Gov. Scott Walker at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, March 11, 2011. UPI/David Banks | License Photo
MADISON, Wis., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Organizers filed petitions Tuesday with more than 1 million signatures to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- the first gubernatorial recall in state history.
The number was nearly double the number actually needed.
Some 845,000 signatures also were filed by United Wisconsin to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Petitions to recall four Republican state senators also were filed, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
"The collection of more than 1 million signatures is a crystal-clear indication of how strong the appetite is to stop the damage and turmoil that Governor Walker has caused Wisconsin," Ryan Lawler, United Wisconsin co-chairman, told the Wisconsin State Journal. "In the dead of Wisconsin winter, an army of more than 30,000 Wisconsin-born and bred volunteers took to the streets, the malls, the places of worship and dinner tables to take our state back."
Ire against Walker has been growing since he moved to gut bargaining rights for state workers last winter but Democrats have yet to field a candidate to oppose him.
Walker, on a New York fundraising trip, released a statement saying he plans to talk to voters about how he has cut the state's budget deficit without a massive tax increase, the Journal Sentinel said.
"Instead of going back to the days of billion dollar budget deficits, double digit tax increases and record job loss, I expect Wisconsin voters will stand with me and keep moving Wisconsin forward," the statement said.
In an interview with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, Walker called the recall effort "shenanigans" funded by big government unions in Washington.
Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said Walker "lied" to win Wisconsin's governorship and should be ousted.
"I think that he fundamentally lied to the people of Wisconsin when he ran for governor," Tate told WISN-TV, Milwaukee, before the petitions were filed.
"He didn't talk to them or tell them about how he was going to govern," Tate said. "He didn't tell them he was going to give a big tax break to millionaires and billionaires and raise taxes on the working poor."
Recall organizers need 540,208 valid signatures, or a quarter of the November 2010 votes cast that put Walker in office last January, to force a recall vote.
Counting and verifying the petition signatures could take as long as three months, Marquette University law Professor Charles Franklin told WISC-TV, Madison.
Only two U.S. governors have lost their jobs in recalls. In 1921, North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier was recalled during a dispute about state-owned industries, and California Gov. Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 over the state budget.
A pro-Walker rally is planned in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee, Saturday, headlined by top state Republicans, the Wauwatosa Patch reported.