The historic attempt to recall a Wisconsin governor will begin Nov. 15.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin broke the news Monday night on its website, with party chair Mike Tate then going on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" to confirm the news.
"We've done the math ... and Wisconsin can't afford any more days with Scott Walker as governor," Tate told show host Ed Schultz.
Tate said recalling the governor was "a big deal" for the people of Wisconsin to take on, adding he expected Walker to be able to raise $70 million in campaign donations from the likes of the Koch brothers and corporations.
The Democratic Party already has raised more than $43,000 toward the recall effort, according to its website Tuesday morning.
Under state statutes, a recall of an elected official cannot be mounted until the person has been in office a year. Walker was inaugurated Jan. 3, which made Nov. 4 the earliest date the 60-day petition period could begin.
In an interview Friday, Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski stressed, as did Tate, that the Democratic Party was working with a number of grass-roots organizations to determine the timing for triggering the recall.
One group in particular, United Wisconsin, has something the other groups don't have: a list of some 200,000 people who have already signed their names in favor of recalling the governor.
While United Wisconsin's list won't count toward the more than 540,000 verified petition signatures needed to trigger a recall election against Walker, the names give the recall-Walker movement a database of people to immediately contact once the intent to recall Walker is made official Nov. 15 by filing with the state's Government Accountability Board.
Zielinski and Sachin Chheda, chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party, say having the list has put United Wisconsin in the position to move the recall effort forward.
"They can go back to those people and say 'The moment has arrived. Go sign the real petition,'" Sachin says.
Others grass-roots organizations expected to be involved in the recall include Defend Wisconsin, Defending Wisconsin, Autonomous Solidarity Organization and We Are Wisconsin.
"We have partnered and will partner with any Recall Walker groups that share our mission ... to force a recall election of Scott Walker," says Michael Brown, a resident of Appleton and United Wisconsin's founder, in an email. "The collective vision for United Wisconsin's political action committee was to create a hub for the Recall Walker movement, and we have achieved that."
Once an organization files its intent to recall the governor, it has 60 days to collect signatures, says Reid Magney, a Government Accountability Board spokesman.
Magney says the agency's staff then has 31 days by law to review the signature petitions. But the verification process would more than likely take longer than that.
In verifying the petitions for the nine Senate recall elections earlier this summer, the Government Accountability Board asked and was granted extensions to go through those petitions. And those only totaled around 180,000 signatures.
"At this point, we don't know how long it will take to review half a million or possibly a million signatures," Magney says. "At this point, it is very difficult to predict when the election could be held."
By law, an election would be held six Tuesdays from the verification date, Magney says. But because verifying hundreds of thousands of signatures will be a time-consuming process, it is difficult for any official to give an exact date for an election.
Diane Hermann-Brown, Sun Prairie clerk and chair of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association, says discussions have begun between clerks, the Government Accountability Board and the Legislature concerning the timing of a recall election.
Hermann-Brown says with four elections already scheduled in 2012, in February, April, August and November, the most cost-effective way to handle another election would be for it to be held on one of those dates. She says a recall election could cost $50,000 for Sun Prairie.
"There's a significant financial impact attached to this, and we don't know exactly when it's going to happen," she says.
In addition to the uncertainty over timing, it also isn't clear how the state will handle a recall effort against Walker's lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch. The Government Accountability Board has requested the state Attorney General's Office to give an opinion, but has yet to receive an answer.
Beyond these logistics looms the big question of which Democrat will step up to run against Walker.
Names being floated include former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey of Wausau; state Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha; state Sen. Jon Erpenbach of Middleton; Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind of La Crosse; and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold announced previously that he would not be a candidate for any office next year.
"Kathleen is open to being a candidate for governor when the recall effort against Walker is successful," says Melissa Mulliken, Falk's longtime campaign adviser, when asked if Falk would be interested in a run for governor.
But before Falk or any other Democrat can run, volunteers face the daunting task of collecting the required amount of signatures in a short amount of time.
Brown remains confident and says the momentum to recall Walker is still building.
Over the past eight months, he says, the people of Wisconsin have seen Walker "exposed in his true form" as a "career politician that fights only for big corporations, not the people.
"It's clear Wisconsin has had enough of Mr. Walker's botched leadership," Brown says. "He will face a recall election in 2012 after we get the 540,000-plus signatures to force that recall election."