barrett (should he decide to run for governor) have been offered opportunities to come live in-studio for interviews about a recall race.