Who's Going to Challenge Walker in Potential Recall Election?

Democratic Party of Wisconsin says to plan on a primary to vet candidates, and tap a contender.

One large question looming over Wisconsin politics was answered Tuesday with more than 1 million petition signatures submitted to the state in the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker, but it left another question unanswered: Who would challenge the governor should a recall election happen? 

With no candidates giving the official nod and media reports speculating over a very long list of candidates, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate said at a press conference Tuesday that his party is leaning toward holding a primary.

"You'll have candidates traveling across the state for six or plus weeks," Tate said. "I think it will be a positive campaign focused on Scott Walker's failures."

The Government Accountability Board — the state agency that oversees elections — has 31 days, but says it will go to court to ask for an extension, to vet the more than 1 million petition signatures in the Walker recall effort, 845,000 in the recall effort against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and more than 80,000 signatures for four state lawmakers. Meanwhile, the next step for the state Democratic Party is likely to select a candidate.

Poll pegs top candidates to challenge Walker

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and former U.S. Rep. David Obey top the list of challengers, according to a Public Policy Forum poll released Tuesday. 

The poll has Barrett pegged as the frontrunner to challenge Walker, with results having him leading Falk 46 to 27 percent and Obey 42 to 30 percent in a potential head-to-head race.

Additionally, the poll said if Barrett didn't throw his hat into the race, Obey would have a better likelihood of being nominated than Falk. The poll also said Barrett has a better name recognition than Falk and that core Democrats prefer Barrett over Falk, Barrett over Obey and Obey over Falk.

Supporters of the recall effort against Walker said they are still hoping former congressmen Russ Feingold and current U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, who both have repeatedly said they are not interested in running, decide to join the race, but they will support nearly any candidate the Democratic Party decides to tap.

Other names floating around in the candidate pool include former U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, Madison firefighter and Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin President Mahlon Mitchell, current Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville).

Supporters prefer Kohl, Feingold

Recall supporter Tom Kojis said he liked to see Obey run against Walker in a gubernatorial recall race.

"He knows how to play the game," Kojis, who is from Green Bay, said. "He's been around forever, he has got a lot of experience.

"Though, he doesn't have a lot of name recognition across the state."

Obey told the Journal Sentinel in October he would consider a run against Walker, but that Barrett and Kohl would make better candidates.

Walker recall supporter Kathy Lefebvere from Green Bay, said she thinks the Democrats need to pick someone who can appeal to the independent voter.

"I don't think candidates like Dave Obey...Kathleen Falk are well known and aren't aggressive," she said. "We need someone aggressive that appeals to a variety of people, and that's Herb Kohl."

Voters' minds already made up, but Barrett is best challenger

Dennis Dresang, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Wisconsin's La Follette School of Public Affairs, said when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter who the Democrats place against Walker because most voters made up their minds about a year ago, amidst Walker introducing ACT 10, or the budget repair bill, which curtailed collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

However, another political science professor, John Adams of Marquette University, said he sees Barrett as the Democrats’ best option at unseating Walker.

“Barrett may have the least baggage among the candidates,” Adams said. “He is known as a nice guy and has statewide name recognition.”

In the November 2010 election, Walker defeated Barrett by about 124,000 votes — or 6 percentage points. Also, in 2002, Barrett, who was then a congressman, ran in the Democratic gubernatorial primary but lost to Jim Doyle, who served two terms as governor.

And, the Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice reported recently that leaders of two major public employee unions met privately with Barrett to urge him not to run in a recall election.

Adams says unions aren’t backing Barrett because he criticized Walker’s budget repair bill, then used the reforms to balance the City of Milwaukee’s budget.

Barrett was expected to make an announcement in early January, of his plans to run. However, no candidates have officially announced their intentions to run.

Adams said he believes Barrett ultimately will decide against challenging Walker citing a record of flip-flopping.

Asking Barrett to back out, union leaders are backing Falk to run, and believe she would have a better chance to win a race against Walker, the newspaper said.

It's still unclear who would challenge for the lieutenant governor office, should an election occur. 

Cindy Schelcun of Stevens Point said she would like to see Falk and Mitchell challenge for governor and lieutenant governor respectively.

According to a Capital Times report, Falk and Mitchell attended recall events Tuesday together and Falk called it a "good use of my time."

"I hope we can unite behind one candidate so we can get going with the campaign, and hit the ground running again," Schelcun said.

Randy1949 January 18, 2012 at 06:38 PM
@Steve -- 'Socialist recession'? Your ability to rewrite history is truly amazing.
Bob McBride January 18, 2012 at 06:43 PM
stosh, so as long as they don't tell you up front that they're going to do those things, it's not a major problem if they do? You don't really expect that putting Democrats in charge is going to ultimately result in no cuts to education and services (not sure what you're talking about with the "cuts in unemployment" part). Recent history would indicate that that's not the case, both on the state and local level. I thought one of the key talking points in this recall was that you guys weren't "told" there'd be an alteration to the collective bargaining agreement. I guess if you're told one thing by your own folks, they end up doing another and can convince you they had to reverse course because of the person(s) who held office before them (regardless of how short a period of time that may have been), you're okay with that. That seems to be the scenario you guys buy into over and over.
greg January 18, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Recall Falk!! .......... To soon?
skinnyDUDE January 18, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Walker has tied tax credits to business to JOB CREATION . You libs actually think you can promise higher taxes to business and they wil flock to the state to create jobs. That thinking is absolutely clueless. It is exactly the actions taken in the liberal havens of California and Illinios . The result is obvious . Less business , less tax revenue, and than this is followed by more cuts and higher taxes on indivuals. You are clueless if you think that works. You actually think you can raise taxes and businesses will flock too the state and grow tax revenues to cover your bloated entitlements lol Thats fundamentally Clueless ignorance and I hope the union puppet says what you prescribe as a successful path .
morninmist January 18, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Walker administration admits they did not balance the budget. Get rid of this joker!! http://thewheelerreport.com/releases/January12/0118/0118richards.pdf
morninmist January 18, 2012 at 09:20 PM
why is IL gaining jobs and WI losing jobs (5 months in a row now)?
Steve January 18, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Why is IL raising taxes 65%, fees 100% and still in debt?
James R Hoffa January 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Honestly, I think that Herb Kohl would be the only one who'd stand a chance in hell against Walker. But he's not going to run. With every other mentioned potential candidate, the best hope for the Dems would be a third party challenge from a Ron Paul libertarian, such as was responsible for leading Doyle to his first victory over McCallum. But hopefully conservatives will be smarter this time around. If Barrett is their best shot, he goes down in flames over the facts that the public sector unions don't really want him and that he choose to implement Walker's reforms in the City of Milwaukee, thus making him a hypocrite amongst the base that made the entire recall possible in the first place. The Dems are currently holding a mighty weak hand. Walker will prevail by an even larger margin of victory than in 2010, assuring that Wisconsin will once again be a red state in the 2012 presidential election!
James R Hoffa January 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM
BTW - I'd like to personally invite everyone to come check out the second install of Hoffa's Retro Cinema Club, featuring a filmmaker spotlight on B-movie veteran Charles Band and a look at his film 'Meridian: Kiss of the Beast' (1990). It can be accessed here: http://mountpleasant.patch.com/blog_posts/hoffas-retro-cinema-club-film-maker-spotlight-on-charles-band-ft-meridian-kiss-of-the-beast-1990 Cheers!
Mike Miller January 18, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Barrett had his opportunity and lost. If you review all the candidates, State Sen. Tim Cullen is the best candidate. IMHO
morninmist January 19, 2012 at 12:02 AM
For almost a year we have heard from Walker fans-the lie that Walker balanced the budget. NOW Walker admits to the truth so he can take folks off BadgerCare!! You can not get any lower than that. Folks in WI do not like a Governor who LIES! We also have compassion for people which the Gov has shown he does NOT have! http://www.politiscoop.com/us-politics/wisconsin-politics/676-busted-scott-walkers-continued-problem-with-the-truth.html BUSTED: Scott Walker’s Continued Problem With the Truth Wednesday, 18 January 2012 13:14 Scott Walker Busted in another Lie BUSTED: Scott Walker’s Continued Problem With the Truth MADISON – The admission by Walker’s administration that Wisconsin carries a budget deficit contradicts Scott Walker’s perpetual campaign lie that his “reforms” are working for Wisconsin, and that he has eliminated “a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes.” “The jig is up,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Wednesday. “Scott Walker is either lying to preserve his own political career, or he is lying to kick tens of thousands of Wisconsinites off of health care to pay for his $2 billion tax giveaway to wealthy special interests. One million strong Wisconsinites have already forced Scott Walker’s recall, but as news continues to emerge about the dishonest lengths Scott Walker will go to to finance his rent-to-own government, their ranks will surely grow.”
shawn January 19, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Proof that the dems will believe anything their liberal messiahs and union toadies tell them.
TOM January 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM
morningpist you musta drank alot of the union tea ! if bull$hit was music your post would be a brass band .walker will prevail because he is good at culling leeches and parasites from the high taxes that chase away bussiness from this state
TOM January 19, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Say What? January 19, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Why do Republicans say that raising taxes is a road block to job creation?
Say What? January 19, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I remember when there were 100's of thousands of dead non residents voting in this state, swaying elections completely out of skew. It was awful. Now, I can't remember where I put that source...
Bob McBride January 19, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Well I suppose if we tax folks enough so we can have 3 guys cruising around in a snowplow with the blade raised every time we get 1/4" snow instead of just 1 when there's actually something to plow, for instance, I guess it really isn't Say What?
Say What? January 19, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Bob, I can make some stupid a__ comment just like you do, but it isnt getting to the point. Basically, what your side is saying is that taxes kill job creation, then use it in the instance of Illinois as a fall back when they are doing both, raising taxes and creating jobs while places are cutting taxes and losing jobs and using the explanation or "uncertainty" to clarify why. I am not advocating for waste, but you use it to deflect. Maybe we can get another special session together to talk jobs?! What should we do that isn't job related in that session?
Bob McBride January 19, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Hey why not another poop in a bag comment? Those were great. I guess you take seriously what you want to take seriously and I do the same. I'll tell you what's killing more jobs than anything in this state right now. It's the full scale anti-business riot that began back in Jan/Feb of last year and that's culminating with this idiotic recall. The image burned into the retinas of anyone observing the coverage out of this state is of a pro-business governor and legislature under siege. You can't just choose to ignore that when attempting to make sense of what's happening in WI versus what's happening in IL. I'd weight that much more heavily than taxes at this point.
Bob McBride January 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM
morninmist 12:21 pm on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 @ Bob m I admit, I am surprised she announced her run. ***************** That's what happens when you let the twitter feeds you're following do your thinking for you.
clark January 19, 2012 at 01:20 PM
How about 'Here is a bus ride and a free meal. Please come and vote for our candidate the union boss picked'. Remember that one SayWhat?
morninmist January 19, 2012 at 01:39 PM
clark Please remember that the DA did not bring charges. Bringing up that event makes you look stupid as you try to make people believe it was true. You are the foolish one as you fool no one with your old "news" Probably even Say What does not want to look as stupid as you just did (although based on his comment above you both look stupid!)
TOM January 19, 2012 at 01:53 PM
the 'sha guy January 19, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Just because a DA did not bring charges does not mean something is not true. Perhaps Falk will just have a lot of BBQ's around the state and the only thing you need to bring to get free food is an absentee ballot?
TOM January 19, 2012 at 02:24 PM
morninmist January 19, 2012 at 03:54 PM
well sha Your proclamation hold true for the TeaGOP volunteers who got free gifts also who also had a complaint lodged against them. Cheers .................... the 'sha guy 8:17 am on Thursday, January 19, 2012 Just because a DA did not bring charges does not mean something is not true.
Roger Dodger February 03, 2012 at 10:20 PM
wow some of the dumbest comments ever on here...
morninmist February 04, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Walker is up to his neck in a scandal and you are distracting by talking about Doyle!! Nobody cares about Doyle anymore. He is gone. Get it! http://www.politicususa.com/en/wisconsin-gop-scott-walker-lawyer ...Meanwhile, Walker claims he won’t be charging the state for his legal fees. It may be that if he uses public money, the people might have a right to information that he would prefer be kept secret. It looks like Walker’s national fundraising probably had less to do with his recall than it does with establishing a legal defense fund. After all, he has already paid the law firm that includes his attorney at least $100,000.00 The lawyers Walker hired specialize in real estate and and complex criminal law:,,, Scott Walker Lawyers Up as John Doe Investigation Stalks Wisconsin GOP
Keith Best February 20, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Vinehout? Falk? Barrett? Seriously? Hahahahaha!
Born Free February 22, 2012 at 02:38 AM


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