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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Joe Barabe

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June 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Northwest Wisconsin wrestles with governor’s failed mine proposal as recall election nears

UW Election Eye traveled to Wisconsin committed to reach every region of this state before the June 5 gubernatorial recall election. On Friday we reached the northwest corner and found a number of folks upset with GOP governor Scott Walker after the incumbent tried to rush through an open-pit iron ore mining bill not long after taking office.

Joe Barabe

Wisconsin's longest serving mayor, Joe Barabe, photographed after a day of fishing on June 2, 2012. He told UWEE a governor's aide said Scott Walker doesn't speak directly by phone with his constituents. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

MELLEN, Wisc. — In a scene ripped straight out of a script from the Andy Griffith Show in Mayberry, a dusty dinged-up pickup truck pulled up and parked along the shoulder of State Highway 13 in this tiny blue-collar town half an hour south of Lake Superior.

Out stepped the longest serving mayor in Wisconsin, Joe Barabe, holding his favorite fishing pole and looking resigned to a recall election victory this Tuesday by the man he called “an entirely worthless clown.”

Nobody worked harder than Barabe to defeat Scott Walker in his first governor’s race against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett two years ago.

This 24-year serving mayor is furious over Walker’s attempt to strong-arm a mining bill he calls an “embarrassing act by a disgraceful governor.”

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