Opponents of Gov. Scott Walker commenced their recall petition drive early Tuesday with pajama parties and "midnight madness"-themed events to oust the new Republican governor.
Groups such as United Wisconsin and the Democratic Party planned dozens of gatherings across the state late Monday and Tuesday to start collecting the more than 540,000 signatures required to get a Walker recall election on the ballot in 2012.
The first completed petition was turned in for inspection at the new Democratic office at 330 E. Wilson St. at 12:42 a.m. Tuesday.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and at least three Republican state senators also will be targeted for recall, opponents said.
Downtown, recall supporters gathered to be part of the occasion.
Wes Fox of Pittsville and fellow conservation biology major Amanda Lazzari of Grafton made their way to Hawk's Pub and Grill after the Packers' Monday Night Football game for a United Wisconsin pre-recall party.
"The Packers win was a great start to the night. It's a momentous occasion ... I had two exams today so I'm just enjoying the movement," Fox said.
"It's great to be one of the first people to start the movement," Lazzari added.
Lana Lawrence, a retired Janesville teacher, and Louise Stout, a nurse at Meriter, were making their way down State Street Monday night sporting solidarity T-shirts.
"I just want to be part of it. (Walker's) shown no leadership. He hasn't even used people in his own party to achieve thoughtful solutions to problems," Stout said.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin hosted a petition pickup party Monday night, and more than 40 recall supporters wore party hats and blew kazoos as they counted down the final seconds before 12:01 a.m.
Margaret Kraegy, 49, walked out of the Democratic office at 330 E. Wilson St. with petition in hand by 12:25 a.m. Kraegy, a heavy equipment operator for the Madison Parks Division, said she had to start circulating petitions because the legislation passed under Walker's watch has harmed her family and coworkers.
"I'm taking off work a half-hour early tomorrow so I'm not collecting signatures on city time," Kraegy said.
Kraegy planned to start petitioning at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Paperwork was to be filed online Tuesday, and supporters would have until Jan. 17 to turn in their petitions.
Walker said Monday he thinks people are ready to move forward and will judge him based on what he is doing to help people create jobs.
"There are going to be some people who want to reverse the course of the last election," Walker said. "The question is, do we want to spend the next six months doing an election, or do we want to move the state forward?"
Walker launched his first television ad in reaction to the recall during the Packers game Monday night. The 30-second ad features a school board member speaking in support of the governor, followed by Walker talking directly to the camera. "Wisconsin's best days are yet to come," Walker said in the ad.
Three senators targeted
Democrats said Monday they were ready to move forward to force a second round of recalls targeting three Republican senators: Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine. Republicans control that chamber with a 17-16 majority.
Wanggaard, who has been in office since January, expects a recall but said he can't focus his attention on it.
"We just have to keep doing the people's work," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he expects to be targeted for recall. He also said he will support Republicans running as protest Democrats again in recall elections targeting GOP incumbents to force a primary and give them more time to campaign. That tactic was used during the summer in the first round of recalls, when two out of six GOP senators targeted for recall were ousted from office.
Republicans questioned whether recall fatigue has set in among voters.
"There are a lot of people out there who are sick of politics, and here we have another round of recalls," said Stephan Thompson, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Website problem reported
On Monday afternoon, United Wisconsin said its website, www.unitedwisconsin.com, was the target of a cyber-attack. The group said its servers were flooded at about 2 p.m.
While the source of the alleged attack was unknown, the group said it was reporting the incident to the FBI and the Wisconsin attorney general's office.