Polls open across state in recall primary

Turnout for recall predicted to hit 65 percent

Wisconsin voters will head to the polls today to decide who should face Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election next month.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett hopes for the chance at a rematch with Walker as Democrats decide who will take on the first-term governor in a recall election.

Barrett was one of four Democrats on Tuesday’s primary ballot looking to take on Walker in the June 5 general election. The recall was spurred over anger related to a Walker-backed law that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most state workers.

Polls have consistently shown Barrett ahead of other Democrats. Barrett has strong name recognition across the state, having just run against Walker for governor in 2010.

Other Democrats on the ballot are former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates in the recall election made a final push Monday ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

In Tuesday’s primary and in the run-up to the general recall election on June 5, voter turnout will be key, and volunteers and supporters are doing what they can to get their candidate to the top of the ticket.

Connie Hutchison, a volunteer for Kathleen Falk’s campaign, has spent hours on the phone calling potential supporters since Falk began her run for governor. 

“A lot of people say they’ve already voted and say, ‘I’ve already voted for Kathleen’,” Hutchison said. “It’s very exciting. I think that Kathleen still has a really good shot. People are saying the polls say they won’t, but I’ve had a lot of people today say she’s the right person for this job.”

A Marquette University Law School poll released last week showed Democratic candidate Tom Barrett with a 17-point lead over Falk, the former Dane County executive who is the favored candidate of the major unions that helped spur the recall against Walker.

Falk spent the final day before the primary campaigning in Milwaukee. She spoke to students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus and touted her plan to address student loan debt.

When asked Monday whether she considers herself the underdog going into the primary, Falk said, “Sure, I have been all along because Tom just ran for governor a year ago.”


Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, made campaign stops Monday in Sheboygan and Kenosha.

“I’m somebody who stands up for what I believe. I’m someone who isn’t beholden to anyone,” Barrett said.

Barrett met with voters at diners and coffee shops and talked about his pledge to bring the state together.

“I think (Barrett) would be a stronger leader, and a good leader. I like the way he’s going around and circulating with the people,” said Joni Carbone, a Barrett supporter.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean the candidates will stop. Both Barrett and Falk will be at Madison College on Tuesday.

The winner will move on to the June 5 general election.

Meanwhile, Walker was in southern Wisconsin on Monday visiting with specialty cheesemakers at Emmi Roth in Monroe.

Walker touted his goals for job growth in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The governor is launching a new campaign ad this week critical of Barrett.

“In contrast, I don’t think most people want to go back to the failed policies that led to double-digit tax increases, billion-dollar budget deficits and record job losses. That’s what we had before. That’s what we’re likely to have if we make a change midstream through here,” Walker said. “Instead, I think most people want to move forward, get beyond the debate we’ve had over the past year and get Wisconsin working again, and we’re the ones who offer that plan.”

Walker also toured the Fennimore Rayovac facility Monday.