The Fix: Wisconsin

Why Scott Walker will be tough to defeat in 2014

Why Scott Walker will be tough to defeat in 2014

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) officially has an opponent. And she will have a tough time unseating the incumbent.

Mary Burke, the former bicycle company executive and state commerce secretary announced her campaign on Monday with a simple message: jobs, jobs, jobs.

Democrats are bullish on Burke, and there are justifiable reasons for them to be. But the reality is that running against Walker will be no small task, for several reasons.

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The GOP's big electoral vote gambit, explained

The GOP's big electoral vote gambit, explained

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus voiced support over the weekend for an effort to reform how some states award their electoral votes.

And the effect of the movement should not be underestimated.

Below, we take you through the particulars of the effort, what it would mean, and why it will or won't happen.

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Can unions save the white working-class vote for Democrats?

Can unions save the white working-class vote for Democrats?

Voters in union households provided a big boost to President Obama in Ohio and Wisconsin, where key battles over public sector unions have been waged. Their strong support helped him staunch big losses elsewhere among white working-class voters.

Are the results in Ohio and Wisconsin a road map for Democrats to win back the white working-class vote across the country? The data suggest probably not. The union vote didn't make a difference among the white working-class nationally and union membership continues to erode.

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Democrat Tammy Baldwin wins Wisconsin Senate race

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) won the open Wisconsin Senate race Tuesday, becoming the first openly gay person elected to the upper chamber.

Baldwin led former governor Tommy Thompson (R) 51 percent to 47 percent with 84 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. The Washington Post has called the race for her.

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The 7 most important counties in Election 2012

The 7 most important counties in Election 2012

Election junkies are about to get bombarded with data, starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, when the first polls close in Kentucky and Indiana.

But how to follow it all?

Below, The Fix highlights seven bellwether counties in critical swing states that will give us a good idea who is about to become the next president.

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Brutal 9/11 ad takes center stage in Wisconsin Senate race

Brutal 9/11 ad takes center stage in Wisconsin Senate race

Eleven years after Sept. 11, 2001, that day’s terrorist attacks are rearing their head in a major way in one of the hottest Senate races in the country.

Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson’s (R) campaign today launched a brutal new ad attacking Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) for voting against a 2006 bill commemorating the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

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8 Senate candidates whose third quarter reports matter

All eyes in the political world are fixed on tonight’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. But elsewhere, House and Senate candidates are feverishly tallying their fundraising numbers.

The third quarter — the last full quarter before the November election — came to a close at midnight Monday, which means we’ll soon know who raised how much for the stretch run of the 2012 campaign.

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Obama cracks 50 percent in three swing states

Obama cracks 50 percent in three swing states

Yet more swing state polling shows President Obama asserting a lead, with a trio of polls from NBC News and Marist College showing him at the all-important 50 percent mark in Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The polls show Obama leading Mitt Romney 50 percent to 45 percent in both Colorado and Wisconsin and 50 percent to 42 percent in Iowa. (The Wisconsin poll also showed Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin gaining in that state’s important Senate race. She’s now at 48 percent, compared to Republican former governor Tommy Thompson’s 46 percent.)

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Obama makes more swing state gains

Obama makes more swing state gains

President Obama has a small edge in two of three key swing states and has gained ground in two of them over the past month, according to new polling from CBS News, the New York Times and Quinnipiac University.

Meanwhile, a separate poll from Gallup and USA Today shows the picture in the swing states remaining largely static, with Obama holding a 48 percent to 46 percent edge over Mitt Romney across all of them.

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Wis. judge strikes down law curbing collective bargaining for public workers

Wis. judge strikes down law curbing collective bargaining for public workers

A Wisconsin judge on Friday struck aside a law signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R) that curbed collective bargaining for most public employees, thrusting a contentious issue that spurred historic recall elections back into the spotlight less than two months before Election Day.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas ruled that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and runs afoul of free speech and association rights, the Associated Press reported.

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Senate surprises stoke majority ambitions on both sides

Senate surprises stoke majority ambitions on both sides

Senate Democrats’ and Republicans’ campaign arms would be wise to heed the words of Oscar Wilde, the 19th century Irish dramatist: “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”

With nearly all of the major Senate primaries wrapped up, a series of unexpected events has swung momentum to and fro in the battle for the Senate, with the end result being a landscape offering a path to the majority for both parties.

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Primary day: Five things you need to know in Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Voters head to the polls in four states today, with Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin holding congressional primaries.


Connecticut House Speaker and Democratic congressional candidate Chris Donovan is favored to win his primary today despite the arrests of two top aides. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
As usual, The Fix has zeroed in on five things to watch as the results roll in tonight:

1. The most expensive congressional primary in the country

That would be Connecticut’s 5th district, where seven candidates have raised at least $600,000 and five have raised more than $1 million. A total of nearly $10 million has already been raised just to decide each party’s nominee.

The most interesting subplot is on the Democratic side, where state House Speaker Chris Donovan remains the favorite despite the fact that his campaign manager and top fundraiser have both been arrested and charged with corruption. Organized labor and progressive groups remain firmly behind Donovan, who has not been implicated in the wrongdoing and has won the state party’s endorsement as well.

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GOP Senate primaries see businessmen making real strides

Senate Republicans’ slate of candidates this November could have a significant business flavor.

Self-funded businessmen are surging in three key GOP primaries right now in Arizona, Missouri and Wisconsin, and all three appear to have a good shot next month of beating better-known Republicans who have held high-level elected offices.


St. Louis area manufacturing executive John Brunner meets with supporters after announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate, Oct. 3, 2011, in St. Charles, Mo. Brunner is one of a few Republican businessmen who could win their party’s Senate nomination this fall. (Jeff Roberson — Associated Press)

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Wisconsin recall=Wisconsin 2010

The analysis of why Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat back the Democratic-led attempt to oust him from office on Tuesday continues to fly back and forth across the political world. (We have our own theories, which we explain here.)


Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker waves at his victory party Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Waukesha, Wis. Walker defeated Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a special recall election. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
But, for all of the words spilled about the “why”, Walker’s win can be boiled down into a single sentence: The recall electorate looks almost exactly like the 2010 governor’s race electorate where Walker first beat Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

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Wisconsin recall: Winners and losers

Wisconsin recall: Winners and losers

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) decisive victory against Democrats seeking to recall him on Tuesday amounts to a major moment in national politics due to the massive amounts of national money and attention the race garnered.

Any time there are such high stakes in an election, there are people who win big and people who lose big. And we at the Fix love nothing more than sifting through the results to go beyond the obvious “bests” and “worsts” of the night to find a few winners and losers you might not have thought of.

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Wisconsin recall: Union voters ≠ union households

Voters from union households turned out in droves for Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin in an unsuccessful attempt to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker (R).

But the strength of the union vote was limited, perhaps decisively, by a divide between union members and those who simply live in union households.


Many of the protesters were members of unions whose power to negotiate contract benefits would be affected.

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Despite Scott Walker’s win, Obama outpolls Romney in Wisconsin

Updated at 11:35 a.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is on his way to victory in the state’s recall election tonight, but looking forward to the fall, the Obama campaign may have something positive to glean from the results.

While the totals have Walker ahead significantly, exit polls suggest he did it with a healthy dose of support from voters who are leaning toward President Obama in the fall.

In fact, exit polls show Walker winning 18 percent of Obama supporters — much higher than Democrat Tom Barrett’s 6 percent of Mitt Romney supporters. Overall, the electorate that turned out Tuesday backed Obama by a 51 percent-to-44-percent margin.

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Wisconsin recall: 2010 all over again

So far, voters in the Wisconsin recall election have very similar ideological leanings to the 2010 electorate that first voted Gov. Scott Walker into office, according to preliminary exit polls. More than one in three voters identify as conservative while just north of two in 10 are liberals. Moderates continue to make up the biggest chunk of Wisconsin voters, accounting for over 40 percent of the electorate.

The 2010 midterm election marked a dramatic shift to the right from only two years before. Fully 37 percent of voters identified as conservatives, up from 31 percent in 2008.

Wisconsin recall: Should there be a recall at all?

Today’s Wisconsin recall is a very rare election - only 19 states even allow recall elections and just three sitting governors have faced a recall vote in all of U.S. history. That begs the question: When are recall elections appropriate?

Just about three in 10 said recall elections are appropriate for any reason, according to preliminary exit poll results. But the answer depends heavily on whether your party’s candidate is being dragged to the ballot box before their term is up. Republicans said by a near unanimous margin that recall elections are never appropriate or only appropriate in the case of official misconduct. But slight majority of Democratic voters said recall elections are appropriate “for any reason.”

Unions flex muscle in early Wisconsin recall exit polls

Early exit polling in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election suggests that union household comprise roughly a third of all voters, a share of the vote that is higher than either of the last two presidential or gubernatorial elections held in the state.

Voters in the recall also tilt positively toward public sector unions in general, but not by a huge margin. Voters split about evenly in their support for changes to state law that limited the collective bargaining ability of government unions, an issue at the heart of recall effort.

Drawing broad conclusions about the shape of the electorate remains difficult due to the fact that these early exit poll reflect only morning and afternoon voters and can (and likely will) shift before polls close at 9 p.m. eastern time.

Still the preliminary numbers hint at answers to some key questions.

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Wisconsin recall: 5 things to watch in the exit polls

Wisconsin exit poll numbers will begin to be released in fewer than two hours, giving poll watchers a mountain of data with which to begin parsing the recall election for Gov. Scott Walker (R).


A woman with her children cast her ballot Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Milwaukee. Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is taking on Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a recall election. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

While we all wait for the numbers, here are five key factors to keep an eye on in the exit poll data.

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Wisconsin recall: A Fix prediction contest

Voters are voting in Wisconsin. And you know what that means: It’s time for another Fix prediction contest.


CLINTON, WI - JUNE 05: Charles Lankford leaves a voting booth after casting a ballot in the Wisconsin recall election June 5, 2012 in Clinton, Wisconsin. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, is trying to unseat Republican Governor Scott Walker in the recall election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
That’s right. This is your chance to prove once and for all that you are the preeminent political prognosticator in the country (or at least on this blog) by submitting your prediction on how the Wisconsin recall will turn out tonight.

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Wisconsin recall and primary day: Five things to watch

Wisconsin is just one of six states holding elections Tuesday, as voters in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota also head to the polls.

Nothing in those other states will approach the importance of what’s happening with the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) — or even come close, really — but there are some interesting subplots to keep an eye on.

Below, we explore five of them.

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Wisconsin recall: An exit poll interactive!

Eager for a jump start on election night analysis? Use the interacitve below to see which Wisconsin voters have voted in state elections from 2004 to 2010, and how they’ve cast their ballots. Roll over any datapoint to see the percentage of the electorate in each category.

We’ll have the new Wisconsin exit poll data — and new tools — in this space starting around 6 p.m. eastern.

Note, the 2004 and 2008 data are from presidential elections; the 2006 and 2010 from gubernatorial contests.

Happy parsing.

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What a Scott Walker win would tell us about Wisconsin

What a Scott Walker win would tell us about Wisconsin

The expectation — among Republicans and Democrats — heading into today’s Wisconsin recall election is that Gov. Scott Walker (R) is likely to narrowly hold on to his office, a victory that will immediately set off furious speculation about what the result means for the presidential election in the state this November.

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The recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explained

The recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explained

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is fighting for his political life in Tuesday’s recall election in the Badger State.

But what’s up with the recall? And how does it work?

We explained it all last year when several Republican state senators faced similar recalls. Here’s an updated version for the Walker race:

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Should President Obama have gone to Wisconsin?

Two things are clear with 24 hours before polls open in the attempt to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). First, the incumbent is a slight favorite over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D). Second, President Obama won’t set foot in the state prior to Tuesday’s vote.

The bigger question is whether those two facts are related. And the answer to that question depends on whom you ask.


FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama receives an autographed Green Bay Packers Charles Woodson from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, center, and Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, upon his arrival in Green Bay, Wis., en route to nearby Manitowoc, Wis., where he will a tour renewable-energy factories and talk about jobs and the economy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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Wisconsin recall: Scott Walker enters final week with edge

Wisconsin recall: Scott Walker enters final week with edge

A week from today, Wisconsin voters will decide whether to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) or not, an outcome that remains possible if not likely, according to sources closely following the race.

Many Democrats — led by organized labor — have cast the Wisconsin contest as a referendum on what they believe to be a drastic overreach of power by a Republican elected governor in 2010.

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Wisconsin recall election: Barrett poll shows Walker up two

Wisconsin recall election: Barrett poll shows Walker up two

Democrats continue to fight back against the notion that they are losing control of the recall election in Wisconsin, with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s (D) campaign releasing another poll showing a tight race.

The Barrett poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, shows Gov. Scott Walker (R) at 50 percent and Barrett at 48 percent.

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Wisconsin recall slipping away from Democrats

Just two and a half weeks remain in the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), and momentum seems to be firmly on the GOP’s side.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in this April 17, 2012 file photo taken in Springfield, Ill. (Seth Perlman — Associated Press)

All three polls out this week show Walker leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) by between 5 percent and 9 percent. Perhaps more illustrative, though, are the candidate’s personal favorability and approval numbers.

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Scott Walker said budget strategy in Wisconsin was ‘divide and conquer’

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said early in 2011 that he was going to institute a “divide and conquer” strategy when it came to the state’s budgeting process, including stripping public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights, according to just-released documentary footage.

“We’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill,” Walker said when a campaign donor asked him how he would turn the state red. “The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions [and] use divide and conquer.”

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Wisconsin recall election: Poll shows dead heat

A new Marquette Law School poll finds the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall all tied up.

Among registered voters, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) leads Gov. Scott Walker (R) 47 to 46 percent in the June 5 recall election. Among likely voters, Walker leads by one point, 48 to 47 percent.

A mid-April survey from Public Policy Polling found Walker with a narrow lead.

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Wisconsin recall elections: Scott Walker launches ads against two top opponents

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is up with his first two ads of the state’s June recall election, with one ad hitting each of his top potential opponents.

The ads both feature black and white footage and suggest Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) and former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk (D) want to take the state backward, focusing on their records in local government.

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Scott Walker and the most polarized state in the country

Scott Walker and the most polarized state in the country

Exit polling from Wisconsin’s Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night makes one thing very clear: The Badger State has the most polarized electorate in the country. The source of that polarization? Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

In the last few weeks, we’ve had conversations with Republican and Democratic political operatives who expressed amazement at just how much the protracted struggle over Walker’s collective bargaining law, which he signed into law in the spring of 2011, has turned every voter in the state into a strong partisan.

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Romney finally puts it all together

For the first time in a competitive primary, Mitt Romney won some elusive demographics.

Exit polls from the Wisconsin primary Tuesday showed Romney expanding his appeal to groups that have consistently voted against him this year, including evangelical Christians, voters who describe themselves as “very conservative,” strong supporters of the tea party movement and voters making less than $50,000 per year.

The result was Romney’s most complete performance of the 2012 campaign. And it strongly suggests that the Republican Party is dropping its long-standing resistance to embracing Romney.

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Wisconsin primary: Five counties to watch

Wisconsin primary: Five counties to watch

The Republican presidential race is beginning to wind down, but tonight — just for one night — we’ve got a real race in Wisconsin.

For the third time in a month, the Great Lakes region plays host to the marquee contest in the GOP presidential race. And former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, once again, is looking for the upset.

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Wisconsin primary: Rick Santorum’s Waterloo?

Wisconsin primary: Rick Santorum’s Waterloo?

Is it over yet?

Even the most die-hard political junkies could be forgiven for wondering when the Republican presidential race will take its last heaving breath and keel over, never to be heard from again.

The death rattle is clearly audible in the race these days, as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spars with the White House while former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum tries, in vain, to convince an ever-shrinking piece of the Republican electorate that this race is still a race.

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Marist Poll: Mitt Romney leads by 7 in Wisconsin

Mitt Romney leads Rick Santorum by seven percentage points heading into Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, according to a new poll from NBC News and Marist College.


(Steven Senne - AP)

Wisconsin is one of three contests on Tuesday, but since it’s the one state where Santorum appears to have a chance of beating Romney, most of the attention and money has been focused there.

Polling has consistently shown Romney with a lead. The NBC/Marist poll shows him ahead 40 percent to 33 percent for Santorum. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are way behind, at 11 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

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Kathleen Falk first candidate in Wisconsin recall race

Kathleen Falk first candidate in Wisconsin recall race

The recall election against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) won’t be official for months, but one Democrat has already declared her candidacy. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk launched her bid Wednesday.

“Yesterday, the grassroots movement that began a year ago made history,” she said in a YouTube video sent to supporters. She says she “traveled around the state doing all I can to help the signature-counting” and that “together, we will continue to make history.”

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Wisconsin Senate hopeful’s relationship with Gingrich typifies a complex speakership

Former Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mark Neumann says his relationship with Newt Gingrich is positively Dickensian.

As in: His two terms in Congress under Speaker Gingrich were the best of times and the worst of times.

With Gingrich now a top-tier candidate for the White House and Neumann seeking the Republican nominationin for the Badger State’s open Senate seat, the two men could soon be thrust into the GOP’s effort to reclaim both. And teamwork hasn’t always come easy for the two.
Republican presidential candidate and former House speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at Tommy's Ham House in Greenville , S.C., last week. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)

Neumann typifies conservative hesi­ta­tion toward Gingrich’s presidential campaign — particularly among those in the GOP who have spent years either as Gongrich’s colleagues, rivals or something in between. And, like most of that group, Neumann is hopeful that Gingrich succeeds even as he clearly holds reservations about the former House speaker.

“Newt Gingrich is a brilliant man,” Neumann said in an interview with The Fix. “If you ask me, intellectually, does he have the knowledge and the wherewithal to lead the United States of America, I would definitely answer that question, yes. There are some other parts, obviously, as a conservative that I’m not enthused about.”

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