Walker campaign says Barrett heading for a loss

Quirk could lead to unusual outcome with governor, lieutenant governor recall

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has easily defeated token opposition in a GOP primary in a recall election that has become a nationally watched battle over union rights.

Preliminary results from Tuesday’s primary show Walker beat protester Arthur Kohl-Riggs with 96 percent of the vote.

Walker said that a choice between him and Democratic candidate Tom Barrett would be a choice between the future and the past.

“Over the last eight years, unemployment has gone up by 28 percent. Do we want to go back to that? Or instead, do we take the reforms that we built together to move Wisconsin forward.  So much so, that the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2008. Where do you say we go?” Walker told the audience at his victory rally.

The general election is June 5. Walker is only the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall election.

Kohl-Riggs ran as a Republican, even though he has protested against Walker and his initiatives for months. Kohl-Riggs said he was running as a progressive Republican in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

Kohl-Riggs had no money and even less name recognition, while Walker is a national conservative hero who is shattering fundraising records as he fights to keep his job.

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Walker will face Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election next month.

Based on preliminary results in Tuesday’s primary, Barrett beat three other Democrats and one Republican running as a Democrat to claim the party’s nomination.

Meanwhile, Walker’s campaign said Barrett is heading for a loss in the June 5 recall election.

The recall election will be a rematch of the 2010 race that Walker won by 5 points. Barrett also previously ran for governor in 2002 and lost in the Democratic primary.

Walker’s deputy campaign manager Dan Blum issued a statement saying Barrett was about to enter his “third statewide losing campaign.”

Blum said “Rather than Tom Barrett’s path of taking Wisconsin back to the days of billion-dollar deficits, double-digit tax increases and record job loss, we are confident that voters will choose to stand with Governor Walker and move Wisconsin forward.”

The Republican Party of Wisconsin jumped the gun on the Democratic primary Tuesday. The Republican Party of Wisconsin emailed a statement 30 minutes before polls closed saying Democrats were still divided after the primary by choosing Barrett.

No election results are known until at least 8 p.m. but the release came at 7:30 p.m.

The email quoted Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks reacting to what the party said were the results of the primary.

Sparks is quoted as saying Barrett’s “failed record in Milwaukee has been a serious concern throughout this contentious primary, and tonight, many Democrats showed they’re still not convinced he’s the right candidate to challenge Governor Walker.”

Sparks said with four weeks until the election, Republicans were wasting no time comparing Walker with Barrett.