Posted by Lexington Green on February 19th, 2011 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Wisconsin Senate rules require a 3/5 quorum in the Senate. There are currently 19 Republican senators, and 14 Democrat senators.
The GOP needs one more to get to 20.
The Democrat senators have apparently said they will stay away for weeks if necessary.
If the GOP majority could replace one Democrat with a Republican, that would give them 20. The remaining Democrat state senators could stay in Illinois watching ESPN and chatting up the waitresses as long as they want. The GOP could proceed without them.
If the length of play really is weeks then Article XIII, Sec. 12 of the Wisconsin Constitution, which provides for recall elections, could be used.
The qualified electors of the state of any congressional, judicial or legislative district or of a county may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective officer after the first year of the term for which the incumbent was elected … .
So, any recall could only be directed at Senators elected in 2008, not 2010.
Looking at the Democrats elected to the Wisconsin Senate in 2008 it appears that Democrat Sen. Jim Holperin won a squeaker, with 51% over his Republican opponent, in an open race. So, Sen. Holperin is the most vulnerable Democrat Wisconsin state senator.
The Wisconsin Constitution requires:
The recall petition shall be signed by electors equalling at least twenty-five percent of the vote cast for the office of governor at the last preceding election, in the state, county or district which the incumbent represents
It is not easy to determine how many people this is, but I estimate it to be about 100,000 people total, so 25,000 or so to be 25%. That is probably not grossly wrong. If someone has the exact number please put it in the comments. If the signatures for the petition can be gathered:
The filing officer with whom the recall petition is filed shall call a recall election for the Tuesday of the 6th week after the date of filing the petition or, if that Tuesday is a legal holiday, on the first day after that Tuesday which is not a legal holiday.
So, the total time to get a recall election scheduled is the time to gather the signatures in Wisconsin Senate District 12 plus six weeks. Call it two months or so total if the GOP made a serious effort, which is late April.
Could the GOP get a campaign going in Holperin’s district to recall him, have the election, and get a shenanigan-proof 20 seat guaranteed quorum before Memorial Day?
Am I missing anything here?
(I was at the rally today. Holperin’s name was mentioned as a possible recall target. I wrote this post before I heard that.)