MADISON (WKOW) -- The president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council said her group deviated from its past practice of polling members on election recommendations when it recommended Kathleen Falk in an expected recall election of Governor Walker.
But WEAC President Mary Bell told 27 News the campaign timetable in a recall election will be considerably shorter than under normal election circumstances, necessitating the state teachers union's swift action.
"It's one of the things that is the hardest about this, because we would like to do this in any or the recall elections," Bell said. "It simply isn't part of a timetable we felt we could hold to." In addition to a gubernatorial recall election, four state senators may face recall votes.
WEAC's decision last week to recommend Falk before most other potential candidates have announced their intentions led to a petition drive urging WEAC to reconsider its action. Bell told 27 News WEAC's board of directors would have to agree to suspend or reverse the recommendation, and said there is no precedent for such a move.
Bell said former Dane County executive Falk was recommended after seven potential candidates were interviewed about their policy positions.
In the past, the thousands of teachers affiliated with WEAC would be asked whether they concur with, or reject a proposed candidate recommendation. WEAC membership could also ask for a delay in making a recommendation. Bell said the process of polling membership on recommendations was also waived in connection with last summer's state senate recall elections.
Karen Mugan of Sun Prairie was a recall signature collection captain and is a former president of a union local. She signed the petition urging WEAC's reconsideration.
"GAB (Government Accountability Board) hasn't even certified the election yet. I just think it's way too early and presumptive on their part."
Mugan said what she considered the hasty recommendation could feed into a perception Governor Walker's opponent will simply be the "union" candidate.
WEAC is not alone in facing criticism for a preemptive candidate endorsement. Some members of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association balked when the organization endorsed Walker before other candidates in a likely recall election were known.