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Why? Ironically, the envy that Democrats are so proficient at promoting may be coming back to bite them: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state’s median individual income for 2009 was $39,718. The median wage for state employees? $45,599, according to an analysis of data provided by the Department of Administration. When benefits are included? In 2008, total state employee compensation came to $71,000.
Radicalism? Fiscal rationality is more like it. And in a nation bleeding red ink at every level of government, much of it due to union largesse, Walker’s chances seem good at this juncture.
As for lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, the latest Marquette Law School poll taken May 23-26 has Kleefisch ahead of Mahlon Mitchell by a five-point margin, 46-41 percent. This is just outside the four percent margin of error, and it has some Republicans worried due to the nature of a recall election, as opposed to a normal one. If Walker and Kleefisch were running together as they would during a normal election, she would have access to the millions of dollars in campaign cash raised by the governor. In this case she does not.
Republicans are further worried that a Walker win and a Kleefisch loss could be part of the Democrats’ grand strategy for taking control of Wisconsin. As Wisconsin’s CBS 58 News points out, the “lieutenant governor is technically in charge whenever the governor leaves the state. So in theory, if the governor is traveling, his rival could sign bills, issue executive orders or hand out pardons. The governor could undo most actions upon returning, although a pardon is irreversible.”
That’s the first half of the equation. The second half is a two-year long and ongoing investigation by Democratic Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s office regarding a “private email exchange in the spring of 2010 between Walker and his longtime campaign adviser John Hiller over a potential county real estate contract in which Hiller had a financial stake as deal maker.” The DA is attempting to find out if bid-rigging occurred. Walker states unequivocally the investigation has nothing to do with him. Yet an unnamed advisor to Tom Barrett revealed the cynicism that may indicate the Democrats’ ulterior strategy: “I don’t see a path to victory, barring additional criminal charges,” said the adviser.
Such a strategy is not outside the realm of possibilities. Democrats and their union enablers have tried everything to get their way in Wisconsin. Democratic legislators literally hid out in a neighboring state to prevent passage of the bill limiting union power. After it was passed they got a judge to issue a restraining order. When the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the bill, Democrats tried to unseat Justice David Prosser and tip the balance of the Court. When Prosser defeated challenger Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, she asked for a statewide recount — the first in 22 years — despite losing by more than 7,000 votes. Six Republicans were targeted for recall in 2011 in an attempt to take back the state senate. Four won, and the senate stayed Republican.
Wisconsin voters have their destiny in their own hands. If government union supporters are animated enough to go to the polls, the Democrats will have a good day. If voters like the direction in which the state is currently moving and head to the polls to say so, Walker and Kleefisch will emerge unscathed. If voters want more of the same turmoil they’ve experienced for the last year-and-a-half, they’ll split the ticket.
Four days from now will tell the tale.
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