(CNN) – Mary Burke, Wisconsin's Democratic nominee for governor, will not appear in public with Barack Obama when the President travels to Milwaukee on Monday to mark Labor Day in the key 2014 battleground state.
The President and Burke are both scheduled to attend Milwaukee's annual "Laborfest" celebration, a gathering of union activists that play a critical organizing role in Democratic politics.
"Mary Burke has been scheduled to attend Laborfest in Milwaukee for weeks," Burke communications director Joe Zepecki told CNN in a written statement. But because “the President's Monday visit to Milwaukee is for an official White House event and not a campaign event, her participation in the public portion of events would not be appropriate.”
Zepecki noted, however, that Burke will meet privately with Obama during the President's visit, and "hopes to have him back in Wisconsin for a campaign event before Election Day."
Obama’s Labor Day stop has been widely publicized by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The President’s appearance with the Democratic gubernatorial nominee is notable in light of the fact that Burke also declined to appear with Obama the last time the President traveled to Wisconsin. With Obama's approval ratings sagging, his value to other Democrats on the campaign trail in swing states this year has been called into question.
The President does, however, continue to play a vital fundraising role for Democratic candidates nationwide.
Walker's campaign press secretary Alleigh Marré said "Burke can offer up excuses and try to hide from President Obama and his rotten approval ratings, but she can't hide from the fact that her and the president's failed economic policies are one and the same."
Burke is currently locked in a tight race with incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Forty-nine percent of likely voters support Burke compared to 47% for Walker, according to an August 21-24 Marquette Law School poll. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, which means the two candidates are locked in a statistical dead heat.
"I've known from the start that this is going to be a really tough race," Burke told CNN affiliate WTMJ. "The numbers are improving slightly among likely voters, and that was good to see. It confirms what I hear as travel around the state."
Walker, a conservative star and potential 2016 White House contender if he wins re-election this year, has been fending off allegations of wrongdoing throughout most of his term.
While the Marquette poll was in the field, new revelations emerged that Walker may have illegally coordinated with outside groups in a 2012 Democratic-led attempt to recall him from office.
CNN's Sean Kennedy contributed to this report.
Aw c'mon Mary....Just a snapshot?
You Got It
As a native of Wisconsin, I'm voting for Walker again – don't believe the media hype: Walker has done more good for Wisconsin in the last couple of years than Barrett or Burke could ever do with their ties to big Labor.
Walker did the right thing in restricting collective bargaining – the Unions need to GO!!! All they do is add cost, spend lobby money, and hold American workers back. Unions were a necessity in the days before OSHA, but not so much today; they are a legacy of the past.
August 28, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm
You really don't get it, do you? The media hype is all on Walker's side, and often comes from his campaign via a string of right-wing media "friends" who basically all quote each other quoting Walker's talking points. It's dead obvious to anyone here who keeps track of all the sources. If you think "It's working in Wisconsin!" then you sure as heck aren't in Wisconsin - we here are well aware of the damage Walker's policies have done to our state's economy, , and environmental laws, and schools, and safety net, and general political culture. You're nothing but a braying ass for Scott Walker's secret and not-so-secret puppetmasters. Who are very happy to hold American workers back for a few extra pennies on the dollar, in case you haven't figured that out yet either.