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Was Sullivan Recall A Publicity Stunt?

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on August 12, 2009

WisPolitics.com is reporting that CRG’s attempt at recalling State Senator Jim Sullivan bombed out, just like it did with both of its attempts at recalling Governor Doyle:

The group trying to recall Sen. Jim Sullivan over his support of a statewide smoking ban hasn’t been able to collect enough signatures to force a recall election, according to the CRG Network’s Orville Seymer.

Seymer, who assisted a group led by West Allis tavern owner Bill Savage, said the plan was to enlist bar and restaurant owners in the district to help collect recall signatures against the Wauwatosa Democrat from angry customers. Seymer said they were expected to provide the bulk of the signatures with a limited amount of door-to-door canvassing needed to collect the rest.

But organizers didn’t fully implement that plan and the recall petered out, Seymer said.

The group filed the recall June 9 and had 60 days to collect just less than 18,000 valid signatures.

A spokesman for the Government Accountability Board said today it had not received any signed recall petitions from the group.

If they only needed 18,000 signatures, why didn’t they put forth the effort to implement their plan? Was it because they met too much resistance from bar owners that thought the recall was a dumb thing to do? Or were they just trying to get some cheap publicity to help them with their doomed attempt to recall Doyle?

Odds are it is that they met with a lack of interest, since they were giving a rather lame excuse to try to veil their blatantly political move. However, I can’t help but wonder if there was more to it.

I think it is that they are afraid that their favorite gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker won’t be able to keep up with Mark Neumann in the Republican primary.

Neumann is reported to have a lot of personal wealth and there has been speculation to how much of it he might commit to his campaign. Combine that with the fact that Neumann has also been backed by James Klauser, who is known to be influential among the state’s moneyed Republicans, and that is a formidable problem for Walker, who came in third as far as campaign war chests go. And now, he could lose a big bunch of that paying off fines for not filing a complete campaign finance report.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if CRG was hoping to successfully recall Doyle before Neumann was ready to run in the hopes of allowing Walker to weasel his way in. The recall attempt of Sullivan would most likely, in that scenario, to be just another way to draw attention to themselves and their recall of Doyle.

All they managed to do was make themselves look even more ludicrous.

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