Democrats: Enough signatures to recall Sen. Kapanke - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Democrats: Enough signatures to recall Sen. Kapanke

Republican Senator Dan Kapanke Republican Senator Dan Kapanke

By Lysée Mitri - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- Democrats from La Crosse say they turned in about 21,700 signatures to the Government Accountability Board to recall Republican Senator Dan Kapanke.

The Democrats needed at least 15,588 signatures.

They exceeded that number, giving themselves a cushion in case some signatures aren't considered valid.

A crowd packed the GAB office, watching as petitioners turned in the signatures.

Recall organizers had 60 days to file the petitions with the GAB. They filed a month ahead of their May 2nd deadline.

"When we realized how well we were doing, we were feeling pretty confident and we needed to move forward and move on to our next venture, which is getting a candidate ready to defeat Senator Kapanke," said Richelle Zimmerman, a volunteer with the Kapanke recall group.

Senator Kapanke says this is all part of the political process.

"I took a tough vote and there are a lot of people obviously concerned about this, concerned and angry," he said. "I'm angry too because we've had ten years of fiscal mismanagement that has guided us to this point."

The GAB has 31 days to complete the review of all the signatures, according to Director & General Counsel Kevin Kennedy.

He said Kapanke has ten days to file challenges unless a court order says otherwise.

"We would expect that next week we'll sit down with attorneys from both sides and work out a schedule that expands that period," Kennedy said.

This is the first of 19 groups to file recall petitions. Recall efforts are still underway against 15 other senators.

Kennedy said it's "absolutely unprecedented."

"We've only had six filings in our office in the 30 plus years that I've been doing this," he said.

Six filings but only four that actually went to an election.

Because it's unprecedented the GAB asked for emergency funding from the Joint Finance Committee a few weeks ago.

Kennedy said he's still waiting for a response to see if they'll help pay for additional staff to get this taken care of.

The GAB has requested more than $40,000 in funding.

Visit the GAB website for more information on the recall efforts.


LA CROSSE (WKOW) --  Democrats from the La Crosse-area say they now have collected enough signatures to recall Republican Senator Dan Kapanke because of his vote on collective bargaining.

Recall organizer Pat Scheller says the efforts led to more than 15,500 signatures and plan to file the petitions in Madison on Friday. If approved, it would be just the fifth recall of a state legislator in the state of Wisconsin. The Government Accountability Board determines if the signatures are valid.

Kapanke has defended Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill, saying it is a necessary step to balance the budget to keep the number of layoffs low.

The La Crosse Tribune says 19 recall efforts were registered against 16 senators between February 24 and March 2.

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