Wisc. recall vote could be preview of presidential election

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, right, and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett look at one another as they get ready to participate in a televised debate Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

June 4, 2012 4:24:13 PM PDT
Voters go to the polls Tuesday in the Wisconsin recall for Republican Governor Scott Walker. The bitter battle has attracted national attention and has brought volunteers from across the country for both sides.

While Gov. Walker and his Democratic opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett crisscross the dairy state, their ground troops are making the final push from county to county.

Republicans in Kenosha are working phone banks to make sure Walker keeps his job. In Racine, Democrats are directing their door to door volunteers to get out the vote for Barrett.

In what is expected to be a tight race with huge voter turnout, both sides are working hard to reach voters.

Bob Underhill and his friend Thomas Bauernfeind are definitely going to the polls Tuesday, but the men do not plan on voting for the same candidate.

"I think they should have gave him his four years and let him do what he could, let him straighten the state out," said Underhill.

"I'm a union man," said Bauernfeind. "I believe he didn't do teachers too fairly and will probably do it to more people as time gets on."

The drive to recall Walker began with his move to end collective bargaining rights for most public workers. While the governor says it's all about balancing a state budget, some Democrats believe it is the beginning of the end of organized labor.

Matt Augustine is a 30-year union member. He is also chairman of Kenosha County's Republican Party.

"Unions are a good thing up to a point, but the public sector unions took advantage of the situation where people in the private sector are making less than the public sector. How can we afford to pay for that?" said Augustine.

But Wisconsin Democrats are confident enough union members and others are energized to cut Walker's first term short.

" Scott Walker wants to be the rock star of the radical right," said Brad Wojciechowski, Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman. "He's traveled across this country pursuing his radical agenda, you know, on the back of Wisconsin families."

Even though this is the fourth election this year in Wisconsin, voter turnout is expected to be between 60 and 65 percent Tuesday. Many say whatever the outcome it could be a preview of what's to come in the presidential election.