Walker the Wisconsin winner

After spending millions of dollars in coerced dues and other funds, Big Labor got a slap in the face today as both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch handily won their recall elections. And even if they flip Wisconsin Senate seats off the 16-16 tie that currently exists (a seventeenth Republican resigned her seat rather than face recall) the Wisconsin legislature will not meet before the November elections.

As I write this, it appears that Walker will beat his 52-47 margin over Democrat Tom Barrett – the lead seems to be fluctuating between 15 and 17 points this time around, with over half the vote in.

It’s interesting to note that Barack Obama didn’t stop and attempt to save Barrett in the waning days of the campaign despite being in both Minnesota and Chicago in recent days. Once the DNC pulled the plug it seemed like the tale was told. It’s also amazing how the polls were so far off – the RCP average had Walker up, but only by 6.7 points. Individual polls had it from 3 to 12 points, so obviously someone was asking the wrong people.

There’s no question the White House and media (but I repeat myself) will spin this as a local result, not indicative of the national mood. They can afford to throw Big Labor under the bus because what are unions going to do – suddenly do an about-face and vote for Romney? No, like an abused spouse the unions will return to the Democrats.

But this also reverses the victory Big Labor got last November after spending millions in Ohio to defeat Senate Bill 5, a sweeping reform package passed by Ohio Republicans and backed by Governor John Kasich. After mobilizing thousands in Ohio and Wisconsin to protest – and forcing a number of recall elections in Wisconsin – it looked like Big Labor was ready to flex its muscles. Sorry, not gonna happen.

Of course, there’s also another person to blame this on. You may not recall this, but in the first leg of his national tour Martin O’Malley campaigned for Tom Barrett in Wisconsin last Tuesday. Perhaps Badger State voters took stock of the guitar-playing guv whose state has endured 24 different tax increases in 5 years and was the leading job loser in the country for April and said “whoever this guy is supporting, we’re against!”

So now we will slog on to November, with the conventions providing a little bit of interest in the interim. That’s assuming, though, that we don’t have a rebirth of the Occupy movement, Europe’s economic collapse happens in slow enough motion to not become a crisis, and the world keeps their usual noise to a dull roar. If anything, we’ll go into a holding pattern now that there’s less than six months left to the election because shrewd businesses are already making their 2013 plans with contingencies for both a Romney win (wild expansion) and an Obama win (closing up shop) and local governments are finalizing their budgets as well.

Unfortunately, the spectacle of Walker’s recall has established enough of a distraction for worried governors that time is now against reform. With just scant months before election, no one is going to try anything radical through the legislative process and show leadership like Scott Walker did. If nothing else, Big Labor can go and say they may have lost the battle but they won the war.

As I wrap this up, the margin is now down to about 10-11 points with roughly 80% in. So it’s now coming close to the outlier poll and may end up inside 10 points when all is said and done. Still, a win is a win. And now I won’t get a dozen or more e-mails a day constantly updating the scene and badgering me for money!

Now we here can concentrate on local races and see what further damage we can do the the Democratic machine here in Maryland. They’re already pissed off about our petitions, so let’s give them more reasons to be upset.

The sprint to the finish

Standing as we are eight weeks out from the primary, if you were to consider the primary campaign calendar analogous to the general election calendar, we are at Labor Day. In the fall campaign, Labor Day is considered the point where people begin to pay attention to the election and start to make their final decision.

Because this is a Presidential election year, Republicans and Democrats in most of Maryland will only have a few choices to make when primary voting arrives in late March. (Some will also have local races to consider.) In seven out of eight districts for both parties voters will have a choice for Congress, while all Maryland voters who participate in the primary will select their party’s standardbearer for the U.S. Senate seat. Only Republicans will have a choice for President as no one stepped forth to challenge Barack Obama on the primary ballot. There is also only one Republican running in the First Congressional District – incumbent Andy Harris – while Dutch Ruppersberger enjoys a similar free ride in his Second District Democratic primary. Convention delegates are also at stake for both parties in each Congressional district.

Now that the stage is set, it’s very likely that only two or three GOP presidential candidates will be left standing by the time the race reaches Maryland on April 3. The good news is that Maryland and the District of Columbia may be pretty much the only game in town that day. Wisconsin voters will be much more mindful of the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker and, depending on whether the Texas legislative districts go to court or not, their scheduled April 3 primary is likely to be pushed back.

Continue reading “The sprint to the finish”

Engage the purple shirts (and release the hounds!)

In the wake of the Madison showdown, the Service Employees International Union (affectionately known about these parts as the purple shirts) is holding a number of local rallies to show their support. I don’t think they have the cajones to show up in Salisbury, so they’ll be in friendlier Maryland territory – Annapolis.

The details are as follows (h/t to Ann Corcoran and Potomac TEA Party Report):

Time: 12:00 PM (Tuesday, February 22)
Location: Lawyers’ Mall, Maryland State House
Address: 100 State Circle – Annapolis, MD. 21401

What a way to sully George Washington’s birthday – a real group of freedom fighters would be on Governor Scott Walker’s side, not backing Wisconsin’s ‘cut-and-run’ Democrats. But we know how the SEIU rolls, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see a few of their toadies in the General Assembly sneak out and show their support. (It would be even cooler for GOP members to mount a counterprotest – like these union thugs would vote for Republicans anyway. Our job is playing to the real people of Maryland who believe unions should be kept in check and do what they are supposed to do – organize workers, not play political games.)

As of this moment, the SEIU website shows 26 rallies in 22 states – mainly those where union presence is heaviest. A notable omission from the list is Virginia. Delaware isn’t on the list yet, either; then again, Annapolis isn’t all that far for them.

This would be a great opportunity for those TEA Party activists (well, the ones who aren’t trying to make a living like yours truly) to bring your cameras and verify that these purple shirts act with decorum and respect for opposing views. Yeah, like that will happen – the 1-2″ of snow predicted for Tuesday morning will arrive too soon to cover the mess they’re sure to leave given the track record of lefty protests. It also may give the Anne Arundel County schoolteachers some cover if school is cancelled due to the wintry conditions. (Saves them from calling in ‘sick.’)

In the meantime, I stand with Governor Scott Walker. Maybe we’ll find one of those cut-and-run Democrats hiding in Annapolis at the rally – if so, make sure he or she is returned to Madison, Wisconsin.