By Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON — If the June 5 gubernatorial recall election is Wisconsin’s political main event, Tuesday’s primary election between Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is a worthy undercard.
Hundreds of Wisconsinites took to the Capitol in February 2011 to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal of several collective bargaining privileges for public-sector unions and sparked a “solidarity” movement to force a recall election.
But the day before the primary election, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has canceled a “Unity Rally” scheduled for Wednesday. All four Democratic gubernatorial candidates, including Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, were expected to rally behind the nominee at the Capitol, but, according to DPW’s Facebook page, “After serious discussion, we believe we can’t afford to lose a single day of voter contact.”
The cancellation of the Unity Rally, pundits argue, may highlight a division among Democratic voters, at least for the primary.
The Associated Press alluded to the rift in the Democratic Party following Friday night’s primary debate: “The Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls were careful not to jab each other too hard Friday and risk alienating each other’s supporters; the nominee will need a united front going into June. Instead they spent most of the evening trotting out well-rehearsed talking points against Walker.”
Collective bargaining slipped from recall voters’ list of importance, as the historic recall election became a referendum on jobs instead of public workers’ rights and deep budget cuts.
All four Democratic candidates have pledged publicly to try to restore collective bargaining, but while Falk gained endorsements from the major public employee unions in Wisconsin, namely theAFL-CIO and Wisconsin Education Association Council, unions see Barrett as Walker-lite.
Regardless of which candidate advances to the general election, political scientists and pollsters agree, the recall will be won by get-out-the-vote campaigns and the undecided, the 2 percent to 4 percent of those who haven’t made up their minds on whom to support.
Barrett spent Monday campaigning in Sheboygan and Kenosha, while Falk stomped inMilwaukee.
Walker is scheduled to speak in Waukesha around 10 p.m. primary night.