A newly released poll by Rasmussen Reports shows the Wisconsin Governor’s race to be a dead heat. Incumbent Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke are tied at 45 percent each. The survey of 500 likely Wisconsin voters may raise some eyebrows as Scott Walker, who won in 2010 and beat back a recall effort in 2012 has been considered my most pundits to be a favorite to win re-election.
Burke, the former executive for the Trek Bicycle corporation has proven to a more formidable opponent than expected. Many prominent Wisconsin Democrats passed on running against Walker because he was viewed as being too strong to defeat. Burke, however, stepped into the void and she now has Scott Walker on the ropes.
Governor Walker has been mildly damaged by an ethical cloud surrounding his office and by emails released demonstrating that his staffers, when he was Milwaukee County executive, were mean-spirited and bigoted. Nevertheless, Walker has weathered the storm around him better than either New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or disgraced former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell have handled their respective scandals. Unlike Chris Christie, Scott Walker still seems to have his presidential hopes intact for 2016. However, if Mary Burke can pull off the political upset and bring Walker down in 2014, that would seriously damage his future prospects for pursuing a higher office.
Wisconsin voters may have grown tired of Walker’s policies which attack so many different constituencies. His ambitious efforts to curtail reproductive rights, suppress voting rights, and dismantle labor unions may be his undoing. Walker may have survived the 2012 recall election, but right now he is on the ropes in 2014. Rasmussen polls traditionally have been slightly friendlier to Republicans than the actual election day results that they are measured against. For this reason, Mary Burke has the momentum going forward. The race is tied at 45, and hopefully for Governor Walker, it goes downhill from here.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.