An effort to recall Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway failed after not meeting the necessary amount of signatures in addition to not turning paperwork in on time.
The organization, Recall Satya 2020, needed to collect at least 36,203 signatures over a 60 day period to prompt an election. However, as of Tuesday evening, the city’s clerk office only received 53 signatures, all of which were sent in by mail, Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl told the Wisconsin State Journal.
"It was a great effort. We fought hard,” the organization said in a statement to 27 News. “The cards were severely stacked against us.”
Joe Rygiewicz, a Madison hotel manager, started the recall campaign July 8. Rygiewicz offered a list of six grievances toward the mayor in the recall petition, including “Endangering Public Safety” and “Passed Expensive Wheel Tax Without Consent.”
Most notably, some of Rygiewicz’s frustration stemmed from a perceived lack of response in protecting the city from violence and destruction during protests this summer related to racial justice.
Rhodes-Conway has been widely criticized by the public, from both protestors and supporters of the Madison Police Department, for her response to the protests.
Demonstrators accused the mayor of not doing enough to remodel MPD, while proponents of the police department scrutinized Rhodes-Conway for a private video she sent to Madison police officers expressing sympathy with them during the protests in May and June. Due to the private delivery of her message, supporters of MPD believed the mayor came across as disingenuous, the Wisconsin State Journal said.
Rygiewicz also accused Rhodes-Conway of bending the truth to media outlets by claiming she did not know about the Recall Satya 2020 campaign.
In response to the recall effort, Rhodes-Conway said she wants to focus on serving Madisons’s residents and is “not going to be distracted by a small group of people who want to divide this community,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Many inquired about the amount of collected signatures, but Rygiewicz would not disclose this information. He did not turn in the signatures to the clerk’s office because he knew he fell short of the required amount. He remained vague in an interview on Monday, pointing out “we did not get enough.”
Although unsuccessful, Rygiewicz indicated he plans to initiate another recall effort in the spring. Forward Inc. of Wisconsin, a non-profit created from the recall, will lead the next campaign, according to 27 News.
“This ain’t over,” Rygiewicz said. “We’ll be back in the spring. We’re not done yet.”