Any desire to tweak the state’s existing recall law following this month’s historic gubernatorial election will likely have to wait until January; and even then, it’s a long shot that Republicans and Democrats will find an agreeable middle ground. The state’s recall process — utilized 15 times in less than a year — has become an unpopular political tool for a substantial portion of the electorate. Exit polls in the June 5 election found 60 percent of Wisconsin voters said they believed the mechanism should be reserved for malfeasance or criminal activity. Immediately following the election, which Gov. Scott Walker won easily, politicians from both sides expressed interest in addressing the law’s shortcomings. But in the past few weeks, strident lines have formed.
Both Republicans and Democrats agree the aspect of the recall law that allows targets to raise unlimited amounts of campaign cash needs to be changed. But Republicans also say the law should also be limited to cases of criminal or unethical behavior. And legislative leaders said this week that while there is momentum for change, there is little bipartisan agreement about exactly what to do, and when to do it. “I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t see us coming back in before the next session to deal with it,” said Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. “And even then, I wonder if this passion for changing that law will remain. These things tend to lose steam the farther you get away from them.”