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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Governor Scott Walker were on the campaign trail in Western Wisconsin Wednesday. Their messages haven't changed much, but the attacks on each other are ramping up.
Barrett made a handful of stops from Hudson to Black River Falls where he rallied supporters to get themselves, their friends and neighbors mobilized for the June 5th recall elections. Barrett repeated criticism of Governor Walker for releasing survey results early, that say Wisconsin added more than 30,000 jobs since Walker took office. Those numbers are in stark contrast to monthly jobs estimates, which suggest Wisconsin had the worst job losses in the country. Barrett says people should be wary of the new data.
“So, an embattled governor, 20 days before the election, trots out a different set of numbers, has a commercial running within four hours of those numbers coming out to claim that the numbers that the federal government has used for decades are wrong,”...

The two candidates for north central Wisconsin's 29th State Senate seat met Wednesday night in their only face-to-face public debate before the June 5th recall election.
The 29th Senate race pits two long serving lawmakers against each other. Republican Jerry Petrowski who has represented the 86th Assembly District since 1998, and Democrat Donna Seidel, who has represented the Wausau based 85th District since 2004. Sparks flew when the candidates were asked about Tom Barrett's assertion that Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state.
"I don't believe that there is a plan to do that, and I would vote no," he said. "And I don't believe that there is support to do it. We are partnering with a lot of unions in this state that are really working very hard to make sure that this state is the best that it can be."
"This is really hard for me to digest that we're partnering with unions?"...

President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 6 percentage points in a poll of Wisconsin voters conducted by St. Norbert College and Wisconsin Public Radio.
A poll of more than 400 likely voters this past week indicates if the November presidential election were held now 49-percent of Wisconsin voters would back Barack Obama while 43-percent would favor Mitt Romney. The margin of error is five percentage points. Wendy Scattergood conducts the WPR/St. Norbert College poll. She says the economy and jobs was considered the most important issue in the presidential race by 57 percent of those polled.
"Most people were just saying we need to fix the economy or we need to create jobs," she said. "There were a number of people who talked about getting jobs back from overseas or keeping them from going overseas. "
The second-highest concern of those polled was the budget and deficit. Also, half the respondents think the country is going in...

A new poll of likely recall election voters finds Governor Scott Walker with a slim lead over Tom Barrett.
The poll by St. Norbert College and WPR questioned 406 likely voters in the last week. It found 50-percent favor Republican Governor Scott Walker, and 45-percent support Democrat Tom Barrett. That's within the poll's five percentage point margin of error. The poll is conducted by Wendy Scattergood, an assistant professor at the college. She says half of those polled who said they planned to vote for Walker cited economic reasons.
"What they thought his greatest success has been is controlling the budget and the deficit," she says. "And then collective bargaining came in at number two. Over 50-percent told us controlling the deficit was the number one issue."
Forty-seven percent of poll respondents who said they would vote for Barrett indicated the governor's character is why Walker should be removed from office. Likewise, character was listed by 72...

A new poll of likely recall election voters finds Governor Scott Walker with a slim lead over Tom Barrett.
The poll by St. Norbert's College and WPR questioned 406 likely voters in the last week. It found 50-percent favor Republican Governor Scott Walker, and 45-percent support Democrat Tom Barrett. That's within the poll's five percentage point margin of error. The poll is conducted by Wendy Scattergood, an assistant professor at the college. She says half of those polled who said they planned to vote for Walker cited economic reasons.
"What they thought his greatest success has been is controlling the budget and the deficit," she says. "And then collective bargaining came in at number two. Over 50-percent told us controlling the deficit was the number one issue."
Forty-seven percent of poll respondents who said they would vote for Barrett indicated the governor's character is why Walker should be removed from office. Likewise, character was listed by 72...

Former U-S Senator Russ Feingold says Democrat Tom Barrett will defeat Republican Governor Scott Walker if all the people who felt strongly about the recall come out and vote.
Feingold was stumping for Barrett Tuesday--first in Milwaukee, then later in Middleton where the former Senator cast his absentee ballot.
"Well it's great to be in my hometown here on a beautiful day to get to do something I've been wanting to do for a very long time," he says. "To vote Governor Scott Walker out of the governorship and for Tom Barrett, the next governor of the state of Wisconsin."
Speaking to reporters afterward, Feingold downplayed the lack of financial help coming in from the national Democratic party.
"This is about Wisconsin," he says. "This is about what's been done to our state. We, of course, don't mind if people come in from the outside who have viewpoints, but mostly it's Wisconsinites trying to retake our...

Democrat Tom Barrett says Governor Scott Walker's concerns about Milwaukee could hurt the business community there.
On the night of his primary election win, republican governor walker spoke to supporters in Waukesha. Walker blasted Milwaukee, listing ways he says it has suffered under the leadership of Mayor Tom Barrett.
Barrett is also Walker's opponent in the recall race, and Barrett says he takes offense to walker's remarks. Barrett told the Milwaukee Rotary Club that walker may be hurting businesses in the area.
Walker's campaign responds to Barrett by saying Barrett is attacking the governor as a means of avoiding answering questions about the mayor's failures. Walker's team says Barrett has presided over a 28% jump in unemployment and raised taxes and fees on the people of his city by 43%. Barrett says walker had a bad job creation record as Milwaukee County Executive.

A Wisconsin congressman is forming a new group on Capitol Hill called the "Fix Congress Now" caucus. His challenger in this fall's election says the representative himself is part of the problem.
Incumbent Republican Representative Reid Ribble and a bi-partisan group of colleagues announced the first bit of legislation to come from the Fix Congress Now Caucus. Ribble says if senators and representatives don't pass a budget on time, they shouldn't be paid.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says that isn't much incentive since so many national lawmakers are wealthy. The committee says Ribble has a habit of seeking media attention through the formation of such assemblages. But Ribble says a caucus helps get the attention of the public, even though "Fix Congress" only has nine members.
"We might not be able to engage every member here but I'll tell you who can, the American people can engage them and the idea that this is just a...

As the governor’s recall election approaches, Scott Walker and Tom Barrett’s campaigns are reaching out to voters in many ways. That’s happening more frequently through advertisements online.
Political ads on Facebook and other websites have been standard for a handful of election cycles. But now, the Wisconsin governor’s races are appearing in advertisements before YouTube videos or online TV shows.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Executive Director Mike McCabe says online advertising is rapidly growing with each election cycle, partially because of campaign competition.
“That’s driving not only innovation in online political advertising, but it’s also driving the volume,” he says.
Part of the appeal to campaigns is that they can target voters.
UW-Madison mass communication and political science Professor Dhavan Shah says the ads internet users see are based on their web browsing habits.
“If you’re a political reporter, you may be searching for various kind of information," he says. "That leads to a greater...

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett is pressing Governor Scott Walker to release any e-mails related to a secret computer network at the heart of an ongoing John Doe investigation. Walker says it's a sign Barrett's campaign is desperate.
News of the computer network surfaced when the Milwaukee County District Attorney charged Kelly Rindfleish with doing illegal campaign work while an employee in the office of then Milwaukee County Executive Walker. The criminal complaint against Rindfleish said she had either sent or received more than a thousand e-mails with representatives of Walker's campaign. The complaint pointed out that her office was 25 feet from Walker's.
Barrett says Walker should release any other e-mails related to the secret computer network so the public can know whether he was personally involved.
"I believe he needs to release these e-mails to the public because people have a right to know before the election what his involvement--if any--was in this scandal," he...

Absentee voting began Monday for next month's recall election. Some municipal clerks in Wisconsin have extended business hours to accommodate voters.
Those who want to vote early in the June 5th recall election have two weeks to do so. They can cast a ballot in person, or request that one be sent by mail. Shannon Breed is the Election Clerk for the city of Rice Lake. She says there has been a lot more interest on par with presidential races. She says get-out-the-vote efforts are one reason why.
"We've seen three different types of applications that the parties are mailing to residents, and the residents have to sign them and mail them back," she says. "In a typical local election, we wouldn't see a lot of those. I've seen three of those."
The state's top elections chief says absentee or early voting has been on the rise in recent years. Three quarters of those voters come to...

Here and Now

With recall elections only three weeks away, Here and Now reporter Adam Schrager asks citizens around Wisconsin, What's on your mind?

Here and Now

Zac Schultz looks into the debate over changes to collective bargaining in the first segment of a three-part series exploring major issues in the upcoming recall election.

Here and Now

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch sits down with anchor Frederica Freyberg to discuss her campaign against Democratic challenger Mahlon Mitchell in the Lt. Gov. recall election.

Here and Now

Edgewood College Economist Bill Duddleston explains the latest Department of Workforce Development jobs numbers released by Gov. Scott Walker this week.

Here and Now

Frederica Freyberg looks at the Senate District 21 recall election between incumbent Sen. Van Wanggaard and Democratic challenger John Lehman.

Tom Barrett is running a new TV ad that challenges Scott Walker to talk more about the John Doe investigation in Milwaukee.

The new Barrett ad says Gov. Walker is playing tricks with the 2011 jobs numbers Walker released last week. Then the commercial raises questions about the John Doe probe looking into Walker's time as Milwaukee County executive.

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett says Walker owes it to the public to explain why he has a criminal defense fund.

Gov. Walker insists Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm told Walker's lawyers that the governor should not say anything else about the doe investigation.

District Attorney Chisholm won't comment on Walker's words, but Chisholm says the doe investigation isn't over.

For now though, Chisholm also won't say if he's met with Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker says his administration is again talking about the possible taconite mine in Northern Wisconsin. Walker's Democratic challenger in the recall race, Tom Barrett, says inclusive talks are overdue.

Walker told the news media Friday (5/18) morning that he's asked a retired mining equipment company executive to talk to the G-TAC mining company and conservation leaders. Walker says his aim to find a way to get approval for the proposed mine in Iron and Ashland Counties. Democratic challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he would have asked all parties to the table months ago.

Legislation that would have made it easier for the mine to open failed when GOP state Sen. Dale Schultz broke with Walker and other Republicans and backed a compromise package that GOP leaders didn't like.

The Gander Mountain chain's recent decision to not host partisan political events has angered some gun owners in central Wisconsin. The reaction follows the cancelation of two pro-Walker rallies.

The retail chain posted a message on its Facebook page that reads, "Gander Mountain is a tireless supporter of the Second Amendment and has been a longtime partner of the NRA. However, the diversity of Gander Mountain customers prompted us recently to settle on a policy prohibiting hosting events on behalf of political causes or candidates." The policy led the company to cancel two rallies this week supporting Gov. Walker according to National Rifle Association board member F.E. "Buster" Bacchuber of Wausau, "They had canceled because of pushback from some customers that were unhappy with a pro-Walker rally being held at their stores here and in Eau Claire. So, I think it was well-orchestrated in my personal opinion."

Bacchuber says when the word got out, NRA members reacted negatively...

Jobs figures released by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show Wisconsin lost more jobs over the past year than any other state. These numbers come one day after Governor Walker released data showing the state gained jobs.
Governor Walker faced another month of disappointing jobs numbers when a survey of businesses showed Wisconsin lost 62 hundred jobs in April. In the past, Walker has relied on this method of counting jobs but this week his administration released different data . It showed Wisconsin gained 23-thousand jobs over the past year.
"These are numbers we don't get to make up," he says. "They're not estimates they are actual surveys of more than 150-thousand employers in the state they're required by law to provide that to department of workforce development."
Democratic candidate for Governor Tom Barrett points out the state data released by Walker hasn't not yet been reviewed by federal officials, and won't be until after the...

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