The Washington Post

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel endorses Scott Walker

In a blow to Democrats hoping to unseat Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in a June 5 recall election, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has endorsed the Republican governor over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D).

The paper’s editorial board argued that while Walker did go too far last year in stripping most public employees of their collective bargaining rights, that policy was not enough to justify a recall.

Gov. Scott Walker greets supporters at the Waukesha County Republican Victory Center in Waukesha, Wis., Tuesday, May 8, 2012. (Charles Auer/AP)

While the paper notes that the governor has fallen short of his job promises, the editorial argues that “Walker’s policies simply haven’t been in place long enough to know whether they are to blame.” As for a John Doe investigation into former Walker aides, “no evidence revealed so far implicates Walker.”

Studies suggest newspaper endorsements can swing votes, though the effect is likely pretty limited.

The Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin’s largest newspaper, also endorsed Walker against Barrett in 2010. While the board said “we’ve agreed with Barrett more often than with Walker ... in a time of economic peril and at a time when government must be reformed, it’s time to throw away the playbook.” Walker won that election by five points.

The paper has also called the recall election “a waste of time and money.” In last year’s state Senate recalls the paper declined to endorse any candidates, saying “we won’t encourage this misguided process by recommending candidates.”

Democrats say the editorial board canceled a meeting with Barrett at the last minute.

“The Journal Sentinel cannot even pretend to fairness when it comes to Scott Walker,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski.

It’s the latest in a string of not-so-good news for Barrett. Polls show Walker leading Barrett, and Democrats in the state are complaining that the national party isn’t helping enough. Despite the enthusiasm that went into the recall, right now Walker has the momentum now.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.


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