Top Wisconsin Democrats are furious with the national party — and the Democratic National Committee in particular — for refusing their request for a major investment in the battle to recall Scott Walker, I’m told.
The failure to put up the money Wisconsin Dems need to execute their recall plan comes at a time when the national Republican Party is sinking big money into defending Walker, raising fears that the DNC’s reluctance could help tip the race his way.
“We are frustrated by the lack of support from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association,” a top Wisconsin Democratic Party official tells me. “Scott Walker has the full support and backing of the Republican Party and all its tentacles. We are not getting similar support.”
“Considering that Scott Walker has already spent $30 million and we’re even in the polls, this is a winnable race,” the Wisconsin Dem continues. “We can get outspent two to one or five to one. We can’t get spent 20 to one.”
According to the Wisconsin Dem, the party has asked the DNC for $500,000 to help with its massive field operation. While the DNC has made generally supportive noises, the money has not been forthcoming, the official says — with less than a month until the June 5th recall election. The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Obama’s political operation is providing volunteers with info on how to get involved in the recall battle and how to register to vote, but isn’t investing any money in the race, according to officials. Labor unions are expected to invest sizable sums in the ground game, but the top Wisconsin Dem Party official says it won’t be enough.
“This idea that labor has unlimited resources is a fantasy,” the Wisconsin Dem says. “Our needs go well beyond that.”
Polls suggest that very few Wisconsin voters are persuadable at this point — after huge pro-Walker ad expenditures, the numbers have barely budged — which means that the race will likely be decided by turnout. So the investment in the ground operation could be pivotal to the outcome; Wisconsin Dems are counting on their field operation — with more than 40 offices — to carry the day and offset Walker’s advantage on the air, but it needs more money.
What makes this all the more galling to Wisconsin Dems is that a Walker win could be bad for the national party’s prospects in November.
“Scott Walker has made this a national election,” the Wisconsin Dem tells me. “If he wins, he will turn his victory into a national referendum on his ideas about the middle class. It will hurt Democrats nationally. The fact that [national Dems] are sitting on their hands now is so frustrating. The whole ticket stands to lose.”
UPDATE: Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Mike Tate goes on record about the dispute in a statement:
“Having received absolute support from the Democratic Governors Association, we also are in conversation with the Democratic National Committee to help in this battle against Scott Walker, a right-wing diva who has the full backing of the national corporate Tea Party movement.”
UPDATE II: Wisconsin Dems say the problem isn’t with the Democratic Governors Association, which has already committed more to the recall fight than they’ve ever committed to a Wisconsin gubernatorial election in recent history. Still no comment from the DNC.