Ten things that actually happened during the recall elections

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – June 5, 2013

If you’re reading this blog, then you are likely well versed in the gubernatorial recall election that gripped Wisconsin one year ago.

You know about the fourteen Democratic senators that fled Wisconsin in order to block a vote on Governor Scott Walker’s bill to scale back collective bargaining for public employee unions.  You know that while the Democrats were hiding in Illinois, Walker was prank called by a liberal blogger posing as one of the billionaire Koch brothers.  You saw the video of the camel walking around the Capitol square in Madison, slipping on the ice and getting caught in a retaining fence.  You remember the April 2011 Supreme Court election that looked like it had been won by liberal challenger Joanne Kloppenburg, only to have 7,000 votes miraculously surface in Waukesha County, handing incumbent Justice David Prosser a slim victory.

Most importantly, you remember that on June 5, 2012, Walker would win his recall election by a larger margin than he won in 2010 against the same opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  On CNN’s election night coverage, one Democratic voter was so distraught, he declared that “democracy died tonight.”  Following his concession speech, a female Barrett supporter even slapped the mayor for conceding too early.

As Prosser would say later, if you submitted the story of Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012 as a movie script, the film studios would reject it for implausibility.

Yet among all the big ticket media stories – legislators yelling “you’re f***ing dead” at each other, the harassment and threats directed at elected officials and the like – there are some wildly entertaining moments that even the most astute followers of the protests leading up to the recall elections will have forgotten.  While things moved at the speed of light at the time, now’s the time to reflect back on some of the lesser known moments of the Recall Era.

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