Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will soon make public his decision on whether to join a field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Gov. Scott Walker in a potential recall election.
Patrick Guarasci, campaign adviser for Tom Barrett for Milwaukee, said an announcement would likely come before the end of March, as the Government Accountability Board will decide whether to certify the recall elections for the governor March 30. He said announcing the decision after March 30 would be unlikely.
“Barrett will communicate his decision to voters on whether to run for governor before the upcoming mayoral elections,” Guarasci said.
Milwaukee voters will go to the polls on April 3.
Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin life science communications professor and an expert in public opinion, said Barrett would be a strong candidate for the election because he has a high profile and could carry many important constituencies throughout the state.
He compared Barrett to Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who many people expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination. He said Christie has a similar history, in that he had a high profile and a number of people asking him to run.
However, he said the main problem that could face Barrett if he decides to run will be time. He said because Barrett has not declared yet, he does not have much time for fundraising.
Scheufele also said Barrett would face obstacles in defining the main issues of his campaign.
He said Walker has already established a concise message focused on balancing the budget and jobs.
“Since the moment people began signing petitions, Walker has been running television ads focusing on his record for the economy,” Scheufele said.
He said Democrats are well behind in advertising and have not yet come forward with a consistent message.
Secretary of State Doug La Follette has registered his candidacy for governor. Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk have also declared their aspirations for the office.
Scheufele said Barrett may have more name recognition than other candidates, which could give him an advantage.
Barrett ran for governor in 2010 against Walker and lost.