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Scott Walker Faces 3rd Shortest Wisconsin Gubernatorial Tenure if Recalled

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Only an acting governor and a governor who died on a Civil War relief expedition will have served fewer days in office than Walker

scottwalker10.JPGWith Friday being the last day for Wisconsinites to sign and deliver their petitions to most recall offices around the state, the tempo now accelerates for what could be the beginning of the end of Republican Governor Scott Walker's term in office.

Democrats collected over a half-million signatures by mid-December, with their initial goal of 720,277 likely to be exceeded according to some projections.

The final recall petition will be filed early next week to the Government Accountability Board after which a lengthy signature verification process will be conducted (31 days by law, plus an extra 30 days as requested by the Board).

The Board then allows 10 days for potential challenges of signatures.

Assuming, as is expected, that Democrats will have assembled enough signatures to move forward, a primary contest would be held six weeks after the verification process ends (early to mid-May) and the recall election would be held four weeks after the primary.

Walker will then have served less than one and a half years in office at the time of the recall election.

And, if he loses, he will go down as one of the shortest-serving governors in Wisconsin history.

A Smart Politics review of Wisconsin gubernatorial data finds that if Scott Walker is recalled he will hold the third shortest stint as governor of the Badger State, and the quickest exit of any elected governor not to die in office.

Presuming Republicans will both issue challenges and, at the very least, see that at least a 'fake' Democratic challenger is suited up to ensure a primary election, the above timeline indicates a recall election would take place in mid-June at the latest.

So long as the election takes place prior to June 29, 2012, a recalled Walker will have served no more than 1 year, 5 months, and 26 days in office.

Only two of the state's 45 governors have had a shorter stay in Madison - and both of these due to extremely unusual circumstances.

The shortest-serving governor in Wisconsin history was actually an acting governor - Arthur MacArthur, who served just five days from March 21 to March 25, 1856.

MacArthur was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1855 (on a separate ballot line) when one-term Democratic incumbent Governor William Barstow defeated Republican Coles Bashford by 157 votes out of more than 72,500 votes cast.

Barstow's victory was challenged by the GOP and the Wisconsin Supreme Court found election fraud had been committed to Barstow's benefit.

Governor Barstow quickly resigned before the Supreme Court's official decision was handed down, which temporarily made MacArthur acting governor - that is, until Bashford came to the Capitol and forcibly removed MacArthur from office a few days later.

The only other Wisconsin governor to have held office for a shorter period than Walker is the state's seventh governor, Republican Louis Harvey.

Harvey defeated Democrat Benjamin Ferguson by 8.4 points during the Election of 1861, and took office on January 6, 1862.

Governor Harvey led a relief expedition to aid Wisconsin outfits in the Civil War just a few months into his term, and tragically died after falling into the Tennessee River on April 19th.

Harvey served only 3 months and 14 days.

If Walker loses the recall contest and fails to make it to even the one and a half year mark, it will be quite a departure from the last two elected governors of the state - Republican Tommy Thompson and Democrat Jim Doyle.

Thompson (at 14 years and 28 days) and Doyle (at 7 years, 11 months, 29 days) are the two longest-serving governors in Wisconsin history.

Wisconsin does not have term limits for governors and switched from two-year to four-year terms beginning with the Election of 1970.

Prior to Walker, the average length of a gubernatorial administration in the Badger State has been 3 years, 8 months, and 3 days.

If recalled in mid- to late June, Walker would serve approximately 40 percent of that mark.

Length of Gubernatorial Service in Wisconsin

#
Governor
Begin
End
Years
Months
Days
42
Tommy Thompson
January 5, 1987
February 1, 2001
14
0
28
44
Jim Doyle
January 6, 2003
January 3, 2011
7
11
29
15
Jeremiah Rusk
January 2, 1882
January 7, 1889
7
0
6
38
Patrick Lucey
January 4, 1971
July 6, 1977
6
6
3
33
Walter Kohler, Jr.
January 1, 1951
January 7, 1957
6
0
7
10
Lucius Fairchild
January 1, 1866
January 1, 1872
6
0
1
24
John Blaine
January 3, 1921
January 3, 1927
6
0
1
37
Warren Knowles
January 4, 1965
January 4, 1971
6
0
1
23
Emanuel Philipp
January 4, 1915
January 3, 1921
6
0
0
27, 29
Philip La Follette
January 5, 1931; January 7, 1935
January 2, 1933; January 2, 1939
5
11
26
21
James Davidson
January 1, 1906
January 2, 1911
5
0
2
20
Robert La Follette
January 7, 1901
January 1, 1906
4
11
26
6
Alexander Randall
January 4, 1858
January 6, 1862
4
3
0
31
Walter Goodland
January 4, 1943
March 12, 1947
4
2
9
19
Edward Scofield
January 4, 1897
January 7, 1901
4
0
4
17
George Peck
January 5, 1891
January 7, 1895
4
0
3
22
Francis McGovern
January 2, 1911
January 4, 1915
4
0
3
30
Julius Heil
January 2, 1939
January 4, 1943
4
0
3
35
Gaylord Nelson
January 5, 1959
January 7, 1963
4
0
3
40
Lee Dreyfus
January 1, 1979
January 3, 1983
4
0
3
41
Anthony Earl
January 3, 1983
January 5, 1987
4
0
3
14
William Smith
January 7, 1878
January 2, 1882
3
11
27
32
Oscar Rennebohm
March 12, 1947
January 1, 1951
3
9
21
1
Nelson Dewey
June 7, 1848
January 5, 1852
3
6
30
3
William Barstow
January 2, 1854
March 21, 1856
2
2
20
28
Albert Schmedeman
January 2, 1933
January 7, 1935
2
0
6
11
Cadwallader Washburn
January 1, 1872
January 5, 1874
2
0
5
13
Harrison Ludington
January 3, 1876
January 7, 1878
2
0
5
25
Fred Zimmerman
January 3, 1927
January 7, 1929
2
0
5
12
William Taylor
January 5, 1874
January 3, 1876
1
11
30
16
William Hoard
January 7, 1889
January 5, 1891
1
11
30
26
Walter Kohler, Sr.
January 7, 1929
January 5, 1931
1
11
30
34
Vernon Thomson
January 7, 1957
January 5, 1959
1
11
30
2
Leonard Farwell
January 5, 1852
January 2, 1854
1
11
29
9
James Lewis
January 4, 1864
January 1, 1866
1
11
29
18
William Upham
January 7, 1895
January 4, 1897
1
11
29
36
John Reynolds
January 7, 1963
January 4, 1965
1
11
29
43
Scott McCallum
February 1, 2001
January 6, 2003
1
11
6
5
Coles Bashford
March 25, 1856
January 4, 1858
1
9
11
8
Edward Salomon
April 19, 1862
January 4, 1864
1
8
17
39
Martin Schreiber
July 6, 1977
January 1, 1979
1
5
27
45
Scott Walker
January 3, 2011
present*
1
0
11
7
Louis Harvey
January 6, 1862
April 19, 1862
0
3
14
4
Arthur MacArthur
March 21, 1856
March 25, 1856
0
0
5
* Through January 13, 2012. Data compiled by Smart Politics from National Governors Association historical biographical information.

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1 Comment


  • Ok.. so what happens if he is recalled? Who would run, what are they running on..so on and so forth...

  • Leave a comment


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