Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is already jousting with a possible opponent in the upcoming recall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett — even though Barrett is not yet officially in the race.
Barrett is holding a fundraiser later on Wednesday for his mayoral re-election campaign, which he is widely expected to win on April 3, featuring a special guest: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. This has the Walker campaign sending out an attack press release.
Interestingly, the statement does not go for the expected national Republican angles of “Chicago” politics, or Emanuel’s status as the former White House Chief of Staff. Instead, it pursues an approach that the Walker campaign has been going on for some time, of saying that Wisconsin is doing better than the whole state of Illinois, where Democrats hold office.
“By inviting the mayor of Illinois’ largest city to Wisconsin, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is illustrating exactly the path he would take the Badger State down if elected governor,” said Ciara Matthews, Walker campaign communications director. “Under the leadership of Governor Walker, Wisconsin’s economy has seen drastic improvement over the last year. In Illinois, the story could not be any different.”
Among other things, Matthews points to differences in each state’s budget, tax rates, unemployment rate, and pension systems as evidence that the decisions Governor Walker has made have created economic growth in Wisconsin, while the decisions of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn are having a disastrous effect on that state’s economy.
The release also adds: “Mayor Barrett remains undecided on whether he will run for governor in the coming recall election, but Matthews says that should he get in, he will face the same fate he did in 2010.”
Barrett was previously Walker’s Democratic opponent in 2010, losing by 52%-47% in the national Republican wave. This time around, he has said he will make his decision shortly before the April 3 election day in Milwaukee for the mayoral race. Polling currently shows him leading in the Democratic primary for governor against former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who is actively in the race.
Once state election officials trigger the recall at a special meeting on March 30, the Democratic primary will be held on May 8, and the general election on June 5.