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The Wisconsin Unions’ Doomed Primary Pick

Kathleen Falk, the choice of every Big Labor board in Wisconsin, received fewer than half the votes in a Democrats’ straw poll in her home base of Dane County.

It’s hard to overestimate how telling this is: union leaders are sure she’s the best candidate to take on Walker, but even Democrats she knows aren’t sold. (An alternative explanation is that especially Democrats who know her have doubts about her candidacy.)

The big Wisconsin story will be whether Gov. Walker is recalled, but there will be another, close behind: how ordinary Democrats chose to reject a heavily-endorsed union candidate in favor of someone else to face Walker.

The talk outside the state is that the recall is a battle against overreaching unions. The truth inside the state is that union endorsements aren’t enough to assure a candidate’s victory, even in the May 8th recall primary.

This must look to Democratic rival, and Milwaukee mayor, Tom Barrett as tailor-made: it’s as though Falk were a foil to give Barrett someone to beat in a primary to convince voters he’s independent of union machinations.

That doesn’t mean Barrett will win in June, it simply means he’ll win in May, and thereby receive the right to campaign to June. Big institutional support not required…

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