A general election recall vote would be the best time from the Democrats’ perspective. It would fit into a presidential race, and in fact it would completely negate any advantage that incumbency might have for Walker — no extra voters are coming out for the recall, and the issues surrounding the recall might very well be subsumed into the general election fight. It would end up being almost a standard gubernatorial race, but one where the Democrats have a built-in voter advantage (the party has won the state in every presidential race since 1984).
However, November 2012 is a long way off, and the Republicans are well aware of the negative consequences of holding a recall on Election Day. You can be certain they would do everything in their power to prevent it. And it shouldn’t be too hard to do — look at the so-called fake Democratic primaries in the Senatorial recalls. That pushed off the recall date by a month. It will be extremely difficult for the Democrats to time this recall properly.
The talk of taking out Walker is big rallying point for the Democrats and a way to mitigate any pain felt from their failure to capture the state Senate. But make no mistake about it, a gubernatorial recall would be a massive undertaking, one that could cause the party grief come November 2012.
Joshua Spivak is a senior fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform at Wagner College. He blogs at http://recallelections.blogspot.com.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.