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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 04:44 PM ET, 04/18/2011

Can Dems take back Wisconsin state senate?

There’s still a very long way to go. But for the first time, it’s fair to say that the possibility, as improbable as it still seems, is now in play.

Today Dems announced that they will file the signatures necessary to trigger a third recall election against a Wisconsin GOP state senator. The target this time: Luther Olsen.

Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, tells me that Dems will file 23,931 signatures. That means Dems have collected 162% of the 14,733 required.

This comes after Dems recently announced that they had collected 145 percent of the signatures required to trigger a recall election against GOP state senator Dan Kapanke, and over 150 percent of the number required against senator Randy Hopper.

What this means: It is now all but certain that — despite any challenges to the veracity of signatures — there will be three elections held to recall GOP state senators. And Dems need to net three recall wins to recapture the state senate.

To be sure, Republicans are collecting signatures for their own recall drives against Democratic state senators. But the deadline for signatures for the recall of Dems is only a week away, and the GOP has not yet announced anything.

Dems view Olsen as a ripe target, because early on he described Scott Walker’s plan to roll back bargaining rights as “radical,” before going on to vote for it anyway. And David Dayen notes that Obama won Olsen’s district in 2008 — back when Scott Walker’s proposal was a mere gleam in David Koch’s eye — by five points, 52-47.

No question, Dems have a long way to go in the quest to take back the state senate. There hasn’t been any recent polling on Olsen and the recall, and unlike in the cases of Kapanke and Hopper, a credible Dem challenger has not yet emerged.

But it’s worth noting that even though there have been only four recall elections triggered in the state’s entire history, Wisconsin Dems are on the verge of managing it three times in a matter of months. It’s yet another way that this year’s events in Wisconsin are unprecedented.

By  |  04:44 PM ET, 04/18/2011

 
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