by Félix Pérez/ photos by Staci Maiers
All eyes are on Wisconsin, as voters are expected to go to the polls tomorrow in record numbers to determine the fate of Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker, whose staunchly ideological and anti-worker rights agenda has convulsed the Badger State for the past year and led to the nation’s worst job creation numbers, has saturated, along with outside groups, the airwaves with non-stop ads paid for largely by big-dollar contributions from out-of-state corporate and conservative interests. Walker has outspent his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by more than 7 to 1.
Undeterred, Barrett and his supporters —who include educators, police officers, firefighters, nurses and other public service workers — have focused their efforts on voter-to-voter contact, knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors, dropping off campaign literature at homes statewide, and calling their friends, families and neighbors from sunup to sundown to remind them to vote.
Kati Walsh (in photo above), an elementary school art teacher, was the first to cast an early voting ballot at the Dane County Courthouse in Madison, on Monday, May 21. “All this work over the last year culminated today when I had the chance to vote,” she said before heading off to her teaching job.
According to We Are Wisconsin, the pro-Barrett group will knock on 1.4 million doors and make 1.5 million phone calls. The group has about 50,000 volunteers.
The Barrett campaign said that over the weekend more than 10,000 volunteers knocked on about 948,000 doors and made nearly 890,000 phone calls.
Walker and Barrett are statistically tied in the latest polls, with Barrett gaining momentum.
Walker’s brand of politics has drawn the support of divisive and anti-educator politicians such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Kasich, whose legislation gutting collective bargaining rights was overwhelmingly defeated by voters last year, said on a national Sunday news show yesterday that Walker “has done an amazing job.” Almost giddy, he described the prospect of a Walker win as “really amazing.”
Also on tap tomorrow are recall elections for four state senators and Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, all of whom are close Walker allies and were instrumental in passing Walker’s anti-worker legislation.
If any of the senate challengers are successful, control of the state Senate will change hands. The Senate is now evenly split, 16-16.
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