Perhaps the 14 Wisconsin Democratic senators who went on the lam to avoid voting on Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget measures should have taken a page from the script Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Catch Me If You Can,” because he eluded corporate and government sleuths for so long. But tea party private eyes were watching them — and found them in Rockford, Ill., within hours.
The Badger State senators headed south of the border at about noon Thursday, just as the Senate was to debate a measure that would end a half-century of collective-bargaining rights for most public employees.
Many of the senators were holed up in a Rockford hotel, where some emerged to give media interviews, while others tried to elude such encounters when video-packing tea partyers ambushed them.
Sen. Jim Holperin, for instance, who got into a verbal jousting match with tea partyers badgering them in hot pursuit. The Democrat represents District 12 in the northeast section of the state.
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The senators plan to return to the Badger State Saturday, according to some reports, although it’s not clear whether a vote would take place.
Illinois tea partyers aren’t the only ones who have marshaled their forces during the Wisconsin showdown that has become a major national story. Wisconsin tea party groups are expected to flock to the Capitol Saturday for a rally in Walker’s support from noon to 3 p.m.
American Majority, a conservative group headquartered in Virginia with offices in several states, including Wisconsin, announced the rally Thursday.
Matt Batzel the Wisconsin director of American Majority, issued a news release saying: "As the week has progressed, Wisconsin and the Nation have watched schools across Wisconsin close due to teachers participating in a 'sick out,' the unions busing people in from other states to inflate their rally numbers in Madison and legislators fleeing the state to avoid the vote on the budget repair bill. It's time the voices of the Wisconsin people are heard."
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