Thursday, September 18, 2014

Burke takes on Walker in Wisconsin

For a Californian, it has been interesting for the last week to be in a state where a hot gubernatorial election is underway.

Rural central Wisconsin where we've been is incumbent Republican Scott Walker's territory judging by the prevalence of his lawn signs. Evidence of Mary Burke's campaign was much thinner.

Burke is an intriguing Democratic candidate, a business woman taking on the Koch brothers' pet union buster. Her past experience includes doing strategic planning for the Trek Bicycle Corporation (the family firm) and as Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce.

Current polling suggests this Democrat is running close to Walker. But pulling ahead will be tough. Wisconsin is a paradigmatic purple state: along with Pennsylvania and Florida, it is reliably Democratic when everyone votes in presidential years -- then goes Republican with lower turnout in mid-terms. In the last century, the state was the home of the country's most successful Progressive and Socialist parties.

The National Rifle Association, true Walker fans, have just announced they are throwing down $1 million for Walker. If Walker prevails by a significant margin, expect to see him in the 2016 Republican presidential field.

Then again, Mary Burke might just steal this one if Wisconsin Democrats can organize to turn out their voters. Her campaign is here.

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