With the Wisconsin primaries for the June recall elections now history, it’s time to see what lessons can be learned from Tuesday night’s primaries. First, Tom Barrett defeated Kathleen Falk in the Democratic primary with 58% of the vote. There were 670,278 Democratic votes cast for governor in this supposedly hotly contested primary.
Next, in a primary that was never in doubt, Gov. Walker bested his opponent by getting 626,538 votes. Combining Gov. Walker’s votes with his GOP opponent’s votes brings the total GOP vote to 646,458 votes.
At minimum, Tom Barrett should be worried. Barrett worked hard and defeated Falk, which is the good news. The bad news is that a) Gov. Walker’s team worked hard and got almost as many votes in an essentially uncontested primary as the Democrats got in a contested primary and b) the unions have been airing anti-Walker ads for awhile.
What’s worse for Barrett is that Gov. Walker hasn’t spent much of his huge warchest in advertising. Yet.
When Gov. Walker opens the advertising floodgates, I suspect that much of the advertising will highlight the direct correlation between Gov. Walker’s policies and the people’s dropping property tax bills. That flood of positivity, I suspect, will more than offset the unions’ onslaught of spin and negativity.
One thing’s certain: Gov. Walker’s vote total will increase in the recall election. Gov. Walker’s GOTV operation is operating at peak efficiency already. What’s more is that Gov. Walker’s organization is getting stronger. The volunteers have proved that they’re motivated, too.
Ben Jacobs makes another good point in this article:
Even more disturbing for Democrats was that Barrett won despite the overwhelming opposition of the labor movement, which backed Falk as the more progressive candidate. Barrett had only entered the race at the end of March and still managed to overwhelm months of efforts on behalf of Falk by organized labor, which had anointed her as its chosen candidate when the Walker recall movement was still in its infancy.
The Wisconsin PEUs’ candidate got defeated by 20-something points. It’s inconceivable that these unionists won’t turn out for Barrett for the recall election. Still, it’s gotta sting that union leadership didn’t get their way after all the work and money they expended on Kathleen Falk.