Yesterday the well-regarded Chicago Boyz blog (a group blog by Univ. of Chicago alumni) featured an important post by “Lexington Green” analyzing options for recalling the wayward Wisconsin “Badger 14” senators — and in particular, focusing on the plausibility of recalling Sen. Jim Holperin by late April. The post discusses the mechanics and timing of a recall effort against any of the senators, and explains why Sen. Holperin is especially vulnerable to a recall effort (he won his last election in 2008 in a squeaker, with only 51% of the vote). Here.
One additional factor not mentioned in the blog post: Sen. Holperin was the subject of an embarrassing encounter with a Rockford, Illinois, Tea Party activist (David Hale) on the day he abandoned his senate seat and fled the state, an exchange which was caught on video. See here. Presumably excerpts from that video would add impact to radio or television ads run against Holpern in any recall effort.
The comments on the Chicago Boyz post, not just the post itself, are well worth reading, as they add further information on tactical points and supply helpful background — for example, this comment by Chris, a constituent of Sen. Holperin:
I live in Eagle River, WI. Mr. Holperin is our state senator. His brother’s one-man shop is competitor of my business, his shop only a few blocks away. He lived across the street from one of my employees, again only a few blocks away. I last saw him at our town’s business association Christmas dinner.
Anyways, a recall process is already underway. His district is one of the most conservative there is in our part of the state and I have to think he’s dreading coming home. He likely won only because he is a local son and generally is considered to fit into the value system despite the D after his professional title. I suspect his recent actions will turn whatever support he has up here upside down. That said, it’s winter up here and getting signatures will be difficult. We’re heading into the area’s slow period when many head for warmer climes; the primary industry in tourism and the slowest time of the year is between the end of snowmobile season and the start of tourist season in May. The area shuts down in March & April and already it’s pretty darn quiet in light of the light snow cover, which has brought an early end to snowmobile season. When I hear that 25K signatures are required, my first thought is “Damn, that’s a big number to pull off this time of the year.” Maybe this is possible but it will take a number of months.
If somehow a lot of the local business and other group networks can engage, where people meet weekly or monthly, this might happen, but I have a hard time believing that even Mr. Holperin’s actions will cause this to happen. Our people may disagree, even strongly, but making such a public display or disaffection is frowned upon, especially for a town son. He’ll show up eventually and it will be a tough reunion. He’ll likely lose next time around. Can’t imagine the pressure he’s under but he’s surely thinking of the storm he’ll be dealing with when he gets home, even if it’s whispered under the breaths of those finishing their lunch or at church service. It might be more successful to target [Sen. Julie] Lassa.
Despite the arguments being made in favor of the recall option by Wisconsin tea party activists, and on blogs such as Chicago Boyz and this blog, presently it does not appear that recall efforts against the “Badger 14” senators who are eligible for recall are being vigorously pursued by a sizable number of citizens. Indeed, it appears that currently the greatest effort on the recall front is being made by Democrats who are actively working to remove one or more Republican senators in the near future. For an excellent analysis of the current battlefield, read this article published yesterday by Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel political columnist Daniel Bice.