A year after surviving recall, Scott Walker still faces no Democratic opponent for 2014

posted at 9:21 pm on June 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

In hindsight, I think it’s safe to say the recall was what they call “overreach.” As Wisconsin Democrats gathered for their convention in one of the state’s lovely cities noted for its kind people, delicious dairy products, and unpronounceable name, they didn’t have any idea who will run against Gov. Scott Walker in 2014:

OCONOMOWOC, WI (WRN) – Wisconsin Democrats repeatedly made the argument at their state convention over the weekend that Governor Scott Walker needs to be defeated in 2014. However, there continue to be few hints about exactly who will take on that challenge in the coming months.

Speaking to delegates, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate said it does no good to give Governor Walker a “target to shoot at one day sooner than we have to.” Tate said Walker has a political history of not promoting his ideas on the campaign trail, but by “making himself the least worst option on the ballot.”

Still, Tate reassured the crowd gathered in Oconomowoc that there are several talented and qualified people considering running. Those possible contenders could include Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), a vocal critic of Walker, and Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin President Mahlon Mitchell, who made an unsuccessful run last year in the recall against Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Both say that they are open to a run for governor, but those decisions are still far off in the future.

This happy face masks some disappointing news from the state’s more high-profile Democrats, who took the opportunity to officially bow out of a match-up with Walker. Congressman Ron Kind is out, and former Sen. Russ Feingold will duck the challenge for the second time in two years. Feingold was liberals’ fondest hope for a recall resurgence in 2012, but he only has eyes for the Beltway life and is holding out for a possible shot at Sen. Ron Johnson, the man who unseated him, in 2016. Backbone, y’all.

Walker is one of eight GOP governors elected in 2010 in swingy states where they’re trying to hold on for second terms.

Eight new GOP governors were elected in 2010 in states that had voted for Barack Obama two years earlier and would vote for him again two years later. (In all, triumphant Republicans carried 23 of the 37 gubernatorial races that year.) They won amid angst about high unemployment and fevered opposition to the Affordable Care Act Obama had signed that March. The same wave helped the GOP seize control of the House of Representatives in Washington.

Now these freshman Republican governors are expected to seek second terms in their solidly blue or battleground states: Florida, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

If they succeed, the consequences could be considerable. Amid Republican anguish over losing the past two presidential elections — and about losing ground among Hispanics, young people and other growing parts of the electorate — the governors could provide a blueprint for how to win, including in such quintessential swing states as Florida and Ohio.

Five of eight have declined to build state Obamacare exchanges (Martinez, Sandoval, and Snyder the exceptions, though Snyder’s is a joint project with the feds), as reported in USA Today‘s good run-down of the state of the gubernatorial races. When it comes to Medicare expansion, Martinez and Sandoval will expand while Scott, Snyder, and Kasich would like to but are being rebuffed by their Republican legislatures. Such acquiescence to the law, reviled by the constituencies that helped get them elected, is complicating their pitches, but reflective of the purple landscape on which they have to make them. USA Today offers the bottom line on those races, for the moment:

• Both rate the gubernatorial races in Florida and Pennsylvania as tossups, the seats Democrats have the best chance of winning back. The UVA rankings, led by political scientist Larry Sabato, put Maine in the same category.

• Both see the race in Ohio as a competitive one that now only “leans” Republican.

• Michigan, New Mexico and Nevada are rated as leaning or likely Republican — that is, potentially competitive, but not the sort of challenge the incumbents face in the trio of tossup contests.

• And the safest bet seems to be Walker, who already won what amounted to a second election in last year’s recall battle. In 2010, he defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by 52 percent-47 percent. In their 2012 rematch, he widened his margin to 53 percent-46 percent. He was the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall, and the first to survive it.

Meanwhile, in my home state of North Carolina, voters elected a Republican governor and Republican legislators in 2012, as the state went back to red on the heels of a notably corrupt Democratic administration with some of the worst approval ratings in recent memory.

The will of the people is annoying, though. So, liberal activists are staging weekly protests they’ve dubbed “Moral Mondays,” in which they are all inexplicably able to show up once a week during the day to gather in very loud objection to very small cuts to anything, ever. From a HuffPo contributor contributing to the string of arrests at Moral Mondays, which of course are never met with cries from media about the certain impending doom of the peaceable Republic, unlike media coverage of notably arrest-less Tea Party gatherings.

Because North Carolina refused the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, I ended up in handcuffs in the Wake County Detention Center. That was my trigger, anyway. Statistically, next year more than two thousand people in the state will die who would have lived if North Carolina had accepted federal money to give health insurance to low-income families. (That’s our share of an estimated 19,000 preventable deaths nationwide in the 14 states that have rejected the expansion.) Because the state legislature was doing that in my name, I decided I needed to stand in front of it, at least until they took me away.

Just to be clear, getting arrested was never going to be my jam. I don’t like chanting, marching, or rubbing my chafed wrists in a holding cell. I don’t like the way disagreement gets simplified. I don’t like being on the wrong side of the law. But sometimes it’s worth swallowing these things.

For that matter, I don’t really like throwing around the language of morality in public, but I had to swallow that, too. I got arrested at a Moral Monday, the name the state NAACP and a coalition of unions and churches have given to their peaceful demonstrations in Raleigh, aimed at drawing attention to the state’s Tea Party legislative agenda.

It’s important not just for North Carolina, but for the country. The issues that progressives mobilized around in 2012 haven’t gone away. They’ve just moved to the states. Places like Raleigh are the next front line in US politics.

Let’s hope so. And, let’s hope Walker is advising Gov. Pat McCrory on withstanding this kind of onslaught, and Wisconsin liberals are advising protesters on how to overreach on McCrory. Sadly, North Carolina does not offer recall, but that won’t stop them from trying! With any luck, McCrory and his supporters will be well on their way to a reelection victory thanks in part to the Moral Monday crowd.


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O(long o)-con(like a prisoner)-na-mo-wock.

sfrenz on June 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Tea Leaves

Bmore on June 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM

I’d like to see Kloppenberg, the failed Dem candidate for the WI supreme court run.

Kloppy provided so much (unintended) humor.

Wethal on June 11, 2013 at 9:29 PM

It’s funny how “moral” Jedidiah Purdy has all this money to scream and rant and protest and cry, but won’t take any of it out of his own pocket to pay other peoples’ health insurance.

That is how these people need to be confronted. Tell them they could fix the problem right now by paying other peoples’ health insurance costs out of their own pocket, and when they start to dither, call them a murderer and say that they want people to die waiting rather than pay for them.

It absolutely melts their tiny brains — and also exposes that they don’t care about “the poor” as anything other than human shields for picking your pocket.

northdallasthirty on June 11, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Tea Party Rules!

crash72 on June 11, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Walker…an R with a spine….wish we had one in Minnesota instead of gov goofy but then again Minnesota is the land of stupid voters…ahem

crosshugger on June 11, 2013 at 9:32 PM

Both rate the gubernatorial races in Florida and Pennsylvania as tossups, the seats Democrats have the best chance of winning back. The UVA rankings, led by political scientist Larry Sabato, put Maine in the same category.

Except for the scandal involving his lieutenant governor (in which she ended up resigning), Scott’s been amazingly scandal-free in Florida given his shady pre-election record.

Also, this business of the Federal government fudging the economic numbers to make Obama look good, raise Stock Market values, and generally put off anarchy has trickled down in an odd sort of way to make many Republicans appear to be competent as well. It seems, too, that at least in the case of Florida the GOP legislature is taxing state employees (ostensibly to pay for their own retirement pensions) in order to balance the state budget.

At any rate, I think many voters on both sides aren’t very motivated to vote like they were just a few years ago. It will be hard for either side to get many candidates for voters to get excited about.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Maybe Segway Boy will toss his hat into the ring. I am sure the Dems unions will come up with some retread to run.

bound4er on June 11, 2013 at 9:37 PM

MKH, I think we should deport the 180 arrested protestors, since most are from out-of-state. We can deport them to Mexico, since they are so found of speaking Spanish.

Rev. Barber the Buffet Slayer should be consider an enemy of the state with his public funds sucking antics.

LoganSix on June 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM

…smoke tea!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

A year after surviving recall, Scott Walker still faces no Democratic opponent for 2014

Maybe Rubio could move to Wisconsin and run against him.

VorDaj on June 11, 2013 at 9:47 PM

…smoke tea!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

I already have a contact high…
But here I go anyway…

Electrongod on June 11, 2013 at 9:47 PM

…this should be a trolls testicular tying thread!…
where they be?

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2013 at 9:47 PM

…Walker’s got a good head of hair in that picture!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2013 at 9:49 PM

For the record, Larry Sabato has Scott Walker at the top of his GOP Presidential contender list for 2016, saying he’s the strongest candidate to get through the primaries.

vegconservative on June 11, 2013 at 9:50 PM

These “Moral Mondays” in Raleigh are the brainchild of Rev. Barber whose only purpose in life seems to be: wakeup and start bitching about the first thing he sees.

If he isn’t a story, masquerading as news, on the local stations’ websites at least once a week people start looking safety, fearing the apocalypse is at hand.

JohnFLob on June 11, 2013 at 9:51 PM

For the record, Larry Sabato has Scott Walker at the top of his GOP Presidential contender list for 2016, saying he’s the strongest candidate to get through the primaries.

vegconservative on June 11, 2013 at 9:50 PM

That’s what I’m thinking…got a fundraising call from him the other day…

Jackalope on June 11, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Well, I think Tom Barrett should give it another run… /

Fallon on June 11, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Jackalope on June 11, 2013 at 9:52 PM

I like Walker-but he’s pro-amnesty.
Pass.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 11, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Walker…an R with a spine….wish we had one in Minnesota instead of gov goofy but then again Minnesota is the land of stupid voters…ahem
crosshugger on June 11, 2013 at 9:32 PM

I’d say some stupid, but also well-intended Minnesota Nice tends to cause many folks to suppress their disgust.

whatcat on June 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Scott Walker and Chris Christie in a mud-wrestling match. Who would win?

manwithblackhat on June 11, 2013 at 10:00 PM

OCONOMOWOC

Wow! That would be a bank buster as an answer in Wheel of Fortune if the city had more than one vowel. As it is anybody with an arcane knowledge of Wisconsin geography would mop up in a matter of seconds.

I thought Scott Walker was an anomoly. Democrats would be lining up to run against him because, you know, he attacked the teachers’ union. Are the kids more stupid now- as predicted during the recall vote? Despite Madison I still have hope for sanity in WI. Not so much in the commie territory of MN.

Happy Nomad on June 11, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Scott Walker and Chris Christie in a mud-wrestling match. Who would win?

Or cage fighting. Yeah, let’s go with that one.

manwithblackhat on June 11, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Scott Walker and Chris Christie in a mud-wrestling match. Who would win?

manwithblackhat on June 11, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Okay, that is just silly. Christie clearly doesn’t “do” exercise. Not even in losing weight.

Happy Nomad on June 11, 2013 at 10:05 PM

The Democrat candidates are getting the idea that they don’t like the idea of LOSING to Walker. I think the national party would rather have the talking point that Walker won reelection unopposed, and therefore, isn’t a decent presidential candidate – than the other way around.

Jurisprudence on June 11, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Scott Walker and Chris Christie in a mud-wrestling match. Who would win?

manwithblackhat on June 11, 2013 at 10:00 PM

…not fair!…Christie is already caked with mud!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2013 at 10:19 PM

This guy should be a hero in the Republican party. You’d think the GOP leadership would roll out red carpets for him and his family for what they’ve endured and accomplished.

But it’s like he doesn’t exist to them. He has done everything the RINO’s of the party say can’t be done. Chris Christie is talked about more the Gov. Walker is.

Proof.. the RINO’s are working for the Democrats. They are the Democrat’s Republican. The RINO’s of this party are the reason the Democrats win.

JellyToast on June 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

JellyToast on June 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

…ding…ding…ding!
ditto!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Gumbyandpokey unavailable for comment.

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Jackalope on June 11, 2013 at 9:52 PM
I like Walker-but he’s pro-amnesty.
Pass.
annoyinglittletwerp on June 11, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Yep, that is exactly my concern as well.

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Hmmmm Scott Walker a Tea Party conservative, Ted Cruz a Tea Party conservative, Sheriff Joe Arpaio a lawman adored by the Tea Party. Both Walker and Arpaio faced recalls and won. Ted Cruz is my Senator and we love him here in Texas. All three of these gentlemen enjoy huge favorable ratings. These gentlemen are the blueprint for the way forward in 2014 and 2016. If we had had such candidates in 2012 and 2008 they would have won. Especially in 2012. Romney lost because conservatives stayed home. The GOP polls blacks, hispanics, asians, green goblins but they never bother to look at their BASE. Until they have candidates of principal like Walker they will lose. Don’t even think of trotting out Christie or Rubio in 2016. No more Bushes and no more RINOs!

neyney on June 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Gumby And Pokey unavailable for comment.

blue ball on June 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM

…unfortantly…his sister is available for comment!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2013 at 10:40 PM

I’m concerned that Kasich is going to get buried–by the Dems and by conservative indifference. Geez, he screwed up SB 5 here in Ohio two years ago.

BuckeyeSam on June 11, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Walker. My Man. Totally Bad Ass. The last hope left (I mean right).

NoPain on June 11, 2013 at 11:32 PM

W-A-I-T!!!

A man that ran and governed as an unabashed conservative is running unopposed.

Reagan is smiling.

When we run to get the mythical center independent, we lose. That is why the msm and the donks (BIRM) always tel us to run to the center and not attack leftists while leftists viciously attack us all the time.

jukin3 on June 11, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Walker/Cruz ’16

Bruno Strozek on June 11, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Christie, for all his bravado has as much a chance at the 2016 inaugural as anyone but the Secretary who allowed four deaths in Benghazi.

And, he deserves those odds.

jersey taxpayer on June 11, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Call me selfish, but I wanna keep Walker at least for a while longer… maybe another 3 cycles. By that time he can run for Pres.

He and most of the Republicans have finally bought some sanity to this state. Of course, like every state we have the cess pools in Milwaukee and Madison… but most rest of the state are sane people.

If you all wanna hear some good ads… the Milwaukee county Sheriff has ran some adds on the radio that make the liberals heads explode. Good times here in WI… good times.

watertown on June 12, 2013 at 2:13 AM

Walker 2016

Arnold Yabenson on June 12, 2013 at 5:10 AM

For that matter, I don’t really like throwing around the language of morality in public, but I had to swallow that, too. I got arrested at a Moral Monday, the name the state NAACP and a coalition of unions and churches have given to their peaceful demonstrations in Raleigh, aimed at drawing attention to the state’s Tea Party legislative agenda.

What lunacy. The biggest problem with the Republican Party vis-a-vis the Democrat Party is that the latter stakes every issue in moral terms while the latter sheepishly tries to ignore it in favor of snooze-worthy policy wonkery.

If you oppose the left it’s because you have an irrational fear of gay people, or a deep-seated hatred towards black people, or you look down on women, or some other overheated charge that directly assaults your character. The left never tires about making their policy prescriptions in the context of their enemies being morally flawed troglodytes.

The Republican Party can fix this just by knowing their history and what they actually stand for, and being able to articulate why their policies are morally right, not just fiscally literate.

Yes, it’s ironic the party of no morality couches everything in moral terms. It’s entirely pathetic the party of civil rights has leaders that don’t even bother to research its history.

BKennedy on June 12, 2013 at 5:19 AM

In hindsight, I think it’s safe to say the recall was what they call “overreach.”

Coupled with the occupation of the Capitol building, liberals showing up and harassing Special Olympians because Walker was speaking…the list goes on. “Overreach” is a vast understatement.

From where I sit, the challenger that most concerns me is Feingold; although it seems he’s not interested in taking on Walker. I don’t believe the Democrats would be dumb enough to give Tom Barrett a third bite at that apple, but you never know — after losing solidly in the general election in 2010, they put him back on the ballot in 2012…only to get beaten even worse.

But other than Feingold maybe stepping up to the plate to take one for the team, I can’t think of any serious contender to Walker’s governorship. And that’s a good thing. Despite hopes to the contrary, I’d like to see him serve a couple of terms in Wisconsin before he goes on to higher office.

englishqueen01 on June 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Even though the governor in VA isn’t -can’t- running for reelection, the Old Dominion is also a swing state with a currently GOP governor. The potential Dem replacement is Terry McAuliffe, which thought fills me with nausea. I will state for the record that it would be a bad idea for Virginia to flip to blue in this year’s gubernatorial race.

Physics Geek on June 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM