Democrats seeking a chance to face Governor Scott Walker in the recall met up Friday night in a debate on Wisconsin Public Television, the only debate that will take place before next Tuesday’s primary. The four candidates spent much of the hour-long debate making the case for why they are best suited to defeat Governor Walker.
Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk says she has spent the past year building the support needed to take on Walker, as she worked side-by-side with those who worked to collect the nearly one million petition signatures that were turned in to recall the governor. Falk has won the endorsement of most major state unions, largely because of her promise to veto the state budget unless it repeals a law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public employees.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett argued he can bring an end to the state’s political division, stopping the “ideological civil war” that has torn across the state over the last 16 months. Barrett says he wants to restore trust to the governor’s office and heal the wounds that have divided the state.
State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) says she can appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle, noting that she has won reelection in a district that quite often leans Republican. To move forward, Vinehout says, the state must work together in all areas as “one community.”
Secretary of State Doug La Follette believes he’s the least controversial candidate running, which makes him the most electable. La Follette says he has always been bipartisan and has consistently been able to attract votes from Republicans and Independents.
Voters will decide the nominee in a primary this coming Tuesday. The winner will go on to face Governor Walker in the June 5th recall.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:15)