This attempt was ill-fated from the start. First of all, the recall process is not meant to be used against someone simply because you disagree with the way they voted. If we look at the recall manual on the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board Elections Division web site, we see that the Recall Committee must submit “A statement must be attached to the registration form indicating:
a) the petitioner’s intent to circulate a recall petition,
b) the name of the officeholder for whom recall is sought, and
c) the reason for the recall which is related to the official responsibilities of the officeholder
(the same reason must appear on the petition).
Note the last line. (Well, line c.) The recall must be related to the official responsibilities of the officeholder. Technically, the attempted signature-gathering was related to Sen. Sullivan’s conduct in office. The problem is, he did nothing wrong. The law should be more specific about the elected official committing an actual grievance. But Senator Sullivan committed no crime or action which undermined the public’s trust. He ran for office saying he would vote in favor of a smoking ban. The statewide smoking ban bill came before the Senate, and he voted for it, and the bill passed.
Some people didn’t like that Senator Sullivan did what he said he would do. So they tried to (try to) recall him. But the people of Wauwatosa (the land of Walker: Tosa Ranger, no less) saw through this and did not support it. Moreover, it seems that the group trying to stage the recall couldn’t get it together.
Senator Sullivan now joins Cudahy, Wisc. Mayor Ryan McCue and Muskego, Wisc. Ald. Noah Fiedler in having recall attempts against them fail to take off. (Both faced almost-attempted recalls were about their actions that prevented Wal-Marts from sucking the life out of their communities.) And, just before this latest round of fail, the attempt to recall Gov. Jim Doyle also failed. They’re on a roll!
Like Mayor McCue and Ald. Fiedler, Senator Sullivan did nothing wrong. The justification for the recalls against all three were bogus. They all deserved to fail.
If you don’t like the way an elected official has voted, support his or her opponent in the next election. I recommend that the recallistas heed their own advice:
Wisconsin Interests Now announced Friday that it will focus instead on voting Doyle out of office next year should he decide to run again. [wsaw.com]
State Rep. Leah Vukmir is taking on Sullivan next year. Give her your effort, and stop wasting the taxpayers’ time.