The Big Story Blog

Will Walker's victory alter U.S. political landscape?

Posted at 9:15 AM on June 6, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics

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Gov. Scott Walker's convincing win in Tuesday night's Wisconsin recall vote is triggering a bunch of questions this morning on what larger meaning it might have for the nation's politics. The biggest question: Will Wisconsin shift away from President Obama in the fall?

The Washington Post writes that the state is very much in play.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker provided a template for Republicans looking ahead to the presidential race with his victory in Tuesday's recall election: big money, powerful organization and enormous enthusiasm among his base. Can Mitt Romney match that in November?

Both sides will examine the results for clues as to whether Wisconsin, which hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984 but has been fiercely competitive in two of the last three elections, will again become a true battleground. If it does become as competitive as it was in 2000 and 2004, the electoral map will become far more challenging for President Obama.
Despite Walker's big win, it's not at all clear that the landscape is shifting in Wisconsin. In a lesser known political fight Tuesday night, Democrats were claiming they'd won a fight for control of the state Senate. Walker far outspent Democrat Tom Barrett in the gubernatorial election. But Walker also recognized early that he needed to win.

"Say what you will about his policies but Walker is a damn good campaigner and, from the moment he knew a recall election was likely, he did everything he could to ensure he came out on top," Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza writes.

"From fundraising to moderating his image in the wake of the collective bargaining war, Walker understood from very early on the threat that the recall posed to him."


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.