A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada SPECIAL REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY EDITION
Battle in the Badger State!
Some political pundits are calling the Tuesday recall election of Governor Scott Walker the "second most important election" in the U.S. this year. (Editor's note: the first, obviously being November's presidential election.)
For the second time in a year and a half, Walker beat back a challenge by the Democrat Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett who was fueled and financed by labor unions and party supporters. These groups worked to get more than 900,000 signatures on a petition to ouster Walker which led to the historic recall election. Walker is the only governor to survive a recall challenge and it was only the third gubernatorial recall in U.S. history.
Outside groups (and their money – lots of it!) swarmed into the state in the days leading up to the election supporting both the incumbent and his challenger. Heavyweights like former President Bill Clinton stumped for Barrett while Walker enjoyed the support of some high-powered colleagues including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
The Wall Street Journal reported that with 99 percent of the vote counted, Walker re-earned the confidence of Wisconsinites, besting Barrett 53-46.
Press, pundits, and pols are all weighing-in on what the Wisconsin battle portends for presidential politics. It could mean a lot. Governor Walker won the recall vote by a bigger margin and with more votes than he did in 2010. This clearly shows that the conservative base is every bit as energized as it was two years ago, even in a true blue state. Republicans are putting out the word that they believe other reliably Democratic states in the nation's Rust Belt are now in play for the GOP. There is, however, a major caveat to all of this – namely that exit polls show President Obama still enjoying wide support in Wisconsin and a comfortable lead over Mitt Romney.
Walker's win also dealt a big blow to organized labor with pundits predicting other GOP governors will now follow Walker's lead and pursue similar right-to-work legislation. If other states adopt Wisconsin's example and bar contracts requiring private-sector firm workers to be union members and pay dues, this could significantly reduce public-employee membership in those states as it has in Wisconsin. Republicans see this as a clear political advantage as big labor contributes big pots of money mostly to Democrats.
The battle in the Badger State may also signify that Americans are taking very seriously the downturn in the U.S. economy and support fiscal responsibility and cuts, even when they hurt. Walker is credited with balancing the state budget, reducing unemployment, and creating jobs in his state.
But as faithful Carolina-Canada Connection readers well know, the November election is still some six months away. (Editor's note: That means a trillion lifetimes in the world of politics. And that means anything can happen, and you can bet it probably will.) Count on us to keep you posted.
Romney Rolls On
Meanwhile, while all eyes that watch these sorts of events were tuned on Wisconsin, Mitt Romney rolled on, easily winning five GOP presidential primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota this week.
Weekly Washington Wrap
While Romney continues his campaign to get to Washington, D.C., those already there on Capitol Hill continue their work.
The House is slogging through debate on the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations measures despite a White House veto threat over all the spending bills because of the cost-cutting measures crafted by the GOP-led House. Yesterday, the House passed a $32 billion Energy & Water appropriations measure, funding the Department of Interior, Department of Energy, and water projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. The White House stuck by its veto threat, even though the bill dedicated $87.5 million above current spending levels. After debating past midnight last night, the House continues its work today on funding the Department of Homeland Security.
The Senate begins debate today on a farm bill that reflects the need for austerity, even when addressing one of the most heavily subsidized areas in the United States. The measure would cost $969 billion over the next decade, but would cut $23.6 billion over the same period. The House Agriculture Committee has not started drafting its version of the bill, preferring to see what the Senate can pass and then crafting the House version.
Time in Toronto
Our frequent flyer and former diplomat David Wilkins touched down in Toronto earlier this week. Monday night he enjoyed dinner with Porter Airline's big boss and our good friend Bob Deluce and fellow members of the Porter Air Board. A meeting of the board was held the next day.
They Said What?
"Tonight’s results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Governor Walker has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back – and prevail – against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses," – presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a statement issued Tuesday evening.
"Certainly it is not the end and it's going to be an opportunity for the progressive movement to regroup nationally and understand exactly what they are up against," - MSNBC liberal talk show host Ed Schultz in a teary-eyed report following the recall results.
"Less than four years after Obama won Wisconsin, Democrats lost in an election of their own making. That's because the GOP excelled at our ground game, now giving us a significant advantage for the presidential race," - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
"Republicans know that they can't win this election on the merits…And now we've had 27 straight months of job growth in the private sector, a resurgence in the manufacturing sector and they, they know that this is thanks to [Obama's] policies," – Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla) on MSNBC.
"Bill Clinton was taken to the Cory Booker (Newark, New Jersey mayor) Memorial Woodshed for endorsing Romney last week. You've got to wonder, what is in this woodshed to get so many people to change their tunes so quickly? It's gotta be a pretty big woodshed," - Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh alleging the Obama campaign is chastising its fellow Democrats for appearing sympathetic to Mitt Romney.
Hard to believe that four years have passed since Ambassador David Wilkins dashed out of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and caught a flight home to welcome his brand new (and first!) grandchildren. Clary and Whit Wilkins made their proud debut into the world on June 4, 2008 (props to mom Stephanie and dad Robert Wilkins), and as far as David and Susan Wilkins are concerned, it's been sunshine ever since!
Clary and Whit Wilkins hit the fabulous fours!
This Saturday, some 30 four-year-olds will be celebrating at the Wilkinses Greenville, South Carolina home. (Editor's note: Our sources tell us granddaddy "Big Dave" is using this opportunity to scout out early talent for his beloved football team, the Clemson Tigers – circa year 2027 or so). We are pretty sure this is against ACC-league rules. But we won't tell.)
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.