Wisconsin Recall Primary Analysis

Some cocktail napkin math and most likely incorrect analysis of yesterday’s recall primary under the fold for anyone who is interested.

The results of yesterday’s recall election held some real surprises for me – not with the results, but with the percentages involved.

There seems to have been very little crossover. Wisconsin is an open primary state so you could choose to vote in either parties primary for either recall (governor and lt. governor). I voted in the R primary for governor and crossed over to vote in the D primary for lt. governor since the R had no opposition. Personally, I think these open primaries are sort of stupid, and the primaries should be paid for by the parties, but those are different subjects for a different day. The main thrust is that there appears to have been little crossover.

There was a fake Republican on the R side going up against Walker. The results:
Walker – 626,538 – 97%
Kohl-Riggs – 19,920 – 3%
It is a certainty that almost all of those 19,920 votes were crossovers.

Here are the results of the Democrat primary, to pick the challenger to Walker:
Barrett – 390,109 – 58%
Falk – 228,940 – 38%
Vinehout – 26,926 – 4%
LaFollette – 19,461 – 3%
Huber – 4,842 – 1%

So we get a rematch of 2010. Can you believe this? After all of that bucket drumming, chanting, marching around the square, crashing in and trashing of the capitol building, and all the rest, we have the same exact match up we had in 2010. The Democrat party effectively kneecapped the left and progressives by putting a figurative bullet to the head of Falk. I have heard from friends that Obama/Emmanuel had something to do with this but don’t have any firm proof.

Falk early on said she would do everything in her power to repeal Walker’s reforms and put things “right” for the government unions. She received early endorsements from EVERY government union and AFSCME was even running early attack ads against Barrett. The Democrats understood early on that a “union” candidate would get blasted by Walker so they began their “war on women” and crushed Falk. Barrett is a much more centrist candidate. Many of the left will still crawl over broken glass to vote for him, much like conservatives with Romney, but it has got to be a bitter pill to swallow to see how the left and unions were played by the Dems. Hilarious to me, though.

So lets look at this turnout – the Democrats cast a total of 670,278 votes. Hey, wait a minute. That isn’t even close to the number of petitions filed for the recall in the first place (around one million supposedly). What is up with that? Only a few things can be surmised.

Massive petition fraud.
People signed just to feel good, or get a family member or someone else out of their face.
People didn’t understand what they were signing.
Something else?

I don’t get that at all. Hey, YOU are the ones that wanted this stupid recall and you aren’t even going to vote in the primary now to select the candidate to go against the dark lord Walker? Sheesh. What a scam.

The Republican turnout was impressive – 646,458 votes – almost MORE than the Dems and for the Rs, there wasn’t really anything to vote for. I am pleasantly surprised at this.

By Barrett winning, it is absolutely clear now that this isn’t about collective bargaining for government unions anymore. It is a power grab by one party over another, plain and simple. Barrett has campaigned FAR away from the union issue and I can only assume will continue to do so.

So prediction time, and a little crystal ball stuff.

I think Walker will win. I also think that the Senate will flip from R to D. I believe there are four state senate races to be decided in the general recall election on June 5. It is going to be a LONG month up here with robocalls, ads, and all the rest.

But what if Walker loses? Well, it isn’t the end of the world. We will have a corporatist, centrist governor who won’t try to take down everything Walker has done. And he won’t be able to because the Assembly is in firm control of the Rs, and appears that it will be for a generation. The legislative business is done for this year and many people will forget a lot of things by the time November rolls around and we have yet another election. When I vote for President in November, it will be the fifth or sixth time I have voted this year. I am sick of it as are many others. But don’t forget what the despicable Russ Feingold said last year – the game’s not over until we win.

If Walker loses, he will be free to help Washington get its crap together, or he could come back in 2014 to run again for governor here in Wisconsin (when the current term for governor ends).

11 thoughts on “Wisconsin Recall Primary Analysis”

  1. I hope Walker wins, obviously. It is a total bait n’ switch by the left, but they are good at that.

    Has to smart to the unions that topics that are core to them are death in the political marketplace.

  2. @Michael – that is a very good point – the govt. unions are killing themselves financially with all of this and as you rightly noted every penny they spend in the recall is that much less they can spend in the general this fall.

    And you are both correct, unions are completely toxic now for any politician it appears.

  3. I just found out that Falk didn’t even carry Dane County (where Madison is). That stings.

    The more I think about this, the more I wonder if the unions/national Dems will just let Barrett sink and save their funds for the national elections this fall. Walker has him hopelessly outgunned financially and with that massive R turnout last night for essentially nothing more than a show of unity it has to look bad for Barrett.

  4. Dan, I don’t think the unions/national Dems CAN just let Barrett sink. They provoked this fight and turned the last gubernatorial race into a perpetual election, and turned/let it be turned into a proxy for Obama’s presidency.

    I’ve seen varying estimates on all the different recalls and elections in Wisconsin, and my best guess is that the Dems and unions have spent around $40 million on this fight. They have pulled in volunteers and “volunteers” from around the country. If Barrett loses, the demoralization will be a harsh blow to Democrat and other Leftist fund raising and volunteering.

    The worst news is that given the cost of waging these battles, the Dems have to be calculating what it will cost this November to fight for municipal, county, state, and federal offices, up to and including the Presidency, in the face of a public that, doctored polls notwithstanding, is rejecting them wholesale. The internal polls, the ones they have to run (and don’t release because they can’t afford to lie to themselves so the polls are honest) to find out about issues, effectiveness of messaging, and so forth have to be scaring the h-ll out of them.

    I suspect they’re faced with a. keep the presidency but lose everything else, b. fight to retain power at congressional, state and local level and lose the presidency, and c. try to win everywhere and wind up losing everywhere. Given Tip O’Neill’s astute observation that “All politics is local,” expect a battle royal between the adherents of those three strategies over funding and resources. A win by Barrett gives ammunition to the adherents of b and c. A loss, I suspect, would be inconclusive and result in a Democrat party going into the November general election at war with itself.

    None of this means the fight will be easy or that we’re guaranteed a win. But I’m starting to feel very optimistic.

  5. I think early polling will give the Dems a clue. If it is a solid 55-45 for Walker I am sure they will pull the plug. If it is closer they may dump (more) money in here. I tend to think that the unions may have shot their wad already but that is just a guess, I don’t really know. They have been on point for so long and spent so much on so many races already I just don’t know where any more can come from.

    It looks like the US Senate is lost to the Dems, and we will have a good fight here in Wisconsin on that as well – as of yet not picked R vs. Tammy Baldwin, super liberal congress critter from Madison.

    To me your option A seems the most realistic right now, but I am far from an expert on this stuff.

  6. Dan: Help me out here.

    If Walker beat Barrett 18 months ago, why won’t he beat Barrett in June?

    Why would those Senate seats flip?

    Why would the less than totally motivated D’s such as those who vote D solely for reasons of ethnic solidarity show up in June?

    Won’t at least some of the unionistas be bitter about Barrett, particularly those in Milwaukee who have been battling him there, just stay home?

  7. @Robert:
    1) Walker should win but anything can happen. A LOT has happened in the last 18 months and the left and Dems are highly motivated.
    2) Some of those senate seats were gained in the huge rout of the Dems in 2010. One flipped already because a state senator had “girl problems”. I don’t know enough about each particular race to comment too intelligently on it but since a lot of those districts traditionally voted Dem, I think they will flip a couple of them.
    3) Because they think Scott Walker is worse than Hitler. Literally.
    4) Yes. But I think that number will be very low. Don’t forget that the trade unions from my personal conversations with many tradesmen over the last 18 months completely hate the government and teacher unions. So Barrett will certainly get most of the votes of the govt. unions, but I suspect some trade union members will vote for Walker. As I said in the main post it will be like tea partiers and other conservatives voting for RomRom. It stinks, but we gotta do what we gotta do.

  8. Dan, amplifying a little (I’m taking minutes here and there). The problem is donor fatigue coupled with the reliance on new voters and paid “volunteers.” Obama isn’t new, exciting and unknown this time around. He’s also bitten the hand that feeds him one too many times. That means, limited enthusiasm for people volunteering to do the grunt work many campaigns rely on, and people deciding to give their money to candidates at different levels or of the party that isn’t demonizing them.

    a. Keep the presidency but lose everything else. This will be the position of the Obama campaign if/when it becomes obvious that they don’t have the resources for everything. The idea is that in a second term,, Obama can “enact” any element of his agenda through a combination of asserting executive branch regulatory authority, the already hyper-corrupt DoJ, and venue shopping for ideological judges.

    b. Fight to retain power at congressional, state and local level and lose the presidency. This will be the strategy to some extent. The candidates for city and county offices will run their own campaigns and fundraising, but they get no help from the national, state, or (maybe) county parties. The bigger problem will be candidates for state level offices, and the House and Senate. Typically, these can get some support from the national party. This is where the conflict will arise as the Obama campaign tries to suck all the money out of national level organizations.

    c. Try to win everywhere and wind up losing everywhere. This is the “compromise” position, in name only, and it can come in many forms. The most likely is selective support for down ticket candidates, emphasis on Obama, and hope for the best. If they adopt this strategy, the effect on municipal and county elections is minimal, but they’ll get hammered in the state level elections, and may lose dramatically in the House and Senate races.

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