MADISON, Wis. (MCT) — The bitter partisan trench war that has transformed Wisconsin into a proxy for polarization nationwide opened a new front Tuesday with the formal launch of a petition drive to force a recall vote on freshman Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
The move was long expected but given fresh impetus by the success of a recent union-friendly referendum in Ohio.
It also raises the possibility that voters in this critical swing state will be casting a test vote on the nation’s political mood just months before next year’s presidential balloting.
Volunteers who have kept a vigil in front of the statehouse since summer returned Tuesday to gather signatures for real.
Among the hundreds who signed was Ben Rogall, an animator from Madison taking his two young children to a nearby museum.
“What are these people doing here?” asked 4-year-old Bjorn, who was wearing a knit cap with an eagle beak on the top.
“You see, we have a really bad governor,” Rogall explained to his son.
Walker has been a lightning rod since taking office early this year. He moved quickly with the help of a Republican-dominated legislature to curb collective bargaining rights and benefits for public employees and trimmed state school spending. Walker said the actions were needed to resolve a budget crisis, but critics accused him of trying to break unions and carry water for wealthy conservative ideologues.
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