by Scott Bauer, Associated Press January 17, 2012 Madison, Wis. (AP) — Groups seeking to recall Gov. Scott Walkersubmitted nearly twice as many signatures Tuesday as required toforce an election, an overwhelming number that may make an electionlater this year inevitable. But Walker’s opponents still must transform public outrage overhis pushback against unions into actual votes to oust him fromoffice. If the governor is worried, he’s not showing it: Aspetitions were delivered to election officials, he was out of stateraising money to defend himself and the agenda that has made him anational conservative hero. The 1 million signatures that United Wisconsin, the coalitionthat spearheaded the effort along with the Democratic Party, saidwere collected far exceeded the more than 540,000 needed. Theeffort stemmed from anger over Walker’s aggressive moves during hisfirst year in office that included effectively ended collectivebargaining rights for nearly all public workers. Petitioners on Tuesday also were submitting about 300,000 moresignatures than were needed to trigger a recall election againstLt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Between 23 percent and 56 percent abovethe number of signatures needed were also collected to force recallelections of four Republican state senators, including MajorityLeader Scott Fitzgerald. The massive number of signatures against Walker – 85 percentabove the level needed – could make it nearly impossible foropponents to successfully challenge enough of them to stop anelection. "I don’t know if it’s insurmountable, but it would be extremelydifficult," said Joshua Spivak, a recall expert and senior fellowat Wagner College in New York. In the 2003 Gov. Gray Davis recallin California, petitioners also turned in almost double what wasneeded – 1.6 million – and only about 18 percent were tossed,Spivak said. About 46 percent would have to be removed in Wisconsin for theelection not to proceed. Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said given thenumber of signatures collected, Walker shouldn’t seek delays andinstead let the election proceed. "Does anyone really honestly believe we’re not going to have anelection?" Tate said. Walker’s campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said he was notavailable for comment Tuesday. The governor’s supporters have been training volunteers on howto vet signatures and they plan to create a database where nameswill be entered and verified. Walker has already successfully suedthe state elections board to require it to do a more extensivereview of the signatures than originally planned. The Government Accountability Board has said its review willtake 60 days or more and it will go to court this week to seek adelay beyond the 31 day review required under the law. Tate said he didn’t expect a Walker recall election would happenbefore May. Walker has been saying he thinks it will be in June. Recalls have become common in Wisconsin since the politicaltumult of 2011 that saw Walker and Republicans pass the collectivebargaining changes, one of the country’s most restrictive lawsrequiring photo identification at the polls, and a budget thatincluded an $800 million cut to public schools. The oppositionstarted with massive protests and then grew into organizedcampaigns first to recall state senators and then Walker himself. Last summer, six Republican state senators and three Democratsfaced recall elections. Two Republicans lost, leaving the partywith a narrow one-vote majority in the Senate. The Walker recall couldn’t officially be filed until after hehad served a year in office, an anniversary that was hit earlierthis month. But he hasn’t been waiting around to see if the recall will besuccessful. Walker ran his first campaign television ad the night beforerecall petitions hit the street in mid-November. He’s been on airnonstop, making arguments that while some of the decisions he madelast year to balance a $3.6 billion state budget shortfall weredifficult, the state is in a better financial position and willprosper in the long run. Walker has been raising money at a furious clip. He was hostinga $2,500 per-person fundraiser in New York City along with Maurice"Hank" Greenberg, the founder and former CEO of AmericanInternational Group. AIG was one of the world’s largest insurancecompanies that nearly collapsed in the fall of 2008 at the heightof the financial crisis and received about $180 billion in bailoutaid from the government. Walker has also recently attended fundraisers in Texas, Kentuckyand Tennessee. He is taking full advantage of both the conservativestar persona built as he put Wisconsin at the center of thenational labor rights debate and a quirk in state law allowingthose targeted for recall to ignore normal contribution limitsuntil an election date is set. As of mid-December, he had already raised $5.1 million, withabout half of that coming from out-of-state donors. Democrats, who have no candidate raising money to challengeWalker, concede they will not be able to match him dollar fordollar. Instead, they are counting on the same type of enthusiasmthat drove the petition drive to translate into the campaign. The two most prominent Democrats, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingoldand retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, have repeatedly said they aren’tinterested. Even with that question looming, Democrats spent Tuesdaycelebrating. The number of signatures collected represents about 23 percentof the state’s eligible voters. In the 2010 election, Walkergarnered just over 1.12 million votes on his way to victory overMilwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who got about 1 million votes. Barrett issued a statement that praised petition circulators butdid not indicate whether he would enter the race. "It’s time for a new direction that will heal our fracturedstate and move Wisconsin forward again," Barrett said. The only other successful recall of a governor in the nation’shistory besides Davis was North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921. (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) All Things Considered, 01/17/2012, 4:50 p.m.