Harsdorf recall drive on track, Democratics sayOrganizers of a petition drive to force a recall election against state Senator Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, say they expect to have no problem collecting more than the 15,744 signatures needed by May 2.
By: Judy Wiff, The Republican Eagle
Organizers of a petition drive to force a recall election against state Senator Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, say they expect to have no problem collecting more than the 15,744 signatures needed by May 2.
A report filed Friday with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board shows the Committee to Recall Harsdorf has received $67,695 in donations and spent $67,156. The amounts collected and spent on the Harsdorf drive are higher than the figures reported in any of the recall drives against 15 other state senators.
According to the report, the money has paid for office supplies, petition printing, cell phone service, "robo" surveying, office space and staff salaries, benefits and travel.
"I'm hearing that we're ahead of schedule," said Cathy Leaf, chairwoman of the St. Croix County Democratic Party. She said she assumes canvassers in the district, which includes parts of five counties, have collected over half the signatures they need.
"But I have no hard numbers to put a number to that," Leaf said.
"There are a lot of individuals and groups (collecting signatures). There's a lot of stuff out there that I don't know about," said Bob Ebert, co-chairman of the Pierce County Democratic Party, who also had no estimates.
He said teachers and other groups besides party workers are circulating petitions, and what he has been hearing is that everything is on track.
Harsdorf has launched a website -- www.standwithsheila.com -- and is seeking donations for her counter-campaign.
"I am a target for recall because I stood up against the special interests and supported reform," Harsdorf wrote in a letter to prospective donors. "I defended Wisconsin taxpayers and fought for balanced budgets. Now in an unprecedented recall effort, they want to undo last fallís elections."
Roy Sjoberg, the Hudson, Wis., man who registered the recall committee, said Monday that he has been out of town and hasn't caught up on petition progress.
Leaf said the petition drive, which was already doing well, gained momentum with the announcement Friday that La Crosse-area Democrats have gathered enough signatures to force a recall election for Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke.
In the 10th District, the Democratic Party has more than 200 people circulating petitions. Early on, before the drive was fully organized, she had people drive as much as an hour to her house to sign the petitions, Leaf said. Now the recall committee is collecting signatures at 901 Fourth St., Suite 260, Hudson, and at 109 N. Main St., River Falls.
The Democrats haven't selected a candidate to run against Harsdorf should the petition drive be successful.
"We have several people that are interested in running, and we're talking to all of them right now," Leaf said.
Committees have registered to initiate Senate recall elections against Republicans Harsdorf, Kapanke, Robert Cowles, Alberta Darling, Luther Olsen, Randy Hopper, Glenn Grothman and Mary Lazich and Democrats Spencer Coggs, Jim Holperin, Mark Miller, Robert Wirch, Fred Risser, Julia Lassa, Lena Taylor and Dave Hansen.