Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. This means Barrett will go head-to-head with embattled Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the rare recall election on June 5.
Barrett, who also ran against Walker in 2010, was expected to win his party’s nomination- polls had showed him with a large lead over former Dane county executive Kathleen Falk, who was viewed as his biggest competitor and had been endorsed by many of the labor organizations in the state. With 33 percent of precincts reporting, Barrett led Falk 54.7 percent to 37 percent.
Enthusiasm has run high in Wisconsin ahead of the recall election. Walker, Barrett and Falk each reported raising large sums of money- though at slightly under $1 million each, Falk and Barrett have been far outpaced by Walker, who has raised $13 million between mid-January, when the recall was officially announced, and mid-April.
The Government Accountability Board- which oversees elections in Wisconsin- predicted turnout for the primary would be between 30 and 35 percent of the voting age population, notably higher than the 25 percent that turned out for the presidential primary April 3.
A Marquette Law School poll released at the beginning of May showed Barrett and Walker in a statistical dead heat.
If Walker loses the election, he will be the third governor in U.S. history to be recalled from office. He is the first governor in Wisconsin’s history to face a recall election, which was initiated after the governor moved to curtail the rights of some unionized state workers.