Democrats’ hopes of ousting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in June’s recall election, seem to be slipping out of reach, as the state’s biggest newspaper gave the incumbent a huge boost late on Saturday.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel formally endorsed Walker in his battle to keep his job when he faces off against the city’s own mayor, Tom Barrett.
In an editorial posted on its website Saturday night, the Journal-Sentinel said although the governor is a controversial figure, “we see no reason to remove Walker from office. We recommend him in the June 5 recall election.
“Walker’s rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was prompted by one issue: Walker’s tough stance with the state’s public-employee unions,” said the editorial. “It’s inconceivable that the recall election would be occurring absent that. And a disagreement over a single policy is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor.”
The paper said it had no doubt that Barrett “like Walker, is a capable and honorable public servant, adding, “But this election isn’t about Tom Barrett. It’s about Scott Walker.
“Even if you disagree with Walker’s policies,” the editorial added, “does that justify cutting short his term as governor? And if so, where does such logic lead? To more recall elections? More turmoil?
“It’s time to end the bickering and get back to the business of the state. We’ve had our differences with the governor, but he deserves a chance to complete his term. We recommended him in 2010. We see no reason to change that recommendation. We urge voters to support Walker in the June 5 recall election.”
The endorsement came in the week that three separate polls showed Walker opening up a significant lead against Barrett. The surveys gave Walker a margin of between 5 and 9 percentage points.
And to add to Barrett’s woes, the polls are showing his personal favorability figures are plummeting. The latest, from Marquette University shows 37 percent viewed him favorably, while 45 percent view him unfavorably.
The Washington Post blog, The Fix says the Democrats’ best chance is to go even more negative on Walker than they have already, but the blog points out that however hard they have tried that tactic, Walker remains personally popular in the state.
The recall was called after Walker curbed the bargaining rights of public sector unions in Wisconsin. A petition easily got the required number of signatures to force an election, which will be held on June 5.
In recent days s rift between the state’s Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee has opened up over the amount of support Barrett is getting from outside the state — and that could be an augur of what is to come.
“Regardless of who’s right, these kinds of fights don’t happen on the winning side of the ledger,” says The Fix. “And they should be seen as further evidence that the Wisconsin recall is getting away from Democrats.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Walker said he is not afraid to lose to do the right thing and he still thinks people will elect him again because they want him to fix things. “They want me to keep the focus and attention on fixing things. We’re just going to make sure we’ve got a more comprehensive and inclusive process to get there.