Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Tom Barrett

Voter Turnout High in WI for Recall Elections

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Just a brief update . . . turnout has been reported in Wisconsin as being anywhere from 60 to 80 percent, depending on where you are.  In Racine, where I am, I’ve heard estimates of 65% and up.  In Waukesha County, one of the “reddest” Republican areas in the state, turnout is said to be close to 80%, which on the R side is necessary to give Gov. Walker a chance to retain his seat.  And in Northern Milwaukee (city and county), clerks ran out of ballots early, which is said to be a good sign for the Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett, as that’s one area he must win by a big margin.

All I know at this point — as it will be another four hours until the polls close here in Wisconsin — is that voters have taken their responsibility seriously.

I’ll keep you posted on what transpires, especially here in the hotly-contested District 21 Wisconsin state Senate recall race.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

WI Recall News: Bill Clinton Will Visit Wisconsin Tomorrow

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Earlier today, the Washington Post reported that former President Bill Clinton will visit Wisconsin on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall race.   Here’s a few words from Bill Clinton’s statement as quoted by the Post:

“Folks in Wisconsin have been on the front lines of fighting for working, middle-class families across America for more than 16 months,” the former president said in a statement. “I’m coming to Wisconsin to help Tom and the extraordinary grassroots volunteers on the ground.”

Now, why is this happening at this late date?  It’s because voter turnout must be high from Democrats and Independents if Wisconsin truly does wish to recall Governor Scott Walker (R).  The Republicans know it; the Democrats know it.  And what everyone knows, but very few polls have pointed out, is this: Independents, in general, do not like Scott Walker very much.  And what living Democratic President fired up Independents along with Ds?  You guessed it — Bill Clinton.

Note that Bill Clinton, in the past, was not in favor of recalls; he went to California to prevent the recall of then-Governor Gray Davis in 2003, as did several other prominent Ds with national standing (such as John Edwards, then a Presidential candidate).  So for him to come here on behalf of Barrett most likely means that Clinton believes the recall of Walker is the right thing to do (in addition to the realpolitik of it all, which is that Clinton, a former D Governor from Arkansas, certainly wants more D Governors).

This visit by the former President should help boost turnout, but more importantly, it will boost optimism that the recall of Walker can and will succeed because Clinton has an excellent record when it comes to helping embattled Ds.  As The Hill reports tonight:

Clinton’s entrance into the race could disrupt what had seemed like a likely victory for Walker, however. The former president has posted an impressive record in 2012 endorsements to date, helping Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) and Pennsylvania attorney general candidate Kathleen Kane both win their Democratic primaries after trailing early on. Clinton also helped Maryland businessman John Delaney to a unlikely primary win in April.

So, will Clinton be able to help Barrett also?  My best guess is that yes, Clinton’s visit will make a positive difference on behalf of Barrett, Lieutenant Governor candidate Mahlon Mitchell, and the four D candidates for state Senator, including my own candidate in District 21, former Sen. John Lehman.

But with all the will in the world — and Clinton does have a tremendous will — this race still comes down to turnout, which is what I expect Clinton to say tomorrow during his visit as he’s no fool.  Clinton’s visit will be a boost to Barrett, Mitchell, Lehman and all of the other D candidates for state Senate, but Wisconsin’s voters must go out and vote.

As I’ve said before, my intentions are clear and have been so from the beginning.  Scott Walker deserves to be recalled.  So does his Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.  So does my sitting state Senator, Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).  Which is why I will be voting to recall all of them on June 5, 2012 — and while I would do so without a visit from Clinton, it’s nice to know that Clinton hasn’t forgotten Wisconsin or how hard we’ve been fighting here for the past year and a half ever since Walker “dropped the bomb” and started his “divide and conquer” tactics.

Scott Walker and Rs outspend Barrett and Ds 2-to-1 in WI Recall

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Well, it’s official.  Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker and various Republican Super-PACs have outspent Democratic challenger Tom Barrett and various Democratic organizations by a 2-to-1 margin according to WisPolitics.com over the past week (ending date May 16, 2012).  But considering WisPolitics.com is a pay site, and the article I am using to reference it is through the Huffington Post, I’d rather link to the latter.

The figures for the week of May 9 to May 16, 2012, officially, are these:

  1. Scott Walker and various Republican groups/SuperPACs — $216,980
  2. Tom Barrett and various Democratic groups/SuperPACs —   $87,980

As you can see, Walker and his allies are outspending Barrett, et. al., by over a 2-to-1 margin.  Which if you lived in Wisconsin, you’d know quite easily because for every ad either praising Tom Barrett or bashing Scott Walker, there’s at least six ads praising Scott Walker or (more commonly) bashing Tom Barrett.

While I haven’t seen any figures for the local state Senate race in District 21 between current Republican Senator Van Wanggaard of Racine versus former Senator John Lehman, also of Racine, the ad buys are strikingly similar.  For every six to ten pro-Wanggaard or anti-Lehman ads out there, there might be one pro-Lehman ad or one anti-Wanggaard ad (so far it’s been one or the other, not both, which shows a lack of balance with regards to ads).   The only difference between the ads thus far is that most of the anti-Lehman/pro-Wanggaard ads have aired on the radio, while the anti-Barrett/pro-Walker ads have aired on TV.

I hate negative advertising, and I hate even more that so many ads have flooded the airwaves.  Yet I condemn the Rs — all of them, including the misnamed “Wisconsin Club for Growth” (actually a Koch Brothers front group), Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, etc. — for running ads that distort both Tom Barrett and John Lehman’s records.  These ads are terribly biased, and unless you’re aware of what these men actually did, you might think they’re the political equivalent of axe murderers.  (Which they aren’t.)

For example, one anti-Lehman ad talks about how Lehman voted for “the biggest expansion in healthcare, worse than Obamacare, in Wisconsin history.”  Do you know what the vote Lehman actually took was for?  It’s for Badgercare, a state-run health plan that helps give low-income people health insurance for low or no cost.  Badgercare actually saves the state money because it allows people to go in immediately when they get sick rather than going in only after things have drastically worsened to be admitted to the hospital via the emergency room.

So why is it that the Rs don’t just say Badgercare instead?  Because they know that the vast majority of state voters, including most Republicans, approve of Badgercare because they know it actually saves the state money in the long run.

The anti-Wanggaard and anti-Walker ads are much more factually-based.  They talk about what Wanggaard has actually done since he became a Senator — in other words, they talk about his checkable record, and don’t distort it out of recognition.  And they talk about what Walker has actually done with regards to education cuts and the results of said cuts — most of the ads have been about education — or about Walker’s large amount of out-of-state travel due to fundraising, which also are truthful, checkable facts.

So it’s clear that the Ds and their allies are for the most part taking the high road.  The Rs aren’t; instead, the Rs are taking the muddiest, dirtiest road they possibly can in order to confuse and befuddle as many voters as they possibly can.

Overall, if I were a voter who hadn’t paid any attention in the past year (not that Wisconsin has many of these), I’d be wary of the Republican ads due to how awful they are, while I’d be more kind to the Democratic ads because at least there, a voter can go online to check the veracity of the facts.  But as most voters have paid attention, I can only hope that they, too, realize the difference in the ads and don’t get fooled.  (Again.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm