Organizers of a grassroots campaign to recall Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced that they were submitting more than enough signatures -- 20,600 -- to state election officials Tuesday to trigger a recall election against the Republican senator from Juneau.
The number of signatures gathered is nearly one-quarter more than the required 16,742.
The campaign to recall Fitzgerald was run apart from the more organized and statewide effort by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and United Wisconsin to recall Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
The success of the campaign reflects the depth of the dissatisfaction with the policies pursued by Walker and the state GOP, says Graeme Zielinski, spokesman for the state Democratic Party.
"We gave them no resources. The Democratic Party didn't lift a finger for them. Yet in a red district, they were able to…trigger a recall. Without any organization they were able to do this. It says something about the anger that's out there."
As Senate Majority Leader, Fitzgerald was a key player in pushing Gov. Scott Walker's controversial proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for most public workers. He and other GOP leaders continued to support passage despite massive protests at the state Capitol and lawsuits contesting the process.
Lori Compas, chairperson of the Committee to Recall Scott Fitzgerald, called the number of signatures collected "overwhelming and decisive."
"More than 20,600 of his own constituents -- Republican, Democrat, and independent alike -- signed a recall petition because Scott Fitzgerald stopped listening to them," Compas, a business owner from Fort Atkinson, said in a news release. "Individually they were not heard; together, their call for open, honest government cannot be ignored."
Fitzgerald's office did not respond to a request for comment.
Who would run against Fitzgerald is unclear but Compas says that is the next step for the campaign.
"I fully expect that the citizens of Senate District 13 will have a robust and engaging conversation about who should replace him," she said.