Walker, Barett to square off in first of two debates before recall election

Nickalas Tabbert

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will meet Friday night for the first of two scheduled debates before the June 5 recall election.

Friday’s debate will take place at 8 p.m. in Milwaukee and is being broadcast live statewide, The Associated Press said.  The second debate, which will also be held in Milwaukee, will take place next Thursday.

Barrett, who won the Democratic primary earlier this month, had asked for four debates to take place, the Wisconsin State Journal said.

Both candidates know each other, having faced off once before 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 debates, which has attracted national attention given the high profile fight over union rights that triggered the recall effort, the AP said.

On Thursday, both sides revealed examples of national support, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Walker has been a great leader for Wisconsin and  America.

“Scott has done more in the last year, year and a half than many people do in their entire career in office,” Jindal said.

Barrett announced the endorsement of the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents more than 240,000 officers.

“Scott Walker’s divisive tactics and his drastic cuts to public safety funding will make Wisconsin’s communities and the officers that police them less safe,” said Thomas Nee, president of the national police union.  “Tom Barrett will bring people together to ensure that Wisconsin stays a safe place in which to live, work and raise family.”

Other outside groups have also increased their support for Barrett by $1.5 million, the Sentinel said.  Walker and allies have outspent Barrett and Democratic groups over the course of the recall effort but the gap has narrowed in recent days.