By Jeremy Merkel
Lynn Frazier, North Dakota, 1921
Gray Davis, California, 2003
This is the list of governors in US history who have been removed from office through a recall election. Today we could see an addition to this list, when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker faces off against Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.
Walker drew national headlines for his decision to end collective bargaining rights for a majority of the state’s public employees. Opposition from labor unions and Democratic leaders resulted in weeklong protests outside the state capital building. Petitions circulated by United Wisconsin, the Democratic Super PAC that led the recall effort, received over one million signatures.
INFLUENCE OF OUTSIDE MONEY
Public opinion about Walker is certainly polarized. However, it is clear that cash donations from out-of-state players have fueled the campaign on both sides. Spending has also been lopsided. The nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported that over $60 million has been spent on the race. Half of that came from Walker. Democrats on the other hand spent $4 million. An additional $21.5 million was spent by outside groups that reported their spending. The unreported contributions could add many more millions to the counter. Walker’s top three donors combined gave more than Barrett’s campaign had raised overall. Four of Walker’s top seven donors are out-of-state billionaires, including Amway founder and former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who each contributed $250,000.
Money aside, referendums on public servants are nothing new in Wisconsin, with Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader and Walker’s closest ally, also facing recall. Lori Compas, a 41-year-old mother of two became so enraged with Fitzgerald’s attempt to steamroll a pro-Walker Budget Bill through the Senate without a quorum she filed for a recall herself. After creating a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account, Compas spoke at a rally in front of the capital building attended by 60,000 people, and countless town hall meetings after that. Oh, the power of social media….