MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett are scheduled to meet on Friday for the first of two live debates in advance of the June 5 recall election.
The debate in Milwaukee is being broadcast live statewide at 8 p.m. Friday and sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.
Walker and Barrett will meet for a second and final debate on Thursday night, also in Milwaukee.
Both candidates are familiar with one another, having run against each other in 2010. Walker's time as Milwaukee County executive also overlapped with Barrett's time as mayor from 2004 until 2010.
Recent polls have shown Walker with a narrow lead heading into the election, which has attracted national attention given the high profile fight over union rights that triggered the recall effort.
Political experts said they expect the candidates to cover some of the same issues they did back in the 2010 race, especially when it comes to jobs, the economy and the state taxes and spending in Milwaukee. The candidates will also likely bring up the ongoing John Doe investigation, the political divisions in the state and crime issues, WISC-TV reported. All of these subjects have been discussed in recent ads.
Marquette University Law School professor Charles Franklin said that the debates can reframe the race.
"I think the part of the debate is not to think of it so much like a football game with a winner or a loser, but think of it as a chance to hear these two candidates speak for themselves, facing one another, responding to questions," he said. "You get a little sense of the candidate in that light that maybe you don't get in highly produced commercials."
With 3 to 4 percent of people undecided, the debate still has the potential to sway voters. Franklin said it may be more important to solidifying opinions or even turning out the vote.
Editor's Note: The debate will be livestreamed on Channel 3000 at 8 p.m.
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