Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett picked up another endorsement Monday, from U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee), in his push to grab the Democratic nod and unseat Gov. Scott Walker in June's recall election.
, and Barrett was on the campaign trail in Milwaukee touting how his administration would end Wisconsin's political civil war and restore collective bargaining and tax fairness, while fielding the endorsement from Moore.
Barrett will square off against , state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and Secretary of State Doug La Follette in a Democratic primary May 8. The winner will take on Walker on June 5.
Barrett spoke to a small group of reporters at the Milwaukee Public Market in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. Moore took the opportunity to endorse Barrett for the state's top office, as she believes he will restore pay equality for women and look out for low-income individuals. Democratic U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin have also endorsed Barrett for governor.
“I think the people of Wisconsin have a great opportunity for a do-over," Moore said. "We are going to do it right this time, people.
"(Walker) has shown contempt and disdain for everyone that is poor, and middle-class. I think there is a whole lot of room for improvement."
With filing of federal taxes due Tuesday, Barrett chose to speak on tax fairness. He said the governor has pushed through a package of tax cuts that hurt medium- to low-income taxpayers.
“Right after taking office, Gov. Walker made it clear what side he was on,” Barrett said. “The package primarily benefits corporations and the wealthier in this state.”
He said that is money that could have gone to struggling families.
Walker: Property taxes are down
However, Walker’s administration touted Monday that property taxes decreased for the first time in 12 years. The typical homeowner's property tax bill went down 0.4 percent in 2011.
Barrett responded by saying in Milwaukee, the school district's levy has increased because of school choice.
“Taxpayers in the largest city in the state saw their taxes go up because of the changes he made,” he said.
Barrett also said he would work to put an end to the political war being waged in the state.
“I will end the civil war,” Barrett said Monday. "This has never been about those middle-class families, but this has been about the ideological war in the state of Wisconsin that Gov. Walker began in earnest."
“(Residents) don’t want to live in a situation where neighbors won’t talk to neighbors about politics because it is too volatile, where co-workers can’t talk to fellow co-workers about politics,” he said.
Barrett also said he would restore collective bargaining rights for public employees if elected.
“I will restore the collective bargaining rights in this state, I will make sure we have that table so that employees have their voice heard," he said. "I have had a balanced budget on the local level, and done so, up until this law was passed, by working with employees."
Poll: Good news, bad news for Barrett
Barrett maintains a sizable lead on his Democratic opponents but still trails Walker in the recall race, according to a newly released poll.
Public Policy Polling found Walker leading all of his Democratic opponents, including 50-45 on Barrett and 50-43 over Kathleen Falk, in the June 5 recall election.
In the Democratic primary scheduled for May 8, Barrett led Falk by a 38-24 margin. The other two Democrats in the race, Doug La Follette and Kathleen Vinehout, polled at 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
Barrett's margin dwindled since PPP's last poll in February, which had him up over Falk 45-18.
"Despite being vastly outspent and falsely attacked from all sides, this poll demonstrates that the people of Wisconsin are rallying behind Tom Barrett's message of bringing our state together and ending Scott Walker’s ideological civil war," said Barrett for Wisconsin Communications Director Phil Walzak in a news release. "The poll also confirms that Tom is the best candidate to take on Scott Walker in the general election."
Falk's campaign, meanwhile, pointed to the narrowing gap between Barrett and Falk as a good sign for the campaign.
"Momentum is with Kathleen Falk as she has cut Tom Barrett's lead in half in a little over a month," campaign spokesman Scot Ross said. "Kathleen has built the grassroots, big tent of working men and women, environmentalists, women’s rights advocates, young progressives and community organizers needed to win this election and defeat Gov. Scott Walker. The election will be decided by the people of Wisconsin, not insiders and politicians."