Turnout Key Factor in Scott Walker Recall in Wisconsin
The recall election in Wisconsin between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett finally reached the level of attention you would expect from the biggest campaign in the country in 2012, save the Presidential race. A high-profile debate on Thursday led to the powerful exchange above, with the signature line from Barrett, “I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them.” The John Doe investigation against corruption in Walker’s various political and campaign offices, alluded to by Barrett there, generated another set of headlines as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that prosecutors opened the investigation because they were stonewalled by Walker’s county executive office. Thirteen colleagues of Walker have now been granted immunity in the case, with the thirteenth being Fran McLaughlin, the former spokeswoman at Walker’s county executive office.
An email uncovered as part of a public records request intimates that Walker would only seek higher pension contributions from “active state employees” and not teachers or local government workers. That email was from September 2010, yet by February 2011, Walker sought higher pension contributions from all non-public safety state and local employees, in addition to the collective bargaining restrictions.
Former candidate Bill Clinton campaigned with Barrett on Friday, saying that the “divide and conquer” strategy breaks with American ideals. Walker campaigned with Nikki Haley on Friday.
All of this now fades into the background, however, as the 72 hours before the election begin. Get out the vote operations are seen as crucial. Walker has led in virtually every public poll in the mid-single digits; while in Democratic polls, the race is described as a dead heat. One of the major difficulties in modeling the race comes from the questions about turnout. Based on absentee voting, state election observers believe that turnout will be higher for the recall than the 2010 gubernatorial election, which also featured Walker and Tom Barrett: