WAUWATOSA -- Thousands of people gathered in a Wauwatosa park to rally in support of Gov. Scott Walker on Saturday.
Organizers called the rally a "Celebrate Walker" rally, and a dozen Republicans were set to speak. Organizers say this was their response to the recall against Governor Walker.
"The most important reason for this is rally is for our base to get back together and say ok, this recall looks like it's gonna happen, so let's get together and let's get the ground troops rolling," Walker supporter Santo Ingrilli said.
Republican speakers included Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, First Lady Tonette Walker, Sen. Van Wanggaard and Former Governor Tommy Thompson.
Speaking to the crowd, Tonette Walker called the rally long overdue. "I've waited a long time to see a rally on the other side," Walker said. "I thank you. Scott thanks you. My children thank you. Everyone here in Wisconsin thanks you for finally stepping up."
Kleefisch, who is also facing a recall election, asked the crowd to fight to keep Republican lawmakers in office. "I think that you're seeing that the silent majority that you hear so much about, isn't so silent anymore," Kleefisch said.
There was also a counter-rally just outside the park where dozens of people marched in support of the recall effort against Walker. Wisconsin Democratic Party Spokesman Graeme Zielinski said on Thursday he was planning to count the number of people who attended and compare it to last year's rallies in Madison. "I think it's a good time for his supporters to rally around him. He's failing, clearly. If they can't get 50,000 folks out here, it will pale in comparison to the protests against Scott Walker," Zielinski said.
Zielinski points to the one million signatures filed in Madison this week as evidence Walker might not survive a recall election. "Let's have an election as soon as possible. He said he wants to put his record before the people of Wisconsin and frankly we agree," Zielinski said.
Paris Procopis says the pro-Walker rally was organized via Facebook and came together quickly. He says he welcomed the counter-demonstrators, saying they're exercising their democratic rights, too.
Walker opponents on Tuesday said they turned in more than a 1.9 million signatures to recall Walker and five other Republicans. Walker touched off weeks of protests last year with a proposal, now law, taking away public unions' bargaining rights.