I was a little skeptical last week when Wisconsin Democrats released the first batch of signatures for their recall campaign against Governor Scott Walker. They'd gathered over 100,000 signatures in four days, an impressive haul no doubt, but the first batch of supporters were always going to be the easiest to bring around. State election law requires that the signatures exceed 25 percent of the ballots cast in the relevant election, totaling over 540,000 in Walker's case.
After two weeks of campaigning, though, a recall election is now a near certainty. United Wisconsin—the group behind the recall effort—announced yesterday that they have collected 300,000 signatures over the course of 12 days, easily setting them on a path to gain the minimum number in the 60-day window for their campaign. This widespread eagerness among the base also augurs well for the recall election itself. Walker's poll numbers have bounced back after they tumbled during his showdown with labor last spring, but a recall election will likely have a smaller turnout that is decided by enthusiasm than general polling. If United Wisconsin submits enough signatures, the recall election would be penciled in for March, though that date will likely be delayed because legal wranglings.
Walker is already on the television with his second commercial since the recall campaign got underway. He doesn't actually appear in it himself this time around; instead he recruited a teacher to call the effort "sour grapes." There will be numerous more ads to come as Walker gears up to defend his seat in what might prove to be an unusually expensive campaign; exceptions to Wisconsin election law remove the cap on individual donations during recall elections, creating a free-for-all where high dollar donors will have a large say in the outcome.