MADISON, Wis. - Democratic supporters marched to the Capitol building Wednesday night to show their solidarity in support of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the recall election against Gov. Scott Walker.
In 2002, when Democrats had to choose between Barrett, Kathleen Falk and Jim Doyle in a hotly contested primary, they cast 550,000 ballots. In Tuesday's primary, Democrats cast about 670,000 votes total.
Even if some weren't overjoyed with Tuesday's results, they are preparing to do all they can to unseat Walker in a recall election on June 5.
"(Falk) lost; we got beat. Tom Barrett won. We go to work for Tom Barrett today," said Donald Lowe, a recall supporter.
With their candidate chosen, Walker's opponents begin a march forward, and nobody at the rally was forgetting how much work there is to be done.
"We'll be every place, and people who have never had their door knocked before are going to get their door knocked," said Paulette Feld, president of AFSCME Council 24.
Marquette University law professor Charles Franklin said the race between Barrett and Walker is a dead heat and likely depends less on convincing campaigns or TV ads than who shows up on Election Day.
"Both sides were very energized, and in last summer's recalls, you saw big upsurges in votes for both parties," Franklin said. "I think the chances are very good that we pass the turnout we saw in November of 2010 -- not 2.1 (million), but 2.3 (million) or 2.4 million turnout."
With signs printed and ready for a Barrett ticket, Walker is swinging back.
"I think it's going to be hard for the mayor to defend his policies, which have moved Milwaukee backwards," Walker said.
The more than 900,000 who signed recall petitions are unlikely to agree with Walker's claim, but only about 670,000 cast ballots in Tuesday's primary.
Feld said she believes Democrats will have no trouble doubling their number in June.
"I think what was happening was a lot of people really didn't have a preference for any of the candidates that were running against Walker. They were fine with anybody, so they didn't come out and vote yesterday," Feld said.
The latest Marquette University Law School poll puts Barrett and Walker within one percentage point of each other. In one question, Walker was favored; in another, Barrett.
As for Walker's huge money advantage, Franklin said ad spending at those levels can fall victim to the law of diminishing returns, where the first $5 million does a lot more to buy political capital than the subsequent $15 million.
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