Scott Walker, in Dead Heat, Faces Third Election in Four Years
Enter Mary Burke, the daughter of a wealthy industrial family (Trek Bicycle) whose only experience in public office was a stint as Doyle’s commerce secretary in 2005-2007. She is currently a member of the school board in Madison, the state capital, a hotbed of left-wing activity. She has been challenged from the Left for refusing to give red meat to the Democratic base about restoring union rights, but she is now receiving vast sums of cash from outside the state (despite her otherwise decrying outside “interference” in Wisconsin politics).
To reassure the left of the Democratic base, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama (twice), and Barack Obama have appeared in the state campaigning for her. While nearly every other Democratic office seeker is running away from the president and his policies, Mary Burke appears to need his help.
Walker is being outspent. He needs more help from the national party, and has expressed annoyance at what he sees as lackluster support at the national level, particularly by the Republican Governors Association (RGA). In the 2010 election the RGA spent some $5.2M in support of his first campaign, and nearly $9M in support of his recall election. They are expected to spend about $8M in this election.
But Walker would argue that it is not enough. For one thing, the margin of his victory in 2012 is somewhat illusory; from the beginning Walker has contended that many of the additional votes were not necessarily in support of his policies but instead were votes against the expense and annoyance of the recall. The polls have seldom showed either side leading beyond the margin of error, and the most recent edition of the prestigious Marquette University Law School poll shows the race in a dead heat, 47% to 47% among likely voters.
Everything rides on turnout. The volunteers are working their hearts out, but Walker needs help.