Flushed with victory, Barrett bowls over opponents
May 9, 2012
With almost everybody predicting his primary victory was a sure thing, we suppose it’s only natural that Tom Barrett’s Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District got caught dumping 16,000 gallons of raw sewage into the Kinnickinnick River during the recent rain storms, something about which we hope to hear a great deal more in the 27 days before the Mayor faces Wisconsin voters for real.
So what did we learn from Tuesday’s primary?
- Democrats regard government employee unions as their reliable stooges but aren’t interested in their advice. How else to explain union candidate Kathleen Falk losing her own, union-heavy Dane county by a 62-31 percent margin? Barrett defeated Falk statewide by 58-34 percent.
- Despite getting no respect from the party that consumes countless millions of dollars of their members’ dues payments, the government unions are still capable of causing a great deal of harm. The recall—of which they’ve obviously lost control—would not be happening at all except for their efforts.
- The June 5 election will be a close contest and Barrett could win. Democrats turned out 670-thousand votes in yesterday’s primary election. That’s more than two-thirds of Barrett’s total in the 2010 general election, when there were plenty of other reasons for people to get out and vote.
All told, 1.3 million people voted in the primary, compared with 2.1 million in November 2010.
The truly encouraging news is that 626,538 people turned out to cast their vote for Governor Walker in a non-contested Republican primary. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Craig Gilbert explains the history and significance of Tuesday’s vote:
The astonishing number of votes Gov. Scott Walker generated in an uncompetitive GOP primary, more votes than Barrett and Falk combined and almost as many as were cast for all the candidates on the Democratic side. It’s just not normal in politics for a major incumbent with token opposition to generate turnout on a par with a heavily contested race in the other party. It was an unexpected turnout bomb, a demonstration of Walker’s greatest political asset, even greater than his considerable money advantage — the ability to mobilize his base.
Now that we’ve seen the numbers generated by the most motivated voters on both sides, how many more will turn out for the June 5 showdown and can Governor Walker get enough of their votes to win?
Call Tuesday’s exercise a test vote, and take nothing for granted.