Milwaukee Mayor Takes on Governor

     MADISON, Wisc. (CN) – The results of Wisconsin’s recall elections were certified on Friday, confirming that the June 5 governor’s race will be a rematch between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
     Four Republican state senators also face recall elections. Loss of a single seat would throw the Senate to the Democrats.
     Barrett lost to Walker in the 2010 election by 5 percentage points, 52 to 47 percent.
     Barrett won the Democratic Party’s recall primary with just over 58 percent of the vote: 390,191 out of 671,602 total votes.
     Walker won the Republican Party with nearly 97 percent of the party vote: 626,962 out of 647,122 total votes.
     Total turnout was 1,318,724 voters for the primaries.
     Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections, released certifiedresults from the May 8 Recall Primaries on Friday, May 18.
     Runner-up to Barrett in the Democratic primary, with 44 percent of the party vote, was former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. Falk stepped down from her position in 2010, after becoming the longest-serving county executive in the office’s history.
     She sued Walker in March 2011 over his so-called Budget Repair Bill, saying the Legislature’s Committee of Conference pushed the bill through illegally by claiming it did not require a quorum of three-fifths of the state’s senators.
     The case was dismissed.
     Falk was backed by many unions in the recall primary. She also was the favorite of the Republican Party, which saw her as a weaker opponent than Barrett.
     Other Democratic votes were split between Kathleen Vinehout with 4 percent of the vote (26,967) and Doug La Follette with just under 3 percent (19,497 votes).
     Walker’s only competition was Arthur Kohl-Riggs, who took just over 3 percent of the vote (19,939 votes).
     Kohl-Riggs, 23, is a regular protester against Walker. He has made more than 150 YouTube videos, has been arrested three times on disorderly conduct charges or for “other conduct prohibited;” all his alleged offenses have been for filming in the Assembly gallery, or having a camera there, or for silently protesting.
     The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, thought to be a relatively liberal paper, published a stunning endorsement of Walker in its Saturday editorial.
     “We recommend Walker; his removal isn’t justified,” the newspaper wrote.
     “No governor in recent memory has been so controversial. No governor in America is so polarizing. Everyone has an opinion about Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Here’s ours: We see no reason to remove Walker from office. We recommend him in the June 5 recall election.”
     The paper added: “We think his limits on collective bargaining went too far. We think Republicans generally took an unfortunate sharp turn to the right on social issues. That led to bills in the Legislature promoting abstinence-only education, limiting women’s health options and creating a concealed-carry law with insufficient training requirements.” The newspaper called Walker’s Budget Repair Bill “an overreach of political power.”
     But the newspaper said: “Walker’s policies simply haven’t been in place long enough to know whether they are to blame.”
     In the editorial, the paper commented that Mayor Barrett is “a good steward of Wisconsin’s largest city,” but “can be tentative and slow to act.” It said that “Barrett, like Walker, is a capable and honorable public servant. But this election isn’t about Tom Barrett. It’s about Scott Walker.”
     According to the most recent Marquette University Law School Poll, released earlier this month, Walker has a 6-point lead over Barrett. The margin of error for the poll was 3.8 percent. Pundits believe the race will be tight and could hinge on turnout.

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