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Harsdorf recall on track, say Dem leaders

Organizers of a petition drive to force a recall election against State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, say they expect to have no problem collecting more than the 15,744 signatures needed by Monday, May 2.

A report filed Friday with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board shows the Committee to Recall Harsdorf has received $67,695 in donations and spent $67,156. The amounts collected and spent on the Harsdorf drive are higher than the figures reported in any of the recall drives against 15 other state senators.

According to the report, the money has paid for office supplies, petition printing, cell phone service, "robo" surveying, office space and staff salaries, benefits and travel.

"I'm hearing that we're ahead of schedule," said Cathy Leaf, chairwoman of the St. Croix County Democratic Party. She said she assumes canvassers in the district, which includes parts of five counties, have collected over half the signatures they need.

"But I have no hard numbers to put a number to that," said Leaf.

"There are a lot of individuals and groups (collecting signatures). There's a lot of stuff out there that I don't know about," said Bob Ebert, co-chairman of the Pierce County Democratic Party, who also had no estimates.

He said teachers and other groups besides party workers are circulating petitions, and what he has been hearing is everything is on track.

Roy Sjoberg, the Hudson man who registered the recall committee, said Monday he has been out of town and hasn't caught up on petition progress.

Leaf said the petition drive, which was already doing well, gained momentum with the announcement Friday La Crosse area Democrats have gathered enough signatures to force a recall election for Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke.

In the 10th District, the Democratic Party has over 200 people circulating petitions and "doing visibility" by either going door-to-door or manning petition stations, said Leaf.

"We're going to keep going and get the signatures of all the people that want to sign," said Leaf. She said she expects signatures will be collected up to the deadline.

"There are people that are very motivated to sign the petition," said Leaf of the response canvassers have gotten. "They know generally what you're there for, and they're grabbing the petitions and signing them."

For more please read the April 6 print version of the Herald.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.