Ann Althouse asks why the Democratic party chairman of Wisconsin isn't updating us on the number of signatures on petitions to recall Governor Walker.
Althouse quotes from the Wisconsin State Journal:
Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said during a Tuesday conference call that the petitions will be turned in to state election officials on Jan. 17. They need 540,208 for both [Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch] to trigger recall elections.
Recall organizers said on Dec. 15 that they had 507,000 signatures for Walker but would not give a number for Kleefisch. Tate is still refusing to say how many signatures they have for her, but he says enough will be turned in to force a recall.
Tate says they are on track to get 720,000 signatures for Walker.
So why not keep us updated about the number of signatures? Althouse:
1. Their polling might show that Walker (and Kleefisch) would probably win; 2. Their fundraising is (I'm guessing) way behind Walker's, and Walker has already gone ahead with some excellent advertising, putting them at a serious disadvantage; 3. They don't have a candidate to run or they only have multiple candidates who'll have to beat each other up in a primary; and/or 4. They're worried that a recall election will have a negative effect on other elections that will be taking place in 2012.
ADDED: Another issue might be the prevalence of bad signatures on the petitions. Let's say they have more than the needed 540,208 signatures, but they know they've got a lot of questionable signatures in there. They don't want signature gatherers to slack off, thinking they've got it made. And the proportion of bad signatures isn't an issue they want to talk about.
Walker has high negatives at the moment but hardly catastrophic. And while a generic Democrat might look good against the governor, putting a face to the alternative will almost certainly help Walker. The Recall Blog reports that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker in 2010, might make another run if the recall is set. There are issues regarding his ability to run for governor in a recall election and run for re-election as mayor, but Barrett might have a decided advantage over other Democrats given his statewide name recognition and his ability to tap traditional Democratic funding sources.
The downside for Barrett is that he is a one time loser already and not as far left as some Democrats would like. Still, it's the outside money from Big Labor and online lefty outlets that would fuel the Democratic challenger's run. In that scenario, Althouse points out that Walker might be outspent 2 or 3 to one.