As tens of thousands of people descended upon the state Capitol Saturday, organizers of the effort to remove Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office announced they have collected more than 105,000 signatures on recall petitions.
“As of (Friday) night — the fourth day of signature collection, more than 105,000 Wisconsin residents have already signed their name to a petition to recall Scott Walker," said Heather DuBois Bourenane, a volunteer with United Wisconsin, the group spearheading the recall effort. "Across the state, people are talking with their friends, family and neighbors about Walker’s destruction and are doing all they can to end his days as governor."
Organizers need to collect 540,000 signatures by Jan. 17 to force a recall election. United Wisconsin, which is working with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin on the recall effort, says it hopes to gather between 600,000 and 700,000 signatures by that deadline.
The news came as a crowd estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000 attended the Madison rally, the largest gathering since the huge Capitol protests in March, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The State Journal said the rally — like those in March — drew thousands of teachers, union members, labor leaders and students. In addition U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Madison Democrat who is running for a senate seat, and MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz were on hand, the newspaper reported.
After the rally, the Republican Party of Wisconsin issued a statement that reiterated its position that a recall is a waste of taxpayers' dollars.
"The bill Wisconsin families will receive for the Democrats' baseless recall effort is without precedent," said state GOP Executive Director Stephan Thompson. "While Governor Walker and the state Legislature instituted bold reforms to cut wasteful spending, the Democrats and their liberal special interests simply want to increase it in their selfish pursuit to regain political power."
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has estimated the cost of a statewide recall elections at $7.7 million — a figure based on what it cost to hold nine state Senate recall elections over the summer.
Before the rally got under way, former before an enthusiastic crowd of about 300 at a Madison theater.
And while many in the crowd were chanting "Run, Russ, Run!", the Democrat told reporters Saturday that he had no intention of running against Walker if a recall is held.
Polls say Feingold, who was defeated by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in November, would have the best chance of defeating Walker in a recall election.