UW Election Eye is on a slow crawl from Wausau to Waukesha, Wisconsin — in search of those unique small town stories that can tilt critical elections one way or the other. Polls close here at 8pm Central, 6pm Pacific. We will be with GOP Gov. Scott Walker — win or lose — later this evening near his hometown. His repeat Democratic challenger of 19 months ago is Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee.
WEYAUWEGA, Wisc. — It is becoming increasingly clear on this 159-mile trek from Stevens Point to Waukesha that the most under-reported story in this fantastically expensive recall race is how many moderate and left-leaning Wisconsinites are voting Walker simply because they don’t think it’s fair he has to run twice in less than two years.
Take politically independent police officer Jerry Poltrock, for example. He is voting for Walker for only one reason: “How many times does this guy have to win to be governor?” he said while parking his cruiser along Main Street in this town of 1,889 people 45 minutes west of Appleton. “I am totally Scott Walker today.”
Jerry Solberg, whose son was pumping their pickup truck full of gas half a block away at the BP station, said he is sick to his stomach over what he believes is Gov. Walker’s impact on Wisconsin youth. “I feel so bad for these kids, trying to get going in life and having to put up with some sucker who’s doing nothing but taking every thing and every opportunity away from them. Yeah, I voted for Barrett and so will half this town, I promise you.”
Mary Jo Patton was enjoying a late lunch at The Coffee Klatsch along Main. “That guy Walker is a crook and a liar. This is definitely a swing town in a pretty red [Republican] county,” Patton said. She’s right. Waupaca County is not beet red because of the growing population of 20-somethings moving to small town east central Wisconsin to get away from the big city life.
Barrett will be appearing in Milwaukee tonight for the recall returns while UWEE moves on to Waukesha, where Gov. Walker will either celebrate or lament the night away.
Stay tuned, and join our live chat for more on-the-ground observations.