National Democrats appear less engaged in the battle on behalf of Mr. Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee, who in early May won the right to take on Walker in the recall. Barrett ran against Walker for the governorship in 2010, losing 46.5 percent to 52.3 percent.
At time of writing, Obama had yet to comment on the race, and the Wisconsin Democratic Party has asked for – but not received – $500,000 from the Democratic National Committee to help with field operations. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, however, sent a fundraising e-mail Wednesday to millions of party supporters seeking solicitations on Barrett's behalf.
"We will go ahead with what we have," says Phil Walzak, communications director for the Barrett campaign, adding that "the campaign welcomes the investment" of the national party. To date, Barrett's greatest support is from labor unions, which have the most to lose if recall voters endorse Walker's agenda June 5, says Brooking's Mr. Galston.
A Walker win is looking more likely. The governor has pulled ahead 50 percent to 44 percent, according to a poll of likely voters released May 16 by Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee.
To many Wisconsin voters, the election can't end soon enough. The war between the unions and Walker has lasted a year – beginning with the showdown at the State Capitol in Madison over the budget – and a certain amount of fatigue has set in. People are bombarded by media ads and direct mail, and some are tired of thinking and hearing about it.