MADISON, Wisc. (CN) – Furor over Wisconsin’s anti-union law has led to eight recall petitions against state senators, and eight more are expected soon. Petitions have been filed against five Republicans and three Democrats. Democrats need to pick off three Republican seats to gain control of the chamber.
Recall petitions are filed with the state’s Government Accountability Board. Recalls can be filed only against legislators who have been in office for at least a year; the petitions need valid signatures equal to at least 25 percent of the total turnout in the governor’s race from the district in the previous election. State senators are elected to 4-year terms.
These lawmakers are facing recalls, according to statistics on the Government Accountability Board’s website:
Alberta Darling, a Republican first elected in 1992 in a strongly Republican district. However, her district, an inner suburb of Milwaukee, has been turning more Democratic. Darling won in 2008 by a margin of only 1 percent.
Dan Kapanke, a Republican first elected in 2004 and the 2011 Majority Caucus chairman. He represents a rural but progressive part of the state which presidential candidates Barack Obama, John Kerry and Al Gore carried.
Randy Hopper, a Republican elected in 2008 by a margin of just 0.2 percent, in a heavily unionized district. He’s had some negative press this year, having been accused of having an affair with a Republican Assembly staffer and living outside his district while he battles a contentious divorce.
Sheila Harsdorf, a Republican first elected in 2000 and the 2011 Majority Caucus vice chairwoman.
Luther Olsen, a Republican first elected in 2004 and the chairman of the Committee on Education.
The recall petitions target Republicans who voted for the so-called Budget Repair Bill, and Democrats who fled the state to deny Republicans a quorum. Here are the Democrats who face recall.
Dave Hansen, a Democrat first elected in 2000 and 2011 assistant Minority Leader.
Jim Holperin, a Democrat elected in 2008.
Robert Wirch, a Democrat first elected in 1996.
The Government Accountability Board has never had to manage simultaneous, multiple recalls. Also, it is busy handling the recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.
Once a recall petition is filed, senators have 10 days to challenge it, then the board has 31 days to verify signatures and schedule elections.
The board is expected to ask for an extension to review signatures.
The other eight officeholders targeted for recalls include three Republicans and five Democrats.