Andy Kroll

Andy Kroll

Senior Reporter

Andy Kroll is Mother Jones' Dark Money reporter. He is based in the DC bureau. His work has also appeared at the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Men's Journal, the American Prospect, and TomDispatch.com, where he's an associate editor. Email him at akroll (at) motherjones (dot) com. He tweets at @AndyKroll.

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Scott Walker's Recall Is 1 of 103 Recalls So Far in 2012

| Tue Jun. 5, 2012 2:29 PM EDT

Voting in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's recall election is underway, but it's far from the only recall election happening this year. There are 17 recalls in four states scheduled for Tuesday alone. According to Joshua Spivak, an expert on recalls in American politics, 2012 is on pace to surpass last year's all-time record of 151 recall elections

For the first half of 2012, Spivak's recall count is at 103 in 17 states. That includes recalls that have taken place, been scheduled, or have prompted the official facing recall to resign. Here's more from Spivak:

Of the 103 recalls, they breakdown like this:

  • 32 recalls resulted in a vote for removal. They took place in 17 different states
  • 14 recalls resulted in a resignation in the face of removal
  • 1 recall failed to get on the ballot, but the official resigned anyway
  • 1 recall saw the official die in office
  • 27 recalls resulted in the targeted official won the recall election
  • 30 are scheduled to take place between today and August
  • 6 instances, most notable El Paso, Texas, a judge rejected the recall.
  • 6 other instances, the targeted officials are either still fighting the recall in court or refusing to schedule one as a member of the city council.
  • 52 attempted recalls (at least) that failed to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot.
  • 115 (at least) open and unresolved recall petitions circulating now (I may be off on this—in some of these, the recall might have been abandoned).

The recalls are against all types of officials, Six mayors have been removed, five have survived, and another four are facing a recall vote.

The reasons for the recall span the spectrum. Some of the more noteworthy ones including opposing another member's appointment of his girlfriend to the village council, trashing a hotel room, and one launched by the wife of a losing candidate. In one ongoing recall attempt, we have the official facing charges of rape, pimping, pandering and maybe attempted murder (don't worry, that was just a school board member). Last year, we had a school board member facing a recall who was caught sexting with a 14 year old. That was not the reason for the recall (it came out during the campaign).

Among other nuggets are that the mayors of both Troy, Montana, and Troy, Michigan, are facing recalls (the mayor from Montana lost). And while it may be time to stop all of your weeping and swallow your pride, the mayor of Tombstone, Arizona, was recalled. And yes, he was replaced by the owner of Johnny Ringo's bar, who will now be your huckleberry.

In summary, we should be ahead of last year's pace. The big caveat, outside of the fact that I may be missing a number of recalls both this year and last, is that this is a presidential election year, not an off year election. I think it is possible that there may be less recalls on Election Day than last year (there were 30 on the first two Tuesday's in November). Perhaps people will be more focused on the presidential race, and will ignore recalling local officials. Of course, the opposite could occur. We will see in November.

Spivak also has a great primer on Wisconsin's six June 5 recall elections of Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state senators, including Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. (Read my profile of Fitzgerald's grassroots-powered challenger, Lori Compas.) Spivak's Wisconsin primer is necessary reading before results from around the state start to flood in.

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VIDEO: Scott Walker's Divide-and-Conquer Strategy Is "The New Model for the Country"

| Sat Jun. 2, 2012 11:49 AM EDT

Coming soon to your state: The anti-union, education-cutting, free-market-leaning, divide-and-conquer playbook of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

According to a leading conservative activist, the Walker agenda in Wisconsin is the new conservative game plan for all states in the union. That was the key message delivered at a rally Friday evening in Madison by Tim Phillips, national president of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative nonprofit started with money from the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. "The Wisconsin approach to changing and making state government better is the new model for the country," he said. "You are the model for the country."

Here a video of Phillips' remarks:

Since taking office in January 2011, Walker has slashed collective bargaining rights for public-employee unions, cut funding to public schools by $800 million, signed a controversial voter ID bill that critics say discriminates against students and minorities, and approved a divisive redistricting bill that benefitted his fellow GOP lawmakers. Walker managed to eliminate a $3.6 billion deficit, but did so, his critics say, at the expense of workers' rights, teachers and students, and the public sector as a whole. In a January 2011 conversation with billionaire businesswoman Diane Hendricks, a top donor of his, Walker admitted that his plan was to "divide and conquer" the unions in Wisconsin. Walker's agenda has turned Wisconsin into the most polarized state in America.

This agenda, AFP's Tim Phillips insisted, is the new model for state governments. "Today every other governor in the country and every state legislator in the country is watching Wisconsin," he said. "Because the Wisconsin approach to changing and making state government better is the new model for the country. You are the model for the country. For fiscal prosperity and economic freedom and getting the state moving again. You're the model!"

The June 5 recall election targeting Walker is seen as a referendum on his divisive politics and policies; tea partiers say the recall is "ground zero for the battle against Obama's liberal agenda." Walker's defeat on Tuesday would deal a blow to his hard-line conservative playbook. A win, however, could validate his brand of governing, give momentum to Republicans' efforts to win state and federal elections in the Badger State, and even convince Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to make a play for a state Barack Obama won by 14 percentage points in 2008. Even more, it might convince other state politicians to follow Phillips' advice and adopt the Walker agenda as their own.

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