Dozens of men, women, children and dogs showed up early Monday morning outside the Madison Labor Temple, where labor-backed organizers sent them out in search of Democratic votes. Their goal was written in chalk on the sidewalk at their feet: “Barrett or Bust.” If Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) can pull off a come-from-behind win in an election to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Tuesday, it will almost certainly be because of volunteers like these, whom Democrats are counting on to overcome being outspent by tens of millions. Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker will try to become the first governor to successfully overcome a recall in an election Tuesday. Walker is being challenged by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The long-awaited vote is viewed here as a referendum on Walker’s move to curtail public workers’ collective-bargaining rights and a harbinger of whether Republicans have a shot at winning Wisconsin this fall for the first time since 1984. But the contest also will be an early test of a dynamic that both parties expect to play out in a dozen or so battleground states in November: the effectiveness of the Democrats’ ground organization against the expected advantage Republicans will have in fundraising and on TV.
The importance of on-the-ground organizing for President Obama’s reelection effort was made clear Monday in a Web video released to supporters. “You know what really matters in a really close election? The unprecedented grass-roots organizing we’re doing every day in states across the country,” campaign manager Jim Messina said at the outset of a three-minute video in which Wisconsin was listed as a toss-up state. “We’re following the strategy we’ve had from day one, and we can’t afford to lose focus on that.”