When Democrats file petitions to trigger an election to recall Wisconsin GOP state senator Randy Hopper, as they’ve announced they will do today, they will be submitting nearly 24,000 signatures — over 150 percent of the total required, a Wisconsin Democratic Party official tells me.
That is a very big number, and importantly, this marks the second time Dems have produced a massive number of signatures in their recall drives. As I reported earlier this week, Dems collected a whopping 22,561 signatures to recall state senator Dan Kapanke — 145 percent of the 15,588 required under the law — and in so doing, they tied the record for the fastest collection of recall signatures in Wisconsin history.
This time, Dems will file 23,946 signatures to recall state senator Hopper, even though only 15,629 are required, Wisconsin Democratic Party executive director Maggie Brick confirms to me.
The news comes amid other signs that Hopper may be particularly vulnerable in a recall election. Two recent polls — one by the Dem firm Public Policy Polling, and another by Survey USA, commissioned by MoveOn — both showed Hopper trailing in a recall matchup against a theoretical Dem rival.
What’s more, in a sign that Hopper himself recognizes the precariousness of his position, he recently brought in a national caliber campaign manager to handle the recall fight. Adding more potential fuel to the recall fire, Hopper’s estranged wife recently alleged that he had an affair with a young GOP aide and now lives mostly in Madison, outside his district.
The bar to trigger Wisconsin recall elections is very high. Organizers are required to collect a number of signatures equal to 25 percent of the number who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election.
By going well beyond what’s required in the cases of Hopper and Kapanke, Dems have virtually guaranteed that elections to recall at least two GOP state senators will actually happen, despite expected challenges to the veracity of signatures. And while we still can’t be certain how the other recall drives will fare, labor and Dems have demonstrated once again that even though the national media has moved on from this story, the grassroots energy unleashed by Scott Walker’s overreach remains in force.