Wisconsin State Senate Recalls

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The Wisconsin Democratic Party has asked for the GAB to call for elections as soon as they verify enough signatures to cross the 540k threshold set by law.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy has said they are legally required to count all signatures prior to any elections being called, and will be doing their utmost to have all recall elections happen on the same day.

In the interest of documenting charges that a Democrat engaged in some of the same behavior which has been revealed by the current John Doe investigation - State Senator Spencer Coggs has been accused of having his official staff do campaign work, among other odd relevations.

The response says Coggs advised Williams she'd lose her fiancé if she kept treating him that way and to portray this, looked at a photo of him on her desk and jokingly said the photo had her fiancé “looking gay.” Coggs noted Williams bristled at the suggestion, saying she'd tell her fiancé Coggs had said that, so he changed the subjected and moved on.

Williams’ original complaint charged Coggs made a reference to having “bullets” when she said she would tell her fiancé.

But Coggs’ response denied that, noting he “has long been highly skilled in martial arts. He does not own a handgun and, in his view, has no need for any handgun.

“Complainant’s fiancé is considerably larger in body size than the Senator, but the Senator has no question that if, hypothetically, someone of that body size had come at him with an intent to harm the Senator, he would have had no problem taking care of that person simply by using his martial arts skills,” Coggs’ attorney wrote.

The state Equal-Rights Division has already dismissed Williams' complaint, stating that it was outside the window for filing charges, and additionally that there was no evidence of discrimination. There's an additional complaint with the GAB about the illegal campaigning, which is still open.

I support the investigation, and if it's found that illegal campaigning did in fact occur, I want the responsible parties charged and prosecuted (even if that turns out to include Senator Coggs).

It's a (slightly) awkward fit here, but I don't think it merits a standalone thread.

Today's the deadline for the GOP State Senators facing recall to file their challenges with the GAB.

Fitzgerald has said his campaign will be challenging enough signatures to prevent the recall election (none of the campaigns have given numbers about how many challenges they plan to submit).

Once the challenges are submitted, the GAB will determine the validity of each challenge - at which point we'll know whether the threshold was hit for any/all of the senators.

[Edit to add: I'll make a prediction, with tongue only slightly in cheek. Scott Fitzgerald will challenge all 20,600 of the signatures on his recall petitions. As near as I can tell, there's no legal reason for him to not do this, and it's consistent with the scorched-earth political approach that is his hallmark.]

As expected, all four GOP State Senators facing recall filed their challenges with the GAB today. No reports on the numbers yet (that may not happen until the challenges are posted to the GAB site tomorrow).

It looks like the challenges have been released to the various recall efforts, however - and the #RecallFitz folks have had a look.

I concatenated the petition number and row number in their database. Hundreds of “duplicates” were duplicates in their data entry. In other words, THEY entered petitions twice. Duh.

From Fitz’s database, I first removed their duplicates that his people created by entering petitions more than once (in Excel concatenate petition number and row number and use “remove duplicates” tool under the “data” tab). Then concatonate first name, last name and use the highlight duplicates tool to color those duplicates and scroll through. Not one person signed more than twice. Some of the names have more than two entries but they are different people — same name but different address. And not a lot of these.

And what’s more, we’ve had numerous reports of people not finding themselves in Fitzgerald’s database, even though they signed the petition. As our data guru says, “There are definitely valid signatures that were missed in the data entry process. Fitz’s challenge should actually be to their own data entry people.”

Edit to add:

Also, legal quagmire surrounding the WI GOP redistricting efforts (first mentioned here, most-recent updates here) have uncovered another potential wrinkle. Two highly-paid legislative aides have been working out of the Madison law offices of Michael Best & Friedrich, rather than state-owned property. This is significant because the WI GOP have attempted to shield themselves from legal discovery requirements by having everyone involve sign secrecy oaths, and claiming the redistricting work was covered by attorney-client privilege.

Ottman and Foltz drew the maps in Michael Best's offices, and lawmakers would visit them there to discuss them.

Ottman said Thursday he was working part of the time in Michael Best's offices because legislators continue to have questions about the new maps and that is the only place where they can be printed. He declined to say how often he worked from that office.

"I don't keep track of how much of the time I'm in the (law) office," Ottman said.

Ottman's boss, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), gave a different reason for Ottman working from Michael Best's offices, saying it was necessary because of the litigation. Fitzgerald said Ottman also has duties unrelated to the maps that he performs.

Some time after the maps were approved in August, Foltz returned to the Capitol for about a month, said John Jagler, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon). Foltz now works at the law office most of the time, Jagler said.

Like the legislators, Foltz and Ottman signed confidentiality agreements, which became public on Thursday. The two signed the agreements in July 2010, six months before Republicans took over the Legislature.

It said any documents they produced had to be marked as confidential and could not be shared with others. Since then, however, the panel of federal judges has ordered what they produced to be turned over to the Democrats suing them.

Their agreements say they were working at the direction of Michael Best attorneys. But Scott Fitzgerald contended Ottman answered to him.

"He does what I tell him to do and when to do it," he said.

The big news today is that the challenges for all four of the GOP State Senators facing recall are predicated on the redistricting boundaries they forced through the Legislature last summer being in force for the recall elections. The WI GOP later tried to pass a bill that would have put the new districts into effect ahead of the normal 2012 timeline, to throw off last summer's Senatorial elections. Passage in the Senate was stymied by Senator Dale Schultz pre-emptively announcing he would vote against the bill if it came to the floor.

WisPolitics[/url]]The four GOP challenges to the recall petitions filed would derail the elections if all are upheld by the Government Accountability Board.

But most of those hinge on an argument that a large portion of the signatures were from those outside the lines of the new Senate districts that Republicans crafted this summer. The GAB said last year that the recall elections will be held under the liens in place since 2002, citing language in the legislation approving the new districts that said those maps didn't take effect until the November 2012 elections.

If those old districts ultimately hold up, the GOP wouldn't be able to disqualify enough signatures from the petitions filed against Sens. Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine to stop a recall election.

If all other challenges were upheld, the recall Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau could still be stopped.

Lastly, when it comes to the matter of duplicate signatures and fakes:
* The Moulton petition challenged 265 signatures as duplicates, though noted no fake names.
* Galloway challenged 403 duplicates, though noted no fake names.
* Fitzgerald challenged 205 duplicates, and one fake name that was only noted as having the last name of a well-known slang usage of "sucker."
* Wanggaard challenged 137 duplicates and no fake names.

So it sounds like their entire case for preventing the recall elections rests on the GAB deciding (illegally) that the new redistricting boundaries are in effect for these recalls. This seems absurd enough on its face that I wonder whether the actual goal is to get an unfavorable ruling from the GAB so they can appeal to the State Supreme Court, which has shown themselves willing to ignore relevant case law to further a partisan agenda.

Arent the number of names they are challenging pretty close to 0%?

NathanialG wrote:

Arent the number of names they are challenging pretty close to 0%?

The number of names they're challenging as duplicate or fake is close to zero. I think they're challenging higher number of signatures as "this person exists but did not sign the petition", but haven't found a good aggregation of those numbers yet (will post when/if I find one, though).

From someone outside their process, it really looks like they couldn't come up with enough legit challenges to derail the recalls, and are hanging their hopes on successfully arguing that the recall elections must follow the new district boundaries, even though those don't take effect until November 2012, and even though petition circulators were deprived of the opportunity to gather signatures in the sections added to any of these districts.

More debunking of challenges by the Fitzgerald campaign.

A diligent reader contacted us after checking some of the addresses that the Fitzgerald campaign is alleging are either nonexistent or illegible. The campaign's challenges are posted on the Government Accountability Board's website. The conclusion the reader drew was that it was the Fitzgerald campaign, not the signatories, messing up addresses.

Specifically, the campaign is asking that a number of signatures be struck because postcards sent to those addresses were returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable. However, checking the addresses on the postcards against those on the petitions shows that the Fitzgerald campaign, either purposefully or accidently, misaddressed numerous postcards, making it likely they would be returned.

The very first challenged address (pg. 8) reveals three glaring mistakes made by the campaign. The postcard it sent out was addressed to "Arnold Sodill" of W857 Eipong Terrace, Wisconsin, with no municipality or zip code listed. In fact, the actual petition was signed by "Arnold Wodill" of W8571 Lake George Terrace, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Wow. That's some serious chutzpah.

So, they've pretty much hit the trifecta -- lying, cheating, and stealing.

Yet, they're conservatives, so about a third of the population will vote for them no matter what.

In the middle of the night, our state Senate convened to pass a bill gutting normal environmental protections for our wetlands in the guise of job creation.

The wetlands bill would create a new, two-tiered construction permit system in the Department of Natural Resources. Developers could apply for a general permit or an individual permit for more specialized projects.

Individual permit applicants would have to submit mitigation plans. The plans could include purchasing credits from entities that have already restored wetlands, paying the DNR to support its wetland restoration work, or enhancing or restoring other wetlands with a half-mile of a project or within the project's watershed.

Submitting a plan wouldn't guarantee a permit, but it would give developers another way to show the DNR they could offset their projects' impact.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business group and a powerful lobbying force, the Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association all have registered support for the bill.

In a sad irony, just last week a study (warning, PDF) was released conservatively estimating that Wisconsin wetlands provide over 3.3 billion dollars in economic benefits to the state per year.


Special bonus: footage of Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald raving on the floor of the Senate before moving to reconvene just after midnight.

Kathleen Falk is one of the Democrats who has announced she will run against Walker in the recall election. I'm not entirely sure how to tie together the rest of his rant - you're on your own there.

This seems like fairly substantial news, recall elections. Is it strange that I am one state over and hear basically nothing about this on the news?

Psych wrote:

This seems like fairly substantial news, recall elections. Is it strange that I am one state over and hear basically nothing about this on the news?

Not surprising to me, at least. Last year, even when we had upwards of 100,000 people at the Capitol, there was barely a blip on the national media front.

Palin's speech in Madison, which had maybe 500 supporters, got far more coverage.

Video removed already.

LouZiffer wrote:

Video removed already. :(

Well, crud. Thanks for the heads-up, and I'll post if I can find another copy somewhere.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

Video removed already. :(

Well, crud. Thanks for the heads-up, and I'll post if I can find another copy somewhere.

You're welcome. I'm particularly interested in the goings-on in Wisconsin. Not only is my wife from there, but my mother-in-law is a life-long teacher there. At least, she's still a teacher for now. It looks like she'll be forced into retirement this year in order to keep her retirement medical benefits. It's a very sad situation as she can't afford not to retire, yet teaching is what she loves and all she knows.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
Psych wrote:

This seems like fairly substantial news, recall elections. Is it strange that I am one state over and hear basically nothing about this on the news?

Not surprising to me, at least. Last year, even when we had upwards of 100,000 people at the Capitol, there was barely a blip on the national media front.

Palin's speech in Madison, which had maybe 500 supporters, got far more coverage.

I think I will avoid responding to this, as this is not a "What the hell is wrong with media" thread. Either way, I will enjoy staying as informed as possible.

Some of these people sound as though they have lost all interest in representing their constituents. Well, their non-corporations-who-are-people constituents.

I hadn't brought this up earlier because it didn't feel like it was a good fit for any of the existing Wisconsin threads, and I'm leery of turning P&C into a collection of "Wisconsin GOP war on x". Yesterday's developments made this most relevant to our State Senate recalls, so bear with me while I front-load some context.

The Wisconsin GOP, using the oft-repeated claim that onerous regulations were preventing growth, decided to gut the environmental protections. It was almost immediately apparent that the goal was to allow Gogebic Taconite to create a strip mine in Ashland County. The bill was even more contentious than might be expected for an environmental issue, because Gogebic Taconite's mine would be sited in an area adjacent to tribal lands belonging to the Bad River Tribe (among others). Those tribes are legally sovereign nations, which raises a host of legal questions the Assembly turned a blind eye to.

Among other problems with the bill (which became AB 426):

* limits the amount a mining company has to pay for the cost of reviewing a mining permit and reclamation plan to $2 million. Taxpayers are responsible for covering any review costs exceeding that amount.
* sets a shorter timeline for DNR permit reviews, and changes the law so that any permit review not completed in time is automatically approved.
* eliminates contested case hearings, normally used by the DNR or citizens to challenge the information submitted by the mining company
* declares that AB 426 trumps any other environmental laws if there is a conflict. This impacts water & air quality, and even wholesale dumping of hazardous waste

Nasty stuff. So nasty, in fact, that no member of the Assembly was willing to declare themselves an author for this bill. The Democratic members of the Assembly began to get traction with the suggestion that perhaps the actual author of the bill was Gogebic Taconite, at which point Jeff Fitzgerald (Scott's brother) pulled a "Spartacus" and bullied the entire GOP membership of the Assembly into *all* being listed as authors. I'd still like to know what the actual authoring process was for this bill, especially given some of the misbehavior that's come to light in the redistricting process.

Our State Senate convened a special Mining Jobs Committee to work through their version of the bill. Republican Senatpr Neal Kedzie's draft attempted to pacify some of the most strident objections through a series of compromises, but instead managed the impressive feat of inflaming both supporters and opponents of AB 426. Nonetheless, it was a compromise, and the committee was working to find a constructive path forward.

Senator Scott Fitzgerald's response? Disband the committee, and instead introduce a copy of AB 426 for voting. Eleven of the seventeen GOP senators co-introduced Senate Bill 488, which is their clone of the Assembly bill.

Scott Fitzgerald's plan to railroad the Assembly bill through ran into a problem when Republican Senator Dale Schultz (remember him?) declared he would not support SB 488. Perhaps worth mentioning: Schultz was a member of the now-disbanded Mining Committee. Schultz is working with Democratic Senator Bob Jauch on an alternative mining bill, but with the legislative session wrapping up soon, it's not clear whether anything will be passed before the legislature goes on recess.

Lori Compas, the Wisconsin citizen who was galvanized into political involvement by the actions of her State Senator Scott Fitzgerald, has announced she will stand as a candidate in the election to recall him.

Haven't met her in person yet, but sounds like she's a smart, tough gal. (Progressive magazine did a profile on Lori Compas after the recall signatures were turned in).

GOP State Senator Dale Schultz announced today that he could not support a mining bill that didn't include provisions for public legal challenges.

Schultz and state Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, have proposed a compromise bill with a less stringent timeline that retained protections for wetlands and other waters as well as more tax dollars for local communities and provisions for public legal challenges.

The announcement Wednesday by Schultz is the latest development in a bitter political struggle over legislation proposed to clear the way for a $1.5-billion open pit iron mine in northern Wisconsin's Penokee Range, south of Ashland. The mine is proposed by Gogebic Taconite, the subsidiary of a Florida-based coal mining company. Gogebic says the mine will provide 700 jobs when it is in operation.

Citing those jobs, Republicans have made the effort to pass a bill to streamline mine permitting the centerpiece of their legislative agenda this session. But with the session scheduled to end March 15 and the permitting bill stalled, time is running out.

So important is the mine bill to the Republicans that Gov. Scott Walker took to the highway Tuesday to drum up support for passing the legislation. He spoke to crowds gathered at mining equipment manufacturing plants in Milwaukee, Rhinelander and Green Bay.

Act 23, Wisconsin's Voter ID law (first mentioned upthread) faced a setback yesterday as Judge Flanagan issued a temporary restraining order in the case brought by the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera. The injunction means that our April elections will not require voters to show one of the "approved" forms of photo ID enumerated by the law.

Ruling by Judge Flanagan wrote:

If an injunction issues, the election will go forward and constitutionally qualified voters be not be excluded. Difficulties may ensue but that is because an unconstitutional regulation had been unwisely attempted. If no injunction issued, a clearly is improper impairment of a most vital element of our society will occur. The duty of the court is clear. The case has been made. Irreparable harm is likely to occur in the absence of an injunction.

Conservatives are up in arms about the ruling after discovering that Judge Flanagan signed a petition to recall Governor Walker. I'm kind of on the fence about the appropriateness of recusal here - while I believe Governor Walker is on the record as supporting Wisconsin Act 23, I don't believe it was something he campaigned on, and it's hardly been something he's been closely associated with. If this case had been about 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (the collective bargaining bill), I'd definitely be in favor of recusal. I'm wary of abridging the right of our judiciary to participate in the political process, but with the facts at hand, I'd probably still be willing to grant that it's enough of a grey area that recusal would have been a better choice.

I'd have an easier time taking this conservative dust-up about recusal as genuine concern instead of partisan politics if there had been even the slightest bit of outrage over Justice Gableman, who not only has declined to recuse himself for cases argued by a firm he received free legal services from, but ruled in their favor more often than any other Justice, and is still claiming there would be no evident conflict of interest in his ruling on a case argued (in part) by his own lawyer.

(Wasn't sure which Wisconsin thread was the best home for this, but since the Voter ID was first mentioned in this one, decided to post it here.)

Weird developments on the mining bill yesterday. Senator Fitzgerald brought SB 488 to a vote (it failed), then again with an amendment authored by GOP senators Vos and Darling (it failed, in part because it didn't compromise on any of the issues Dale Schultz said were dealbreakers for his vote). Then Fitzgerald pushed the bill back to the Joint Finance Committee, preventing a vote on the compromise version authored by senators Shultz and Jauch.

Senator Schultz and the Democrats reiterated their hope for a meaningful compromise, but it's probably a moot point, since Gogebic Taconite has announced they no longer plan to move forward with their mining plans in Wisconsin (warning, PDF).

Kind of a weird black eye for Fitzgerald, who has been pretty good this session about only floating legislation in the Senate that he knows he can get passed. I'm not sure if he thought he had a Democrat willing to defect, or if this is an attempt to portray Democrats as unwilling to compromise ahead of the recall elections (or something else entirely).

[Edit to add: since the "jobs" drumbeat appears to be the drum our state GOP is banging over the mining bill, it may be worth reminding folks that the special legislative session on jobs Governor Walker called late last year, the one that was supposed to be focused "like a laser" on job creation, was instead overwhelmingly about passing bills that had nothing to do with jobs. The salvage plan for this mining bill may be to repurpose it as their figleaf, allowing the GOP to claim that they wanted to create jobs in Wisconsin, but those darn Democrats just wouldn't play ball.]

The Republican Party of Wisconsin has filed a formal complaint against Judge Flanagan (warning, PDF). In the complaint, they cite §757.19(2)(g) of the Wisconsin legal code and Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct, SCR 60.06 (2)(a).

Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct, SCR 60.06 (2)(a) wrote:

No judge or candidate for judicial office or judge-elect may do any of the following:

1. Be a member of any political party.
2. Participate in the affairs, caucuses, promotions, platforms, endorsements, conventions, or activities of a political party or of a candidate for partisan office.
3. Make or solicit financial or other contributions in support of a political party's causes or candidates.
4. Publicly endorse or speak on behalf of its candidates or platforms.

The law additionally provides that a judge should recuse themselves, among other reasons:

§757.19(2)(g) of Wisconsin legal code[/url]]When a judge determines that, for any reason, he or she cannot, or it appears he or she cannot, act in an impartial manner.

In addition to the Gableman concerns mentioned immediately above, it's worth noting that Justice Prosser opted not to recuse himself argued by a lawyer who had donated his time to Prosser's recount efforts in a closely-contested election for State Supreme Court.

Also, both Gableman and Prosser appeared at an event this past year run by the Dane County Young Republicans (rehosting images in case these get pulled down):

Gableman
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/Psdxu.jpg)

Prosser
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/Pokkd.jpg)

Dimmer, I saw some mailings a short while back about major Republican figures in WI getting tied to some overtly racist statements from a Madison political group. (I apologize, I don't remember the name of the group. King Street Something? Maybe.) Did that stuff ever stick?

The group Zenke's referring to is the King Street Patriots. (Astute followers of Wisconsin politics may remember their appearance last month, as the creators of the database used by "Verify the Recall" folks). The King Street Patriots are actually based in Houston and are not a Madison group at all, though you could be forgiven for thinking that, given how loudly the WI GOP has protested about out-of-state involvement in the various recall efforts.

The only email scandal for the King Street Patriots I'm aware of was October of 2010, when the King Street Patriots sent an email to Houston Votes, a group focused on nonpartisan voter registration efforts. This was in the wake of fraud allegations against Houston Votes, which were in fact started by the King Street Patriots. (There's a short overview of that story here).

The email sent to Houston Votes read, in part:

You liberial scumbags should be hung by the neck in public ! We are on to your voter fraud. Keep it up you MOTHER f*ckERS and you will soon be put down for a long dirt nap! Your nothing but a bunch of white guilt ridden *ssholes, N*GGERS and greasy mexican spics! The WAR is comming and we are going to dispose of each and every one of you while we take OUR (White) nation back

(Spelling preserved, asterisks added)

As far as I know the King Street Patriots haven't repeated the foolish mistake of sending a ravingly racist email to anyone likely to make it public, but their efforts to prevent the gubernatorial recall elections are probably not something that should be taken as being a good faith effort in ensuring that Wisconsin's citizens have open and accountable government processes.

Don't believe their association with "Verify the Recall" has had any real fallout (so far, at least).

Dimmerswitch wrote:

Don't believe their association with "Verify the Recall" has had any real fallout (so far, at least).

Of course not.

I looked through my email, and the WI Democratic party is digging this thing up to 'help' as they push forward with the recall effort. No mention of it being back in 2010. Of course. Can't let a little thing like context get in the way of a good story.

Is it utterly naive that I wish there was a political group I could fully support? Without having to once in a while /faceplam hard?

Michael Zenke wrote:

I looked through my email, and the WI Democratic party is digging this thing up to 'help' as they push forward with the recall effort. No mention of it being back in 2010. Of course. Can't let a little thing like context get in the way of a good story.

That's really disappointing. There are so many good, true stories of bad faith and poor governance to share as we head towards the recall - presenting a 2010 story as recent news is a baffling, stupid choice on their part.

Michael Zenke wrote:

Is it utterly naive that I wish there was a political group I could fully support? Without having to once in a while /faceplam hard?

I'm actually pretty happy with the Democrats representing me at the state and local level, but the state-level party does sometimes do boneheaded stuff. Though that's no doubt maddening at times, at least you don't have to /facepalmtree

At around 0:47 into the clip, in perhaps an unguarded moment, Fitzgerald admits the original authors of the mining bill were Gogebic Taconite and the other corporations, exactly as some activists had alleged.

And I go all the back to the beginning of the session, when the corporations started building that bill...

I thought there might be an interesting story behind SB 488 (the mining bill) coming up for that failed vote. According to this report, state Senator Tim Carpenter is the Democrat who ended up not flipping.

Earlier this week several Senate Democrats, including Milwaukeeans state Sen. Spencer Coggs and Tim Carpenter, indicated they were considering vote for the mining measure. Senator Carpenter even spoke to one of John's sources about how his dad worked for 35 years at Falk, a company that makes mining machinery. John heard that Carpenter felt an almost a hereditary obligation to vote for the mine

On Monday night five labor unions and Gogebic Taconite's thought they saw an opening. According to sources, Senator Carpenter was indicating that he might be willing to vote for the mine and its thousands of jobs. But Carpenter apparently voiced concern about how a mine up near Lake Superior would benefit his constituents in Milwaukee. Carpenter, John's told, expressed an interest in having a fully funded mining and manufacturing program developed in inner city Milwaukee -- specifically he wanted the program to train high school students in his district for future mining and manufacturing jobs. And Carpenter was apparently insistent that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce administer the program. Why the Hispanic chamber? It turns out that Senator Carpenter's Senate District has the largest population of Hispanics of any of the state's 33 Senate districts.

So the training initiative was inserted into the bill. And sources say that in exchange for the initiative, Carpenter committed to voting for the bill. The unions are happy, Republicans are relieved, and fellow Democratic Senators don't yet know anything about his decision, as of Monday night.

On Tuesday, Republican Senate leadership decided to call the vote, believing they have the numbers for passage. Then in the afternoon, the Democrats caucus, John was told by an inside source, they felt good about the fact that they had all their members and Republican Dale Schultz set to vote against the bill. They believed defeat of the governor's mining bill was at hand. At that point, Carpenter spoke up and indicated he might bolt, and vote for the measure. As you can imagine, chaos emerged.

About 5 p.m the vote was called. Nervously, Democrats and Republicans filed into the chamber. Both sides though they had the votes to win. Both sides were also very nervous. State Sen. Tim Carpenter is the first one in the roll call. All eyes were on him as the roll was called. Almost immediately there was confusion. John reports there was a murmur and he looked confused. Senate President Mike Ellis asked Carpenter if that was how he intended to vote and he abruptly changed his vote and cast the vote that would ultimately defeat the measure.

Note that this may put the lie to Fitzgerald's claim that he didn't speak with any Democrats about their vote. (It's possible the discussion was through intermediaries, but Fitzgerald seems like a pretty hands-on guy).