Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker's opponents are well on their way to collecting enough signatures to force a recall vote against the governor -- and he's taking notice.
"Do I take the recall seriously? Absolutely," Walker said this week at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association in Orlando, Florida, Bloomberg News reported. "Unions spent $40 million on six state Senate recall elections in my state. I spent $13 million running for governor. So if there's that much outside influence, I'm going to take that seriously no matter what."
The recall efforts against Walker and other state legislators were spurred by the controversial law Walker passed in the spring, nearly eliminating public workers' collective bargaining rights. The fight over the legislation prompted weeks of raucous protests in the state and even inspired some Democratic lawmakers to flee the state.
A total of nine state legislators faced recall elections over the summer. Democrats managed to pick up two seats in the state Senate, but Republicans held onto the majority.
Now, the group United Wisconsin says it's collected more than half the signatures needed to hold a recall election against Walker. The group said on Monday that it had collected more than 300,000 signatures in just 12 days, the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported. The numbers can't be independently verified until United Wisconsin submits the signatures to state election authorities. The group has until January 17 to collected at least 540,208 signatures.
A recall election against Walker would likely take place in the late spring or summer of next year.
While the recall election isn't a sure thing yet, the governor is already buying television ads to defend his record, USA Today reports. Additionally, Republican volunteers will soon be going door to door and making phone calls to support Walker's controversial law. The governor will also get some help with advertising from the national conservative group Americans for Prosperity, according to USA Today.
Walker said at the RGA meeting this week that voters need time to recognize the benefits of his controversial law, intended to help reduce budget deficits.
"Every day, every week and every month that goes by, the voters of my state will more clearly see the benefits of the reforms," he said, according to Bloomberg. "People have a clear choice."