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Democrats, losing ground in Wisconsin, play down recall election

May 27, 2012|By David Lauter
  • Supporters cheer for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the Republican campaigns along with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal at the Waukesha Victory Center in Waukesha, Wisc.
Supporters cheer for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the Republican campaigns… (Darren Hauck/Getty Images )

WASHINGTON — Recent polls have pointed toward a victory for Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s June 5 recall election. But here’s the clearest evidence to date that national Democratic party officials believe their side is losing: Democratic officials are playing down the potential impact.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) insisted in a television interview that a loss for the Democratic candidate in the recall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, wouldn't have any implications for other races, such as the presidential election.

“I think, honestly, there aren’t going to be any repercussions,” Wasserman Schultz said on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program. “It’s an election that’s based in Wisconsin.”

Public employee unions and liberal activist groups have spearheaded the effort to recall Walker, who became a hero to conservatives last year when he pushed a bill through the state Legislature that ended most collective bargaining rights for state workers. Although Walker’s opponents gathered more than 900,000 signatures on recall petitions earlier this year – in a state where Walker was elected governor with just over 1.2 million votes – polls have indicated that the effort to end his tenure early will probably fall short.

Some Republican strategists believe a successful defense of Walker will put them in good position to contest the state in November. President Obama carried Wisconsin by a wide margin in 2008, but the state was among the closest in the nation four years earlier.

Wasserman Schultz also pushed back against complaints by some Democrats in Wisconsin that the national party has been too stingy in supporting Barrett.

“We put more than $250,000 into the race already,” she said, noting that she was heading for Wisconsin on Tuesday for a Barrett fundraiser. “We sent out an email this week to our more than 2 million-plus donor base from the Democratic Party, telling them that the first important national election is the June 5 election to recall Scott Walker and elect Mayor Tom Barrett, and asking our considerable donor base to contribute.”

The interview was taped Friday for broadcast Sunday.

david.lauter@latimes.com

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