The Milwaukee Mayor will face Gov. Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election. The AP projected that Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary when he had an almost 20-point lead with about 31 percent of the precincts reporting.
Walker became a national figure after he backed and signed legislation that severely limited the collective bargaining rights of public workers. The bill was passed amid major protests and despite the fact that Democratic lawmakers fled the state to try to block the bill. Walker became a hero to Republicans and public enemy number one for the nationwide labor movement. Walker's opponents collected 900,000 signatures and triggered a recall election before Walker made it halfway through his four-year term.
With less than a month to go before election day, the campaign begins in earnest, right now. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports it will be a brutal ride during a campaign that could prove to be one of the state's most important.
The paper adds:
"In a campaign that is a do-over of the November 2010 election, Barrett faces an obvious challenge — Walker beat him by nearly 6 percentage points in November 2010.
"This time, Walker has used the state's recall law to raise unlimited donations as large as $500,000 from single donors and still had $4.9 million in the bank as of April 23. Barrett, by contrast, had to stick to the usual limits and raised $831,500 through that date and had $475,500 on hand heading into the general election.
"Unprecedented fundraising by Walker and heavy spending by independent groups backed by corporations and unions have already pushed the total amounts spent and raised to an estimated $42 million. That already tops the estimated $37.4 million spent by candidates and independent groups in the 2010 governor's race."
Recent polls show that Barrett and Walker are in a tight race.
Walker, by the way, also defeated his token opposition.
Update at 10:42 p.m. ET. Battle For Values Of Wisconsin:
Barrett told the AP that the "real battle is ahead."
"... It's really going to be a battle for the values of Wisconsin. Our view is Scott Walker has done a lot of damage to the state and Wisconsin can't be fixed as long as Scott Walker is governor," Barrett said.