Wow. In a sign that Wisconsin Democrats can still claim momentum in the recall wars, Dems today filed the signatures to trigger a recall election against a sixth Wisconsin GOP state senator — and this time, they filed an astonishing 166 percent of the number required, the highest yet.
Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, confirms that Dems today filed 26,524 signatures supporting a recall election against GOP senator Robert Cowles, out of 15,960 required. This is the strongest signature showing by Dems yet: Against five previous GOP targets, Dems amassed signatures in the area of 140 or 150 percent.
This, despite the fact that Cowles’s district is a Republican-leaning one. George W. Bush defeated John Kerry there by 15 points, 57-42. Obama did beat John McCain there, but only narrowly, 52-46, and Cowles didn’t even have a Democratic challenger last time around.
There are other signs that Dems have the momentum here; For one thing, GOP organizers fell short in signatures against four Dem targets. While there will all but certainly be recall elections against six Republicans, currently officials are examining signatures for the recall of only three Democrats, though there’s some talk about a fourth.
If Dems end up with six recall elections versus three for Republicans, that’s not a bad place to be, given that Dems need to net three wins to take back the state senate.
What’s more, Dems are heading into these elections with a huge amount of cash on hand, much of it raised from grassroots liberals and Dems across the country, though it’s likely that some major right wing money will be flooding in, too.
The enormous amount of signatures collected by Dems could help in the recall battles themselves, since having names and addresses of huge numbers of voters makes getting out the vote far easier.
What continues to be interesting about the organizing success state Dems and labor are having in Wisconsin is that it’s unfolding almost entirely under the radar of the national media, which has largely moved on from this story. And it’s happening outside the Beltway-based power infrastructure of the national Democratic Party.
The final battle lines are all but drawn.