MADISON, Wis. - Participants in the drive by United Wisconsin to collect more than a million signatures to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker celebrated long and hard here last night.
They celebrated the fact that the more than one million signatures they collected were roughly double the 540,208 they needed for a recall election, and they celebrated the fact that never before in U.S. history has a grassroots effort garnered so much support to recall an elected official. Walker would be just the third sitting governor to be recalled in U.S. history.
The petitions arrived in the state capital on Tuesday in a U-Haul truck decorated with a banner that read, "We did it for Wisconsin's future."
Julie Wells, the factory worker and grandmother who helped launch the recall effort, carried the first of more than 150 boxes into the Government Accountability Board's offices.
"What we have done over the past 60 days for the state of Wisconsin is monumental," Wells told the crowds outside the office.
She said the massive grassroots effort is the "the one thing" that can defeat the outside special interests who will pump millions of dollars into an effort to keep Walker in office.
"Wisconsinites, the super PACS and all their millions cannot buy your votes, your hard work, your commitment or your souls," MSNBC news show host Ed Shultz said on national television during the celebrations last night.
Tens of thousands of volunteers and members of the public participated in the celebrations here. The signatures represent almost as many votes as were cast for Walker in the state in the 2010 election and the mood of the crowd was jubilant.
Ryan Bauer, co-chair of United Wisconsin, thanked all the unions and their allies who had participated in "making history."
There also were enough signatures to force recall elections for the state's lieutenant governor and four (more) state senators. The elections board says it will need 60 days to verify all the signatures.
Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, said "the people want to recall Gov. Walker to put an end to his attacks on working families and to put an end to his placement of his corporate allies above the people of the state."
Photo: Wisconsinites celebrate turning in more than one millions signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker. (PW/ R. Mehrparast)