Wisconsin Democrats filed petitions Monday, April 18, to recall state Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon,
Petitions have also been filed with the state Government Accountability Board to recall Republican Sens. Randy Hopper, Fond du Lac, and Dan Kapanke, La Crosse.
Democratic organizers also announced Monday that they have more than enough signatures for the recall of Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls.
Although no recall petitions had been filed against any Democrats as of Tuesday, Republican organizers say they will present their petitions against Sens. Jim Holperin, Eagle River, and Robert Wirch, Pleasant, later this week.
Eight Republicans and eight Democrats have been targeted for recall efforts throughout the state. The recall drives were launched in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most public worker unions. Democrats tried to stall stop the bill by leaving Wisconsin and denying the three-fifths quorum needed for a vote on budget-related bills in the Senate.
After three weeks of mass protests and legislative stalemate, Republicans stripped the fiscal provisions from the bill to sidestep the need for a three-fifths quorum in the Senate. A special conference committee was convened on the evening of March 9 and the revised bill was passed on a 4-2 partisan vote. Minutes later, the bill passed the Senate by an 18-1 vote with Sen. Dale Schultz, a moderate Republican from Richland Center, voting no.
Walker signed the bill into law on March 11. However, the legality of the bill has been challenged in Dane County Circuit Court. Opponents say the conference committee failed to post a public notice 24 hours prior to its meeting. For the past month, activists from both parties have been collecting signatures for the recall of 16 state senators.
According to petition organizers, nearly 24,000 signatures were collected in favor of Olsen’s recall. In the 14th Senate District, 14,733 signatures were required.
As of Tuesday, no candidate has announced plans to challenge Olsen in a recall election.
Jessica King, an Oshkosh City Council member, announced that she will run against Hopper in a recall election. She lost to Hopper in 2009 by fewer than 200 votes.
State Rep. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, is running against Kapanke in the 32nd Senate District.
The Government Accountability Board announced Monday that it would seek an extension of the 31-day period to review a recall petition. The board wants the extension in order to schedule all the elections for the same date.
Currently, Republicans have a 19-14 majority in the state Senate. Democrats need to a net gain of three seats to control the Senate.