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Last dance for Dems before WI's recall primary night

By   /   May 3, 2012  /   No Comments

The clock is ticking to the first round of recall elections. Here's the latest roundup of the news and notes from the campaign trails.

By Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — With Wisconsin’s recall primary just days away, Democrats vying to take on Gov. Scott Walker have one more big opportunity to make their pitches and pleas to voters statewide.

Wisconsin Public Television hosts a live debate at 7 p.m. Friday.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug La Follette, and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, of Alma, square off in this last stand before Tuesday’s primary election.

The winner advances to the June 5 general recall election.

Falk, the choice and voice of Wisconsin’s public employee unions, may want to talk about anything but collective bargaining.

The latest Marquette University Law School poll, released Wednesday, shows 12 percent of Democrats likely to vote in the primary believe restoring collective bargaining rights for state public employees is the top consideration in selecting a nominee. Job creation was the No. 1 issue among respondents.

The poll also found Falk trailing Barrett by 17 percentage points, and La Follette and Vinehout running much farther behind with single-digit support.

“Don’t count me out,” Falk told TMJ4.

She’s got a chance. The poll shows 16 percent of likely voters are unsure of who they’ll vote for in the Democratic primary.

If Falk can bring in those undecideds and get the organized labor faithful to turn out, she would run well within last week's poll’s margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.

But saying Falk has a chance may feel a little optimistic, like Lloyd Christmas (played by Jim Carrey) in the slapstick 1990s comedy “Dumb and Dumber” asking damsel in distress Mary Swanson (Lauren Holley) what were the chances the two might hook up. “Not good,” Mary gently replies, not wanting to break Lloyd’s heart.

“You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?"

Mary: “I'd say more like one out of a million."

"So you're telling me there's a chance.” Lloyd gleefully says. “Yes.”

One-third turnout

The state’s elections watchdog, the Government Accountability Board, predicts voter turnout of 30 percent to 35 percent for the recall primary election. For comparison, the Republican presidential primary turnout tallied close to 25 percent.

They are family

The Democratic Party of Dane County has scheduled a pep rally for the elected Democratic nominee for governor, along with the three runners-up, outside the Capitol. Everyone should be home just in time to catch the beginning of an onslaught of negative campaign ads, which will rule Wisconsin airways for the following four weeks.

Kleefisch calling

She may have her own political battles, but Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is making time to make a pitch for Walker.

Kleefisch, who was recalled to election last month with Walker and four GOP state senators, sent an urgent get-out-the-vote message to Republicans on Thursday, scoring the governor's accomplishments and taking a shot at the challengers.

“In the last 16 months, the governor and I have worked tirelessly to bring prosperity back to Wisconsin after nearly a decade of poor policy decisions and backward thinking by the democrats (she doesn’t capitalize) previously in control of our great state,” Kleefisch said. She notes the elimination of the state’s $3.6 billion deficit and a turnaround in record-setting job loss, although Dems have picked at a report showing the state shed the most jobs in the nation between March 2011 and March ’12.

“Please make it a priority to show up at the polls and support the governor and the rest of the Republican ticket, as we beat back this baseless recall and look forward toward the bright future our bold reforms have put ahead of us,” Kleefisch urged.

Democrats Mahlon Mitchell, a Madison firefighter, and Milwaukee private detective Ira Robbins face off in Tuesday's primary. Isaac Weix, a "protest" or "fake" candidate, is also on the ballot.

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