- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 3, 2012

His gubernatorial campaign may be trailing incumbent Gov. Scott Walker in the latest polls, but Wisconsin Democrat Tom Barrett said Sunday he has the momentum going into Tuesday’s bitterly contested recall election.

“I’m going to win it,” Mr. Barrett said in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

The latest survey on the race, Wednesday’s Marquette University poll, has Mr. Walker leading the challenger by 7 points, 52 percent to 45 percent.

Mr. Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, and Mr. Walker have waged a fierce battle for the governorship in Wisconsin, where state and national labor unions and Democrats targeted the incumbent for recall after the first-term governor led the effort one year ago to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights.

The battle over public spending and fiscal policy in the state has turned into a proxy fight for many in the national Republican and Democratic parties, but Mr. Barrett said Sunday his bid to unseat Mr. Walker is about the issues facing Wisconsin.

“I want to make sure that everybody understands this is about Wisconsin values. It’s not about Washington, D.C. It’s about right here, who is going to control the future of this state?” he said. “Will it be tea party … or is it going to be the people of the state of Wisconsin, and I’m putting my money on the people of the state of Wisconsin.”

Mr. Barrett brushed aside questions about whether he and other Wisconsin Democrats are disappointed that President Obama has no plans to visit Wisconsin ahead of Tuesday’s election to help the campaign.

“We understand he’s got a lot going on,” he said.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently called the Wisconsin showdown a “dry run” for November, but the president’s absence from the campaign stump has some Republicans feeling confident about Tuesday.

Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, a Republican, told CNN on Friday that Mr. Obama “doesn’t want to be associated with a losing campaign, and Tom Barrett’s campaign right now doesn’t have a whole lot of facts to stand on.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, in a Sunday appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” compared the Republican governor’s record with the White House record and sounded upbeat two days before the polls open.

“The difference between Scott Walker and the president is pretty stark. … Scott Walker’s talking about his record. He’s talking about the fact that his reforms are working, that people are getting back to work, that businesses are coming in. People’s property taxes have gone down. And you can’t keep operating a government that spends more money than it takes in,” Mr. Priebus said. “Scott Walker’s one of these special people that have made promises and kept promises.”

Both candidates nearly crossed paths Sunday at a farm breakfast event in southern Brown County.

The Center for Public Integrity reported last week that, as a result of outside spending by unions and super PACS, the contest, at $63.5 million, has become by far the state’s most expensive, easily breaking the 2010 gubernatorial race record of $37.4 million.



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