A conservative group from Dodgeville has launched a recall effort against State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), citing his vote against a mining bill that would have paved the way for a huge open pit iron mine in Ashland County.
Citizens for Responsible Government Iowa County (CRG) filed the necessary paperwork Monday to create a "Dale Schultz Recall Exploratory PAC" to raise funds for a potential recall of Schultz.
CRG claims Schultz, citing with the Democrats, cost the state hundreds of high-paying jobs. Schultz said he voted his conscience and did what was right to protect Wisconsin's environment.
"I think most legislators these days are fairly used to the notion of being recalled," Schultz said. "I've represented the people out there for a long time. I think I know them well. I think they know me well. I'll make my case."
Dan Curran of Dodgeville filed papers on behalf of "Citizens" with the state Government Accountability Board Monday that authorizes him to create a committee to explore recalling Schultz. The group would need 14,545 signatures to force a recall vote.
"We want to find out if we can get enough response to move forward," Curran told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. "We are looking at what's out there. It may not go anywhere. But we think the people of his district (17th Senate District) need to have a chance to express themselves."
With Governor Scott Walker and four Republican senators forced into recall elections this summer, it looks like payback time for Schultz, who has been a pivotal swing vote in a State Senate which until last week had a 17-16 Republican majority. Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) announced her resignation Friday, leaving a Senate split right down the middle, 16-16.
Also targeted for recall by CRG is Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) who also voted against the bill that would have allowed the Florida-based Gogebic Taconite to open the huge mine in his district just south of Lake Superior.
Jauch said in a statement that CRG doesn't care about northern Wisconsin.
"They just want to make sure they own the politics and control the person who represents the north," Jauch said. "It is obvious that CRG doesn't want good government. While the public yearns for bi-partisan cooperation this extreme group seems to condemn it."
Jauch and Schultz introduced their own version of a mining bill that would have retained more environmental protections, but GOP leaders rejected it. They instead offered several concessions to the original bill, but Schultz held his ground and the bill died when the Senate adjourned for the Session last Thursday. Officials with Gogebic Taconite then said they were abandoning their plans for the Wisconsin mine.
Both Jauch and Schultz are in the second year of a four-year term. Each has been in the state Legislature for nearly 30 years, something former Grant County Republican Party Chairman Dave Kuhle (R-Hazel Green) would like to see changed.
Kuhle says he wants to elect a Republican other than Schultz when his term expires in 2014, but is against the current recall effort statewide.
"I believe that the Wisconsin Constitution contradicts itself by guaranteeing a governor or state senator a four year term if they receive one vote more than half, but allows for one-forth of the voters to ask for a recall election one year after the person takes office," Kuhle said. "If a person gets elected, they should be able to finish their term unless they commit a felony, and I support such legislation that changes Wisconsin's recall