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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Wisconsin recall election

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June 5, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Wisconsin chooses a governor today while many wonder about wisdom of expensive recalls

Stevens Point protest rally

Anti-Walker protest rallies around Wisconsin became even more vocal as today’s recall election neared. About 100 demonstrators showed up for the governor’s arrival at Stevens Point Brewery on June 4, 2012. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

For 16 months, Wisconsinites have been living a surreal dream – one in which the heroes and villains are strictly a matter of political preference. If Milwaukee Mayor and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett beats incumbent GOP Governor Scott Walker in today’s recall election, it will be the biggest political shocker in Wisconsin history.

UW Election Eye will have a front row seat to either the governor’s victory or defeat tonight in Waukesha. But first, we will be “live” blogging from various precincts throughout the day.

WAUSAU, Wisc. – There may be a trickle of undecided voters left as Wisconsinites awaken to the most politically charged day in anybody’s memory, but good luck finding any.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Ashland, Lake Superior, Madison

June 4, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Wisconsin governor finds shaky constituency in law enforcement

Walker toasts Lt. Gov. Kleefisch

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch toasts her boss, Gov. Scott Walker, inside Stevens Point Brewery as if nothing extraordinary is going on outside the iconic building on June 4, 2012. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

UW Election Eye is in the middle of Wisconsin after reaching every corner of the state over the past two weeks. What we saw today south of Wausau is a governor spinning tumbling poll numbers and drinking beer for a photo op on the eve of only the third gubernatorial recall election in U.S. history.

STEVENS POINT, Wisc. — It is the ultimate political paradox.

The people ultimately responsible for protecting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are not anywhere near his strongest constituency.

In fact, a few police officers from this charming Midwestern town joined with state patrol in joking with protesters angrily opposed to Walker and passionately in favor of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in Tuesday’s statewide recall election.

One officer initially told protesters he always separates his personal opinions from work duties, but then laughed: “Get back to me Wednesday and we’ll maybe have something to celebrate.”

Dave Kratzke remained silent a few feet away, at one point staring at the ground prior to Walker’s arrival. “I’ve heard he’s a really nice guy, and some friends of mine who’ve met him say the same thing,” Kratzke told me later after a hundred protesters dispersed. “Whenever [Walker] is around people, he seems to be super friendly so I’m not sure what the deal is.”


Comments | More in National | Topics: Governor Scott Walker, State Highway Patrol, Stevens Point

June 2, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Wisconsin teachers at the center of fight over collective bargaining

Teachers in Wisconsin are just as divided as the state over Gov. Scott Walker’s restrictions on collective bargaining for unions and cuts to benefits.

MILWAUKEE — Milton Bond, standing a bulky 6 foot-4 and with a presence to match, stood among supporters in the pouring rain at a Recall Walker rally not long ago.

Milton Bond is a high school science teacher in Milwaukee. (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/ UW Election Eye)

The 48-year-old high school science teacher said he is scared for his students in the Milwaukee School District. Here, in the largest school district in the state, 27% of his students live in poverty and 10% are homeless.

“A lot of times, the only stability they have is school,” he said.

He says that could soon change.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Collective bargaining, Scott Walker, Teacher unions

June 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Political rock stars hit the ground in Wisconsin recall

Usually, Republicans label Democrats as celebs because of their Hollywood support base. In Wisconsin, the tables have turned, and this time, Republican Gov. Walker is the “rock star.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) campaigns on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker (WI-R).

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) campaigns on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker (WI-R) (Photo courtesy of Scott Walker Facebook page).

MILWAUKEE — Tom Barrett, Milwaukee mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the Wisconsin recall, has taken a page out of the Republican playbook. Republicans have repeatedly labeled President Barack Obama as a “too coolcelebrity with one too many Hollywood supporters. Flipping the script, Barrett has frequently called Republican Governor Scott Walker a “rock star.”

At the May 25 debate, Barrett ramped up the line of argument. He said the purpose for the recall was because Wisconsinites “wanted an opportunity to get a governor who would put this state first, a governor who would focus on creating jobs in this state and not traveling around this country trying to enhance his national image.”

Lately, though, it’s been the rising stars of the Republican Party traveling to Wisconsin to support Walker. And in an attempt to keep pace, Barrett now has his own political tour de force coming to town.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Bill Clinton, Governors supporting Walker, Recall Walker

May 30, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Charge of the Overpass Light Brigade in Wisconsin

In the Wisconsin recall election, people on both sides have found creative ways to communicate their views. Here is a story of one way that politics becomes social — using old-school technology.

The Overpass Light Brigade, a collection of anti-Scott Walker protestors in Wisconsin, display signs with their political positions on a freeway overpass May 26, 2012, in Milwaukee. (Photo by Lucas Anderson/UW Election Eye)

MILWAUKEE – Forty people stood on the Interstate 43 pedestrian overpass in the northern part of this city, clutching three-foot tall, wooden signs dotted with Christmas light lettering. In the receding daylight, all that could be seen was their message. That was the goal.

“Vote Barrett June 5″ spelled out the lighted letters. And then in smaller letters a few feet away: “Recall.”

Self-dubbed the Overpass Light Brigade, these protestors, co-founded by Milwaukee couple Lane Hall and Lisa Moline, were registering their positions for the state’s upcoming vote on whether to recall Governor Scott Walker and replace him with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Among the crew that night of May 26 were Greg Davis and his 14-year-old son Ben. Ben held a “B” while his father held an “R.”

“We’re just regular folks,” Davis said. “Not the people you’d see protesting at anything and everything.”


Comments | More in National | Topics: Interstate 43, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker recall

May 26, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Wisconsin recall election exacting a high social toll

On June 5 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker might become the third U.S. governor to be recalled – ever. Whatever happens to him electorally, the social impact of the recall is straining relationships in this Midwest state.

Madison Labor Protest Feb. 26

Homemade signs with strong messages are common among demonstrators (Photo by Emily Mills via Flickr)

MADISON, Wisc. – The stories are everywhere we turn: friends are becoming frenemies as the gubernatorial recall election in this state cascades toward its June 5 decision.

Here’s the numbers: In a randomly-sampled poll by Marquette University two weeks ago of likely recall-election voters in Wisconsin, there was this question: “Is there anyone you have stopped talking with about politics due to disagreements over the recall elections or Scott Walker?”

A stunning 34% said yes.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Recall election, Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin recall election

May 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

For some, Wisconsin’s recall election hits home — starting with the front yard

UW Election Eye is on the road for three weeks, covering politics in the heartland of America. One of our points of focus is Wisconsin’s historic gubernatorial recall election, set for June 5. For some, this election is particularly personal. One union organizer in Elkhorn, Wis., isn’t shy about putting forward her views — on the…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Scott Walker, Tom Barrett, Unions

May 7, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Monday Eye Openers: Wisconsin recall; North Carolina Amendment One

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Tom Barrett (D) may go toe to toe in upcoming recall election on June 5, 2012 (Photo courtesy of and

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Tom Barrett (D) may go toe to toe in upcoming recall election on June 5, 2012 (Photo courtesy of and

May 8 = Decision Day
Tomorrow, May 8, voters in Wisconsin and North Carolina will take to the polls.

In Wisconsin, the ballot will include the next round of recall elections for four Republican state Senate seats and the gubernatorial Democratic primary. The recall elections stem from a larger campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and six Republican state Senate seats that began in 2011 over Gov. Walker’s efforts to curtail union’s collective bargaining rights. In 2011, two of the six Republican Senate seats were recalled, leaving the four up for tomorrow’s election.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Amendment One, Equality North Carolina, Maine GOP convention