NEWS BLOG (WSAU) There’s another dynamic in the Wisconsin governors race that should be talked about.
If you don’t believe Tom Barrett is the instant-frontrunner, consider this. He will likely get his party’s nomination without a primary. Democrats will immediately be unified around one candidate. Time and time again in politics, the candidate who doesn’t have to go through a knock-down drag-out primary defeats a candidate who does in the general election.
Republicans will be divided. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will likely face a primary – an expensive and divisive proposition. Mark Neumann, a former congressman and LaCrosse businessman, is also in the race.
The circumstances surrounding Neumann’s presence in the race are curious. He was recruited to run by former Governor Tommy Thompson and other top GOP operatives. Neumann has enough critical mass within the Republican Party to force a primary, but it’s doubtful he has the state-wide name recognition to win. It’s a surprising act of disloyalty to Walker, who dropped out of the race four years ago to avoid a primary against Mark Green.
For Republicans not to unite behind him raises two questions. What doesn’t the Republican establishment like about Scott Walker? And are they willing to give the governors office to Tom Barrett because of it?
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau