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Tuesday’s Most Important Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on May 30, 2012

Wisconsin State CapitolSix days from now is Tuesday, June 5, Election Day.

What is the most important election that day?  Is it the CD-47 contest between Alan Lowenthal, Gary DeLong, and Steve Kuykendall?  Is it the Troy Edgar-Long Pham-Travis Allen fight in AD-72?  Is it AD-69’s Tom Daly vs. Michele Martinez vs. Jose Moreno vs. Julio Perez vs. Paco Barragan battle?  Is it the Third Supervisorial District brawl between Todd Spitzer and Deborah Pauly?

No, the most important election on Tuesday lies 2,000 miles northeast of Orange County.

In Wisconsin, June 5 is Election Day in the recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Labor unions launched the recall after Walker gained the passage of legislation that restricted (but did not eliminate) collective bargaining (requiring annual re-certification of unions via annual member elections, limitations of collective bargaining to salaries rather than benefits) and increased public employee contributions to benefits and pensions, among other things.

This recall election marks a watershed moment in which the power of public employee unions faces off against those who seek to curb the legal prerogatives of those unions.

Wisconsin has an interesting recall procedure.  In California, the question of whether we should remove someone from office is one item on the ballot, with voters casting a “Yes” or “No” vote, and then a separate item on the ballot are all the recall replacement candidates, with the incumbent ineligible to run in the replacement vote.  In Wisconsin, there is no separate question of whether someone is removed: there is a single item in which candidates (including the incumbent) run against each other.  Effectively, when you initiate a recall in Wisconsin, you’re simply calling for an early election for the office, much like a parliamentary by-election or snap election; whereas in California, we vote whether or not to keep the incumbent and separately vote on a replacement.

There was a recall primary on May 8, with Walker winning 97% of the votes in the Republican primary and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett winning 58% of the votes in the Democratic primary (this is a rematch of the 2010 election, as Walker defeated Barrett in that election); the recall general election is this coming Tuesday, June 5.

Both the Real Clear Politics average of polls and the Huffington Post average of polls show Walker leading Barrett by a few percentage points.

A Walker victory will embolden politicians across the country seeking to curb the power of labor unions while a Barrett victory will be a warning from the labor unions that politicians should be wary of trying to reduce the legal prerogatives of public employee unions and trying to reduce the benefits enjoyed by public employees.

4 Responses to “Tuesday’s Most Important Election”

  1. I pay attention to Rasmussen because they look at likely voters. Most recently, they show Walker with a 5 point lead in Wisconsin, so I’m not worried about him and that race. Locally, I’m supporting Deb Pauly over Todd Spitzer because I think she will be stronger against public employee unions. She’s a lifelong Christian and an Air Force vet. If she beats Spitzer, it will be a huge event nation wide and a great victory for small government.

  2. met00 said

    Interesting, but what it always comes down to is $’s.Either direct spending by the candidate, or the people that bought the candidate.

    Walker raised about two-thirds of his $31 million in less than five months this year.

    Now we all know that he is the Koch Brothers “boy” from the phone call that was taped where he was played, and we all know that millions are being spent by Koch Brothers groups in addition to the bankroll Walker has found.

    So, is the election for sale? You bet. The Koch Brothers spent a great deal of money buying the Guv, and they aren’t about to let that get away from them. While Walker is not at Whitman’s spending level, Wisconsin isn’t California either.

    One last note, It’s Walkers “buddies” that have been taking out ads in local papers in WI listing the names of every teacher that signed the recall suggesting that parents should remove their kids from those teachers classes. There is nothing like intimidation from Walkers supporters to give participatory democracy a bad name.

    Walker didn’t campaign on busting the unions, even though a video has been released showing that was his plan before the election. The people in WI thought they were voting for one thing, and they got another. Now the only question is “is the state for sale?” and next Tuesday we will find out if it is.

  3. Dan Chmielewski said

    The latest polls in Wisconsin show a dead heat….

  4. Dan, what poll are you looking at? The latest numbers from a new poll from Marquette Law School show Walker with a commanding lead of 7%. Most people in WI think Gov. Walker is making progress in terms of confronting public employee unions and fixing the local economy.

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