The Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election of Scott Walker (R) is getting a bit more interesting these days. The Democratic primary is heating up in a battle between Milwaukee Mayor, Tom Barrett and former Dane County executive, Kathleen Falk. What makes this match up important hinges on two facts. Falk has been heavily backed by union funding and an early entry in the Democratic primary. Barrett came into the primary two months after Falk and is now substantially leading Falk in the polls.
Public and private sector unions have gone all in to defeat Governor Scott Walker, who, in conjunction with a majority Republican legislature, has reined in the collective bargaining power of public sector unions to negotiate beyond wages. Unions have chosen to back and support Kathleen Falk, although they claim they will support Barrett, should he win the Democratic primary nomination on May 8th.
[...] Kathleen Falk got a 2½-month head start over Tom Barrett and a roughly $3 million boost from labor groups.
But in less than a month in the race, the Milwaukee mayor has established himself as the front-runner over the former Dane County executive in the Democratic recall primary for governor. [...]
It should be noted that Thomas Barrett previously opposed Scott Walker in the 2010 gubernatorial race and lost.
[...] The most recent poll from Public Policy Polling showed Barrett with a 14-percentage point lead over Falk and also showed Barrett as the closest Democratic candidate to Walker, though he still trailed the Republican governor. [...]
The importance of this recall election has national implications for public sector unions. Should Walker retain the governorship in Wisconsin after the onslaught of union opposition, it it felt by most political observers that public sector unions across the nation would potentially suffer. Other states, seeing a Wisconsin victory for taxpayers, could initiate review of public sector union collective bargaining laws and this could only weaken union power and influence in state politics.
June 5th could prove to be a landmark in whether Wisconsin can rein in public sector union power for the benefit of all taxpayers or whether public sector unions will continue to extort the state for unsustainable costs of pensions, health benefits and work rules.