MILWAUKEE -- Walker opponents announced Thursday that more than half a million signatures were gathered in the recall effort against Governor Walker in just 30 days, and there is mixed reaction from many on the recall topic in general, but the reaction many share is that of surprise at how quickly things are moving along.
Ice skaters at Red Arrow Park Thursday had mixed opinions on whether Governor Walker is skating on thin ice, and whether he will ultimately fall. "We've been fighting this for so long. I was part of the fight, and I'm glad this is finally happening," one person said. Another said Thursday: "All the teachers that I know actually think it's a good thing what Walker's done."
Another person said they're amazed, after being skeptical the recall organizers would reach half a million signatures at all, let alone in 30 days.
UW-Milwaukee Governmental Affairs Professor Moredecai Lee says up until Thursday, much of the recall talk has been just talk, but now there are hard facts, in the form of signatures and the announcement of numbers on the table. The fact that they've got half a million signatures has got to be interpreted as meaning that support for the recall is much wider and much broader than anyone had really realized. This isn't just a bunch of activists, or this isn't just a bunch of teachers who are sour grapes. Half a million Wisconsinites is a lot of people," Lee said.
While recall organizers say they're far from finished gathering signatures, as they hope to collect 720,000 by the January 17th deadline, no one offers any doubt they will reach their goal. Lee says after that, Republicans can appeal questionable signatures, and this could delay a potential recall election further with court challenges. Lee says when the recall election does happen, it will be different from the politics of yesteryear. "It's changed from persuading the persuadables, to turning out your base, and that's what the recall movement is now. They're reaching their base, and that's what the election would be about, turning out their base," Lee said.
Lee says he believes the new voter ID law will be very important in the recall election. Critics say requiring photo IDs of voters may keep many lower-income people from voting - people who most likely would vote to recall Walker.