Politico reports that Scott Walker plans to keep a lower profile in the last week before the recall elections in Wisconsin, but it doesn’t mean that his campaign will go on hiatus. Today they released a tough new ad attacking Democrat Tom Barrett for his campaign claims to have reduced violent crime in Milwaukee by 15% during his tenure as mayor. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposed some significant fudging in Milwaukee’s crime reporting, and Walker’s team hits Barrett hard for it:
Walker himself is playing it safe on the campaign trail, although he’s popping up unannounced at events:
With a slim lead in the polls and just a week to go until the June 5 recall election, Scott Walker isn’t taking any chances.
The Wisconsin governor is running under the radar in an attempt to freeze the race where it stands and limit the chances of a momentum-shifting mistake.
His engagements in public venues have tailed off. Retail events have given way to rallies with supporters at campaign offices. Walker’s passive debate performance Friday, where he seemed more comfortable withstanding rhetorical blows from Democrat Tom Barrett than landing many of his own, offered more signs of his play-it-safe homestretch approach. The governor even passed on asking Barrett a direct question — usually a ripe opportunity to place an opponent on defense for a perceived weakness.
While his communications director told POLITICO he had no scheduled campaign events during the holiday weekend, the governor ended up popping up at several rallies with supporters. Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews described as many as seven different weekend stops as impromptu additions to the calendar.
“Safe” doesn’t necessarily mean passive, obviously. The two campaigns will spend about the same amount of money on media buys this week, according to an analysis this weekend by the Journal Sentinel, probably more of a reflection of the limited amount of inventory than funding parity. Walker has much more cash than his opponent, thanks in part to the primary fight on the Democratic side, and will undoubtedly deploy that in extensive GOTV efforts this week.
In the meantime, it makes sense to limit opportunities for missteps as long as it doesn’t send Walker into a bubble. The campaign clearly intends to remain on offense in the final days, and with Democrats abandoning the attack on the PEU reform that initially triggered their outrage and recall effort, Barrett can expect to remain on defense in explaining why Democrats stuck Wisconsin voters with the cost of a completely unnecessary election.