MADISON (WSAU) For the first time in Wisconsin history, a recall election against a sitting governor will be certified and scheduled today. The Government Accountability Board said yesterday that almost 901-thousand petition signatures were found to be valid for Republican Scott Walker’s recall. And almost 809-thousand signatures were valid for a separate recall vote against Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. That’s well above the 540-thousand needed to order each contest. The recall efforts were triggered by last year’s Republican approval of a law which virtually ended collective bargaining privileges for most state-and-local public employee unions. Walker said the law was necessary to help balance a state budget that was billions of dollars in debt. Democrats said the move was meant only to silence public unions and take away their power.
Ben Sparks of the state G-O-P said it was no surprise that enough signatures were obtained to order the recalls. He said Wisconsin voters are quote, “more than ready to combat these liberal union activists to protect the vote they cast in 2010,” when Walker and Kleefisch were first elected. State Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski called the petition drive the greatest in American history because of quote, “Scott Walker’s radical overreach and abuse of power.” Primaries are tentatively set for May eighth in the Walker and Kleefisch recall contests, along with those in four G-O-P state Senate districts. General elections are set for June fifth. Only two governors have ever been recalled in the U-S – Lynn Frazier of North Dakota in 1921, and Gray Davis of California in 2003.