Barrett Announces Run For Governor

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced on Friday that he plans to run for governor in the Wisconsin recall election.

Barrett said in an email to supporters Friday that he would fight to restore collective bargaining rights “because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s necessary to heal Wisconsin.” He said the state needs a governor who is focused on jobs, not ideology, and who is committed to bringing the state together to heal political wounds.

Barrett’s announcement has ended weeks of speculation that occured during the race to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, setting up a potential rematch of the 2010 election.

“I think people in this state want a leader who will reestablish trust in this state, and they want someone who can heal this state after 15 months of division,” Barrett said.

He announced his candidacy for governor just four days before he stands for re-election Tuesday as Milwaukee’s mayor. He faces little opposition in that race.

Barrett’s entrance into the Walker recall race shakes up the Democratic field, which had been dominated by Kathleen Falk, the former longtime Dane County executive who had obtained every major endorsement and the backing of unions representing teachers and public workers.

In a statement, Falk said she welcomed Barrett to the race.

Some union leaders had tried to talk Barrett out of running.

Besides Falk, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Follette are running for the Democratic nomination.

Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks said voters have no interest in electing Barrett, who has twice lost in runs for governor before. He was defeated in the 2002 Democratic primary by Gov. Jim Doyle, and he lost again in 2010 to Walker.

Walker’s campaign likewise took shots at Barrett’s entry. Representatives said given the “downward spiral” of Milwaukee’s economy, they find it shocking that he would run for governor. The campaign also released a Web video labeling him “Tom the Taxer.”

Barrett’s news came only hours after the recall elections for Walker and five other GOP lawmakers were officially ordered.

So far, polling has showed Barrett running ahead of Walker, WISC-TV reported. The Marquette University Law School poll showed Barrett with a 2-point advantage earlier this week.

Stay tuned to WISC-TV and Channel 3000 for continuing coverage.