Walker opponents announce they have over 500,000 signatures for recall

GLENDALE -- Thursday, the Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate announced over 500,000 signatures have been collected in the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker in just 30 days. That's 18,000 signatures a day, and there are 30 days to go. 540,208 valid signatures are needed to force a recall election of Governor Walker, and Thursday, the Governor all but conceded there will be an election, but renewed a call for civility.

Walker opponents said Thursday they've collected enough signatures in the recall effort to fill Lambeau Field nearly seven times, fill Miller Park 11 times, and fill Camp Randall six times. If they continue on their current pace, they should pass the number of required signatures to trigger a recall election by this weekend. Walker opponents say the Governor hasn't been honest and respectful with the public, and they say the number of signatures collected thus far shows that. "Your strength and determination has allowed us to collect more than 507,000 signatures to recall Scott Walker," Tate said during Thursday's announcement.

But despite the very visible signature-gathering effort of his opponents, Governor Walker says he has thousands of silent supporters, many of whom have signed up to examine the validity of the signatures collected, and challenge the questionable ones. Walker sought to downplay the announcement by his opponents Thursday. "So you may have less than a quarter of all the people who voted for Governor force a new election. That's the law, whether you like it or not. That's the law.  The bottom line is, I can't complain about what the law is and how a distinct minority can force the majority to have a new election. All I can do is keep focusing on what a majority of people elected me to do in the first place," Walker said. Walker says his controversial budget reforms are working to improve the state's economic climate, even if the jobs aren't coming fast. "Even though we've had a tough couple of months, we've still seen our unemployment rate drop off, while Illinois' has gone up. We're headed in the right direction," Walker said.

Tate says when the signatures are handed in, Governor Walker will have to eat those words. "I can tell you, this is not the minority forcing this election.  You don't go and collect half a million signatures in 30 days if it's a minority of people who want to speak. You don't collect 700,000 signatures in 60 days if it's just a minority," Tate said.

Governor Walker can continue to collect unlimited campaign donations until 540,208 signatures are verified, officially triggering the recall election. As the recall effort continues, Walker has called for civility, invoking the "Spirit of Wisconsin," which he says demands respect, despite differences. "Never personalize your differences, because your opponent today could be your ally tomorrow. I believe the office I was elected to requires me to act with the dignity and decorum of the Governor," Walker said.

Walker opponents say their goal is to collect 720,000 signatures by the January 17th deadline, but Tate said Thursday they're not ruling out the possibility of turning in the signatures early if they reach their internal goal.