By: Brian Sikma
A group partly responsible for the Verify the Recall database released a new report on Thursday revealing that the Racine education establishment played a key role in the recall of State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) last year. According to the report by the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, employees of the Racine Unified School District (RUSD) and school board members and candidates comprised the single largest group of recall petition circulators (besides “unaffiliated”). Over a quarter – 27.38% – of the signatures gathered in the recall of Sen. Wanggaard were gathered by RUSD-affiliated individuals.
Many members of the Wisconsin education establishment were strongly opposed to Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining reforms, which were supported by Sen. Wanggaard. The effort to recall Wanggaard offered the Racine education establishment a chance to act out their anger at Walker and his reforms.
The Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty outlined their methodology and findings in a press release that read in part:
Using campaign finance reports, Democrat Party county caucus lists, and other online sources, researchers were able to find that Wanggaard petition circulators were affiliated with six groups: Democrat Party Wisconsin (DPW), Democrats For America (DFA), United Wisconsin, Working America (AFL-CIO organization), RUSD, and the RUSD School Board Candidates. Out of those groups, three played prominent roles in circulating petitions against Senator Wanggaard; DPW, RUSD, and RUSD school board candidates.
Three candidates; Michael Frontier, Laura Betker, and Cecilia Anguiano circulated 135 petitions and collected 867 signatures in the Sen. Wanggaard recall effort. Their average number of signatures per circulator was 289 which was the highest average of all groups in the study.
In addition, researchers compared the list of school board candidates and RUSD faculty members to the list of Sen. Wanggaard petition circulators. They found that 3 circulators are current RUSD school board members, 244 circulators are RUSD employees plus 4 are both RUSD employees and either Democrat Party caucus members or received expenditure payments from the Democrat Party Wisconsin.
The below chart released with the press release illustrates just how much influence the Racine education establishment exercised in the recall effort.