Wisconsin voters will decide on Tuesday whether to throw Governor Scott Walker out of office in a rare recall election forced by opponents of the Republican’s controversial effort to curb collective bargaining for most unionized government workers. The rematch with Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett, who Walker defeated in a Republican sweep of the state in 2010, is the end-game of six months of bitter fighting in the Midwestern Rust Belt state over the union restrictions Walker proposed and enacted. The recall election in closely divided Wisconsin, which helped elect Democrat Barack Obama as president in 2008, is seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2012 U.S. presidential election in November. The vote is also viewed as a test of strength between organized labor and conservative opponents, both of whom have poured money and effort into the contest.
“This is going to be an early indication of which way the political wind is blowing in Wisconsin,” said Steven Schier, a political analyst at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. “It has implications for the presidential race and national politics. Wisconsin could be a swing state.” On Monday night, Walker held a raucous election eve rally on Milwaukee’s south side, where he said his administration had been a successful one. “We’ve kept our word. We’ve kept our promises,” Walker told some 200 supporters at a banquet hall. About two dozen protesters briefly confronted Walker supporters in a parking lot outside the hall until police arrived to separate the two groups.
This will be just the third recall election of a governor in U.S. history, and follows weeks of vociferous protests by demonstrators who occupied the state capitol in Madison as Walker and fellow Republican lawmakers pushed through the union curbs in March 2011.
Full Article: All eyes on Wisconsin governor’s recall election | Reuters.