As GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum campaign in Wisconsin, battling it out for tomorrow's (April 3) primary, the state is still reeling from Friday's announcement that Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker will face a recall election June 5.
That makes Walker the third governor in the nation to face a recall, and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) becomes the first lieutenant governor to face one, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921 and California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 also faced recalls, the Sentinel said.
Walker told reporters Friday he earned the trust of the majority of voters in 2010, and he hopes to do the same in June, the Associated Press reported.
The race already has national implications. “This election will be the first major battleground of the 2012 cycle, and what happens in Wisconsin has major implications for the direction of both Wisconsin and our great nation,” the Wisconsin Democratic Party said in a blog posting Friday.
The New York Times reported that Walker has raised more than $12 million and that more half of the money came from individual donors from other states. Under state law, targets of recall efforts are exempt from ordinary fund-raising limits until a recall election is formally certified, as Walker's was on Friday, the paper explained.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat who Walker narrowly defeated in 2010, announced he would begin campaigning to win the May 8 Democratic primary.
Recall elections also were set for four Wisconsin Republican state senators. The state Republican Party said last Friday it essentially would run fake Democrats in all the races, ensuring there will be primaries. “The protest candidates will run as Democrats to guarantee that there is one clear date for the primary election and one clear date for the general election,” the party said in a statement.
Also on Friday (March 30), a federal judge in Madison ruled that portions of the collective bargaining law that prompted Walker's recall election were unconstitutional. The judge took issue with a portion of the law that requires some public unions — not public safety-related unions — to hold annual votes by members to remain in existence, and with a provision that bars governments from withholding a worker's union dues, both measures labor leaders see as efforts to weaken unions, The Times reported. The judge's decision did not affect the strict limits the law set on collective bargaining rights for most public workers, however, the paper explained.