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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Good News for Wisconsin

This past Tuesday, Democratic primary voters in Wisconsin picked their candidates to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four state senators who are facing recalls next month. As expected,  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost the 2010 gubernatorial election to Walker, won the right to challenge him in a rematch. The Democrats also nominated firefighter-turned-union boss Mahlon Mitchell to take on Kleefisch and several other union puppets to run for the state senate.

The good news for the Democrats is that they've now got the primary behind them and can move forward with a unified front. The bad news is that Walker has a huge fundraising advantage over Barrett, and the polls don't indicate that the Dems will be celebrating any time soon. (By "polls", I mean both the primary election results and the results of the latest survey of Wisconsin voters.) Despite the lack of any serious primary challengers to Walker or the other GOP incumbents, voter turnout in the Republican primary on Tuesday outnumbered turnout in the Democratic primary. The huge turnout even surprised Governor Walker, who received more votes than Barrett and Falk combined. Walker may have also been pleasantly surprised by the results of a Rasmussen Reports survey of 500 Likely Voters released Thursday that showed him leading Barrett by five points, 50 to 45 percent. That's quite a turnaround from last month, when another Rasmussen survey found that 52% in Wisconsin supported the effort to recall the Governor.

Wisconsin is also one of many states with a very contentious Senate race this year, and there's good news for the GOP there as well. Rasmussen Reports has former Gov. and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson leading Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who's running unopposed in the Democratic primary, by a stunning twelve points, 50% to 38%. That dwarfs the statistically insignificant two-point lead former Rep. Mark Neumann holds over Baldwin, who leads Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald by four in the same poll. The bad news is that the Senate primary isn't until August 14th.

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