Recall election now just hours away

Historic recall election is set for Tuesday

Published On: Jun 04 2012 08:14:33 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 04 2012 08:14:04 AM CDT
EVANSVILLE, Wis. -

The final campaign push is on as Wisconsin’s historic recall election is now just two nights away.

Neither candidate is eager to waste a moment of their final chances to make their case to Wisconsin voters. Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett covered the entire state on Sunday to shore up support.

At a call center in Fitchburg on Sunday evening, Walker said volunteers on his behalf had made more than two and a half million calls during this recall campaign.

With rumors swirling about his role in the John Doe investigation, Walker said he’s focusing his message on his reforms and job creation.

"We're going to continue to gain jobs, we're going to stay focused on that," said Walker. "We've answered all the other questions in the last days, we should get back to the core of what this election is about, it was about reforms, it was about jobs, we're succeeding at both. The other side doesn't have a plan and that's why they're desperately trying to bring up anything else."

Both Walker and Barrett kept their distance from each other as they both stopped by the Brown County Dairy Breakfast in De Pere on Sunday.

Barrett repeated his campaign promise to end the "political civil war" that he said Walker created. The mayor also stressed the concern he says voters are feeling over the John Doe investigation.

"There is something fundamentally wrong when you’ve got the only governor in this country who has a legal defense fund," said Barrett. "He refuses to say who's paying his criminal defense lawyers. He refuses to release emails that would either vindicate him or show his involvement in this secret illegal computer network that was operating 25 feet from his office."

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl joined Barrett at a few campaign stops on Sunday.

Barrett is scheduled to be in Portage Monday afternoon while Walker will be back in Fitchburg Monday morning.

Earlier this weekend, Walker began Saturday by handing out yogurt and applesauce at the annual Rock County Dairy Breakfast on a farm just outside Evansville. Some people shook his hand and thanked him for the job he's done, but many simply thanked him as he put yogurt on their plates and moved on.

Walker also stopped at the Monroe County Dairy Breakfast in Norwalk Saturday morning.

The governor said while he stands by his policies concerning collective bargaining for public workers. He said he believes now he may have enacted those polices in the wrong manner.

"I talked about the abuses of collective bargaining through overtime, in places like Madison where a bus driver made $150,000," said Walker. "I think most people would have said, 'Fix it.' My challenge was I was so eager to fix it, I fixed it and then talked about it. Most politicians talk about it but never fix it. In the future, we are going to do both."

Barrett, meanwhile, mainly campaigned in the northern part of the state on Saturday.

The Milwaukee mayor stopped in Superior to rally supporters, telling the crowd they must get Walker out of office to save millions of dollars in interest from the governor's budget maneuvers.

"The fiscal bureau said that actually the state was in a deficit situation, so what Gov. Walker did, he said, 'Well, let's borrow some money.' And so he took some debt that was going to come through this year. He refinanced it, and put it on the credit card for future generations."

With both Democrats and Republicans seeing an increase in volunteers, workers for both candidates feel their campaign is doing the best job of rallying their supporters.

Virtually around the clock Walker volunteers are filling victory centers like one in Fitchburg to rally support for the current governor.

"This makes all the difference, making the calls and getting it out there, getting the information and the facts out there makes a huge difference," said Walker volunteer Ashley Kavalauskas.

Kavalauskas spends most of her nights at the center making phone calls.

The chairman of the Republican party of Dane County said they're concentrating their efforts at phone banks and making sure voters have a ride to the polls.

He also said they're seeing an increase in people wanting to volunteer during the final days of the campaign.

"I think it's a very good sign and people are very passionate about what's going on," said Mike Herl. "They're rooting for Governor Walker and Lieutenant Governor Kleefish. They want fiscal responsibility, and I think that's what this shows."

Meanwhile, over at the Labor Temple in Madison, volunteers with We are Wisconsin are rallying support for Tom Barrett.

Allie Petonic said she's made hundreds of calls over the last few days.

"It's not the fancy commercials that candidates buy, it's people talking to other people and I know it's mattering right now," said Petonic.

The executive director of We are Wisconsin said they're concentrating their efforts on knocking on doors and talking to voters face to face.

"Over 257,000 today alone on our way to 1.4 million," said Kristen Crowell. "Those face to face contacts are the critical piece in making sure people are mobilized, energized, and voting on Tuesday."

Volunteers on both sides said they are in it for the long haul and plan to continue their get out the vote efforts through Tuesday.

"Our opportunity to make sure that our agenda matters is right now," said Petonic. "It's the next four days, so we really owe it to ourselves to use this time to take back our government and make it work for ordinary families across our state."

"Everyone that's a part of this and volunteering and making a big difference and we're going to be able to say that we helped Scott Walker in his recall election and we helped move Wisconsin forward by keeping him in office," said Kavalauskas.