The Wisconsin governor’s race has morphed into a national event, as outsiders from across the political spectrum enter the fray.
“The Koch brothers and Big Labor. The tea party and progressives. Teachers, gun owners, environmentalists, abortion-rights advocates, conservative billionaires, the national parties — name the interest group or outside party and chances are they’ve played a role,” Politico
Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker will be fighting against recall in the June 5 election against Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. The recall campaign was sparked by Walker’s 2011 budget bill, which curbed benefits and bargaining rights for public workers.
With the gap between the parties growing ever wider, the Wisconsin race is serving as a national flashpoint between liberals and conservatives.
“Never before have we seen the floodgate of the money of the few trying to affect the outcome for the many as we do now,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, told Politico. “I suppose Wisconsin is a microcosm of that larger national battle in a sense.”
Many view the Wisconsin race as a warm-up for the national parties ahead of November’s presidential and congressional elections. “This is a form of dress rehearsal for the general,” Robert Reich, former Clinton administration labor secretary, told Politico. “We’re within the gravitational pull of Election Day so anything like this that involves the key players and lots of money is going to be understood as a prelude.”
Both President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have weighed in. The Obama campaign quickly endorsed Barrett after his primary victory Tuesday. And Romney called Walker a “hero” before the Wisconsin presidential primary last month.
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