As one Wisconsin Ironworker noted on Facebook last night: “Tomorrow is the playoffs. Super Bowl is in June!”
While this afternoon’s cheesehead election drama will not nearly match that of the actual recall election in a month’s time, there is nonetheless ample intrigue as Democrats, labor unions and other progressive activists have rallied for their favorite candidates to take on the oppressive state GOP.
Polls have Tom Barrett, who has already lost once to Scott Walker in the 2010 election, leading other Democratic challengers by quite a bit:
Polls heading into the primary have consistently shown Barrett ahead of the other Democrats, including one last week that showed him 17 points up over nearest rival Kathleen Falk. Barrett’s emergence as the front-runner was aided by his strong name recognition across the state, having just run against Walker for governor in 2010. Walker beat Barrett by about 125,000 votes, or roughly 5 percentage points.
Other Democrats on the ballot are Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout. They ran low-profile campaigns that failed to gain traction with voters. Gladys Huber is a Republican running as a Democrat.
With Barrett’s grip on the poll position apparently locked up, people are looking to Walker’s Republican primary challenger, 23-year old Abraham Lincoln channeler Arthur Kohl-Riggs, for some extra fanfare. From CNN:
A young politician from Madison, Arthur Kohl-Riggs, is running against Gov. Scott Walker to use his candidacy, as he puts it, “to highlight how, by traditional Republican standards,” that the Governor by his “policies and actions do not reflect the values of the Party of Lincoln.”
While the casual observer may see Kohl-Riggs as a political “no name or side-show,” on closer examination he does have an impressive portfolio of work to show how serious he is to illustrate “Governor Walker’s divisive politics to separate our citizens and create conflict.” He has been covered by a wide variety of press and has posted over 150 YouTube videos, graphically documenting much of the political upheaval in the state.
Another fascinating race involving a younger gentleman is the Lieutenant Governor’s race, where firefighter Mahlon Mitchell has made a splash. Mitchell’s name was thrown around early on as a potential candidate for Governor, but in the end he took the slower road via the Lt. Governor slot. Mitchell has made a convincing case for his candidacy:
My brothers and I didn’t become firefighters for fame or money. We do the job because we care about our communities. We don’t expect everyone to make this level of commitment — it’s a calling more than a job — but it’s a commitment I’ve been glad to make. I believe hardworking men and women deserve a fair chance to succeed, and that middle-class common sense has its place in solving even our biggest challenges.
Our personal favorite in terms of storylines, though, is without a doubt Lori Compas redefining the term “grassroots.” As of last week, the donations she received in Senate District 13 not only doubled those of the incumbent who had paid staff, but 98 percent of them were for $100 or less: No special interests. No outsider money. Just cold, hard, constituent support.
Of particular note in today’s election is the “crossover” ballot style wherein “voters will be allowed to vote for a Republican in the governor’s race and a Democrat in the lieutenant governor’s race.” This differs from the “ticket” style where one must choose party sides.