CNN projects: Milwaukee mayor to face Walker in Wisconsin recall election
May 8th, 2012
10:01 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN projects: Milwaukee mayor to face Walker in Wisconsin recall election

(CNN) - Tom Barrett, the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee, will face embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the state's June 5th recall election. Barrett topped Democratic rivals in a primary Tuesday, CNN projected.

This isn't the first time Barrett has been matched against Walker – the two faced off in a 2010 gubernatorial election. Wisconsinites, along with many other Americans voting that year, went for the Republican in that election, choosing Walker over Barrett by 6 percentage points.

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"Barrett is attractive for several reasons, but the main one seems to be his electability," said Barry Burden, professor of political science at University of Wisconsin-Madison. "He lost to Walker in the 2010 election, but that was a year when Republicans did well across the board. Many Democrats believe that he has a much better shot this time around. In addition, he is not from Madison or tightly linked with organized labor, so he might be viewed more favorably by swing voters."

In 2011, Walker made a controversial decision to cut most collective bargaining rights for state employees, a move that sparked massive outcry from labor unions and Democrats. Massive protests erupted in the state capitol building in Madison, causing disruption to state business and bringing national attention to the standoff.

Unions argued that collective bargaining - a process of negotiations meant to regulate working conditions - has served to protect their wages and health care, as well as enforce workplace safety and serve as a means to arbitrate employee grievances.

Walker, along with other supporters of the measure, asserted union contracts constrain efforts to address Wisconsin's swelling deficit.

In January, Democrats submitted more than a million signatures to Wisconsin's elections board, and June 5 was set as the date for the recall election. This is the first time in Wisconsin's history that a governor has faced recall. The only two successful gubernatorial recalls in United States history came in 2003, when Californians recalled Gov. Gray Davis, and in 1921, when North Dakota voters recalled Gov. Lynn Frazier.

In his campaign, Barrett used Walker's controversial decision on collective bargaining to rally Democrats. In one campaign ad, he claimed the governor had created a "civil war in Wisconsin."

"Scott Walker has divided our state," Barrett said in the ad. "And while he's pursued his ideological agenda, Wisconsin has lost more jobs that any state in the country. We can't afford to have a governor who says 'my way or the highway.'"

On Tuesday, Walker's campaign manager Dan Blum released a statement responding to Barrett's win.

"As Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett enters the general election in his soon to be third statewide losing campaign, he will surely find that his record of raising taxes and promises to continue to do so will not resonate with voters," Blum wrote.

He continued: "While Governor Walker's term has seen unemployment drop to its lowest rate since 2008, unemployment under Tom Barrett has risen more than 28%. Rather than Tom Barrett's path of taking Wisconsin back to the days of billion-dollar deficits, double-digit tax increases and record job loss, we are confident that voters will choose to stand with Governor Walker and move Wisconsin forward."

A poll released May 2 showed Barrett narrowly edging Walker among registered voters by one percentage point, with 47% to Walker's 46%. Among likely voters, however, the results flipped. Walker pulled ahead by one percentage point with 48% to Barrett's 47%, according to the poll. Both margins fell within the sampling error.

With less than a month until the recall election, Barrett faces a steep fundraising deficit against Walker, who has raised substantially more than the Democrat.

"The Democratic nominee faces a severe financial challenge," Burden said. "Walker has raised about $25 million while Barrett and [Democratic candidate] Falk each raised about $1 million. The Democrats will need a lot of outside financial help or a perfect ground game to make up the difference."

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Filed under: Wisconsin
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Forwasrd Wisconsin!!! Congrats to our next governor

    May 8, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  2. Mike

    This is a very unwise precedent taking place in Wisc. Recalling an elected official not because he committed a crime or some other obvious flaw, but because his politics is odds with another groups. We have elections for this at times determined by state Constitutions. All this does is create an environment that anytime one political group opposes the sitting elected government, get signatures and have a recall. This is not healthy for a democracy. .

    May 8, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. RichardSRussell

    There was never a question that the Republicans would outspend us. But they can't outwork us.

    May 8, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  4. Jean Sartre

    FORWARD WISCONSIN!

    Tom Barrett v Moammar Walker... let's get this election moving by uniting our great state under a leader that respects the voters, and our Constitution: TOM BARRETT!

    May 8, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. Sydnium S. Adolsen

    Don't count on it.

    May 8, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    At least now, The Peope of Wisconsin, have a CHANCE, to restore some sanity to this State.

    Let's see if they are up to it

    May 8, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  7. JimfromBham

    Wisconsin: Why have I received at least 3 mailings from your governor asking for campaign contributions from me, a voter in Alabama? Why should I interfere in your elections? Why does Walkerneed my support?

    May 8, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    buh bye Walker.

    May 8, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. Steve in Madison

    The people had a chance it 2010. Many Democrats chose not to bother to vote. I am no Republican, but I will vote for Walker on principle. I oppose do-overs. What a waste of money. There's another election in 2014 anyway.

    May 8, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  10. * E-mail

    restore sanity? Just call me Greece.

    May 8, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Wasn't that state failing under its previous Gov.? Still boggles my mind that there is actually a recall because people didn't get what the wanted. Spin it how you want, sounds like that to me. Every election could then be up for recall if this is the precedent lol. Smart state.

    May 8, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  12. Hawk in Texas

    The republicans have the koch brothers backing walker. he has been bought and paid for by the koch brothers.

    May 8, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  13. Restore sanity?!

    Besides overturning Walker's collective bargaining law, what exactly have the Dem's proposed to fix the state? Falk said she'll "heal the state"...... With what? Hugs? Barrett, well he is mayor of the dumpiest city in the state; 5th poorest in the country. If he can't fix the city he runs, how can he do it to a state?!

    May 8, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  14. John

    Walker has the 1% including the Koch brothers but all the money in the world will not buy this election for them.
    The people of Wisconsin have had enough and Walker will be defeated along with his out of state Koch brother friends. It is time to take the state back from the GOP extremists intent on destroying the state to satisfy their 1% friends. Walker your days are numbered........

    May 8, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  15. BeverlyNC

    Congratulations Wisconsin! You have someone who can beat Walker and send that traitor to the curb. Walker is a liar, a Koch puppet, and betrayer of the People. Can't wait for him to be beaten and scare the other corrupt Republican governors – Kasich, Snyder, Scott, Brownback, Christie, and Brewer. It's time we woke up as citizens and took back our democracy from these extremist destroyers of our nation, our People, and our rights – after they already destroyed our economy and then obstructed every effort to restore it. We must pull together and rid every local, state, and national office of every Republican.

    May 8, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  16. Steve in Madison

    Dems will fix the state by raising taxes to European levels. Republicans want to fix it by cutting services to Third World levels. We need a new party of balance to cut off the extreme left and the extreme right, both here in WI and in the whole country.

    May 8, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  17. Bill in Appleton

    No, the people of Wisconsin have NOT had enough of Walker. Walker is bringing stability to WI, he's not raising property taxes (actually, they fell), he's saving jobs in education by NOT forcing the districts to cut jobs to save money. He got us out of debt and will keep us there. He is making the state tax friendly for small and new business.

    Walker, your days ARE numbered. 3 more years, then re-election. Bring it on Democrats!

    May 8, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  18. Bill in Appleton

    To anyone who opposes Walker: what do you suggest that he does to fix our deficit? Raise taxes? Don't come to the table complaining, if you don't have a solution to the problem. Nobody wants to hear you, you whiney babies.

    May 8, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  19. denroy

    so the recall was based on union recognition but the person sponsored by the union didn't get the vote.... Says a lot. Walker will be re-elected

    May 8, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  20. Barrett's a Tool

    " Barrett said in the ad. "And while he's pursued his ideological agenda, Wisconsin has lost more jobs that any state in the country. We can't afford to have a governor who says 'my way or the highway.'" Congrats Barrett, of those 24,000 jobs lost in the state, 22,500 have come from your city that you are MAYOR OF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Classic pass blame scenario. Try fixing this horrible city we live in before you move to bigger plans.

    May 8, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  21. JayK

    The comments are humorous!

    "buh bye Walker."? Really?! Highly doubt it! Primary numbers should have been higher, if the petition signatures were legit!

    "The republicans have the koch brothers backing walker. he has been bought and paid for by the koch brothers." Let it go, Man! Overplayed and non-factor!

    "Walker your days are numbered........"? Huh? Did you see today's vote totals?

    There goes more wasted money in recall contributions. Way to piss away money to argue about money, Wisconsin! This precedence translates into elections being for 1 year terms.

    May 8, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. $$$$$$$$$$ talks

    unless Mayor Barrett can raise 20 million more dollars by the end of the month he is done! I am no fan of walker but he has the money and from what I have seen driving through WI people support him. It's sad that all the effort the citizens of WI put in to try to get that monster out will fail. I predict walker will win his re election.

    May 8, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  23. Paul in Ohio

    Lets see – Walker stopped fat cat pension for teachers unions, took a budget that was bleeding money like Greece, and has kept unemployement rates lower than most states despite the disaster in Washington – are you Cheeseheads really that looney to buy into the lying teacher's rantings? You know, the ones that skipped work illegally, obtained false doctors notes and all the time claim "it's for the kids."?

    Go Walker, Go – the rest of America needs your sanity and leadership!

    May 8, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Wisconsin was doing fine under our previous gov. Snotty walked in to a $28m surplus and a 100% funded state pension fund. There was no economic crisis until he gave away $130M to his donors. Then he said he had to end collective baragaining to fixit and only later in front of congress did he admit that ending bargaining the rights saved the state no money. He ran on creating jobs and since his election we have the worst job losses in the country. 15 straight months of job losses a He gutted the education budget. 1500 teachers fired, tuition up at the tech schools and state college to make up for $30M budget cut

    He's got to go

    May 8, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Walker created the deficit. reverse his corporate giveaway and its gone

    May 8, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
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