Remember Vinehout and La Follette? They're in Tuesday's Primary, Too

Frontrunners Tom Barrett and Kathleen Falk are getting most of the attention, but state Senator Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Follette are also in the running to face Gov. Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election.

State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Follette are both on the ballot for Tuesday's Democratic election primary in the gubernatorial recall race, but don't feel bad if you've never heard of them.

They lack the name recognition and campaign war chest of frontrunners Kathleen Falk and Tom Barrett, and both were in the single digits in the released last week.

Still, each of the two candidates has a plan for the state budget that both say puts the focus on strengthening education and balances the budget.

Patch talked by phone Sunday to both Vinehout and La Follette about their plans for the state budget, the new poll numbers, and why they think their campaigns don't get the attention that Barrett and Falk get.

Where the candidates stand

Vinehout's plan includes solid steps for how she could get the state's financial house in order. When last month, she said she took Gov. Scott Walker's budget last year and rearranged some of the priorities while keeping in mind Walker wanted to pay bills without raising taxes.

"I put education and our veterans back at the top of the list where they belong," Vinehout told a small group of supporters during her visit. "I wouldn't have raised taxes, but I wouldn't have cut taxes, either."

When we spoke to her Sunday, she said she wished more people knew the specifics her plan.

"I've said publicly that there's no substance with Falk and Barrett, that I'm the only candidate for governor to have a real plan," she said.

To pay for education funding, veterans programs, and restoring the Homestead and Earned Income credits, Vinehout's plan calls for:

  • Accepting the increased contributions to health care and pensions from the public union employees as they agreed to do;
  • Funding local government at the previous year's level without an allowance for increased costs;
  • Getting rid of tax cuts on the wealthy; 
  • Scrapping the expansion of charter and voucher schools; and
  • Not adding or expanding programs unless the state can afford them.

La Follette said his plan to balance the budget without Act 10 would have strengthened education funding by not implementing tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations and not lying about the money Wisconsin has on hand.

"Governor Walker said the state was broke, but that was a lie," he said. "There was and is quite a bit of money in the budget."

Add the tax breaks for the state's wealthiest citizens and corporations and cuts to education would have been avoided, La Follette added. Walker's budget was not about protecting education but instead a rush to push through an agenda from ALEC (American Legislative Campaign Council), he said.

"We cut funding to our technical schools when they're such an important resource. We have employers who have thousands of jobs to fill and the schools have waiting lists," he said. "There were no protections for education in Governor Walker's budget. Decimating education like he did is like cutting off your nose to spite your face."

La Follette believes in what he calls the Wisconsin Idea, which is central to the "Power to the People" theme of his campaign. According to his website, he would do the following:

  • Restore the appointment of the Department of Natural Resources secretary to the Natural Resources Board;
  • Restore the appointment of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Board of Veteran’s Affairs;
  • End the politicalization of the state by changing some 38 state job titles back to civil service jobs from appointed positions;
  • Restore duties to the Secretary of State office. Doing so eliminates the Department of Financial Institutions, thereby saving an estimated $87,000 per month.

By the Numbers

According to last week's Marquette poll, Vinehout's and La Follette's approval ratings among all registered voters sit at about 18 percent. By comparison, Barrett's approval rating measures about 38 percent, while Falk comes in at about 28 percent.

Walker's approval and disapproval ratings among registered voters are charted at 48 percent each, according to the poll.

Looking at how Democratic voters polled for the primary candidates, Vinehout and La Follette do better; their approval ratings are 18 and 25 percent, respectively. Their disapproval numbers are lower, too, with about 9 percent for both of them

Barrett and Falk come in at 61 and 48 percent, respectively, for approval and 12 and 18 percent for disapproval among Democratic voters.

Professor Charles Franklin at Marquette University Law School said it's not really a surprise that Vinehout and La Follette do better among Democrats than registered voters in general.

"Both Kathleen Vinehout and Doug La Follette are well known among Democrats and less so with the general electorate," he said when the poll results were released Wednesday.

Vinehout said the poll results reflect the difference in the candidates. She pointed out that both she and La Follette have won every race they've run, and neither of them are running negative campaigns.

"People are sick of money in campaigns and all the negative ads," Vinehout stated. "As a Democrat who wants to beat Governor Walker, I want people sick of all the money. That's what's going to carry us through in the general election because we will be wildly outspent."

La Follette says the poll numbers put him in the best position of all candidates to beat Walker during the June 5 general election for the recall.

"My trouble is winning in May, but clearly the numbers show I am in the best position to win in June," he said.

La Follette also pointed out that with Barrett's and Falk's negativity numbers so high, Walker supporters like the MacIver Institute will have plenty of fodder for negative ads.

"What can they say bad about me, really?" he added. "That I walk to work?"

Where's the Media Coverage?

As for campaigning in the shadow of both Barrett and Falk, Vinehout chalked it up to this being an unconventional election cycle with too many journalists and politicians thinking in conventional ways.

"There has been positive press for our campaign in Wausau and just this weekend in The Capitol Times," she pointed out. "In the last two weeks, I've seen a shift in people as they really start to understand that come Tuesday, they have a choice to make. Once people discover me and my plan, they're strong supporters."

La Follette said he is overlooked because he doesn't have big money backing or big-name endorsements. Still, with the Marquette poll showing a possible 19 percent of the electorate undecided yet, he hopes more people will seek out his website to find out more about his campaign.

"I pledged to only accept donations from individuals, he said. "The media follow the money, and since I don't have that, they don't report much."

Curtis Schwab May 07, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Because Tom and Kathleen don't have a plan, honestly, These two non-recognized people have a better chance than the two top runners. i don't know, but do you really want wisconsin turning into a state like Illinois? Wisconsin is moving in the right direction already, why screw up something that isn't broken.
Tom Barrett May 07, 2012 at 06:57 AM
@Curtis Schwab What's wrong with becoming like Illinois? http://chiefexecutive.net/10-worst-states-for-business-2012-slideshow/8
Little Micheal May 07, 2012 at 07:42 AM
like Sandra replied I'm surprised that anyone can get paid $6423 in a few weeks on the internet. did you look at this web page bit.ly/sd4il4
morninmist May 07, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Walker and his corporate cronies are destroying Wisconsin. john hershberger ‏ @hershinmad (cont) remember how they changed the law so your drinking water doesn't have to be clean. Pay for play? #WiUnion #WiRecall #Recallwalker john hershberger john hershberger ‏ @hershinmad Good Morning #WiUnion #WiRecall #RecallWalker Apparently, scooters DNR tasked with protecting polluters http://tinyurl.com/6ofo4q3 (cont)
R Denis May 07, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Mary May 07, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Barrett and Falk embarraced themselves in the debate The question is in my book Barrett and Falk are totally out of the question so who between the Vinehout and Laffollite would be better for this State than Walker ?
morninmist May 07, 2012 at 02:47 PM
yES. I do believe the writing is on the wall. Saving a few bucks on property taxes is NOT worth destroying our schools. @Progress2day Austerity backlash: Sarkozy out in France, ruling parties lose in Greece http://bit.ly/IQTN4e COMING TO WI JUNE 5 #WIUNION
skinnyDUDE May 07, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Ultimately its about votes and who gets them . I project taxing Tom Barret wins for Dems on Tuesday . But with his terrible record as Mayor its amazing anyone would mark the box for him . On theother hand , Falk is even more Liberal and it's almost impossible to see even the democratic voters drink that much kool aide and vote for her in majority. The others are non factors as they just don't have the votes or unions behind them . Barret is irresponsible , but compared to Falk he is the lesser of 2 evils in a weak field . Union buying late for Falk is more about saving face than getting her elected. You heard it here 1st. The picture is clear. In the end. Walker beats any of these weak Contenders. Hence , the state can continue to move forward .:)
morninmist May 07, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Barrett is steaming ahead while Walker is losing steam. You KNOW that skinnyDude!! John Nichols ‏ @NicholsUprising From 1/1 to 4/25: Walker backers spent $9M on #wirecall TV ads. Explicitly anti-Walker groups spent $426,370 - 20/1 ratio. @edshow @WeGotEd
Bob McBride May 07, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Heather if you don't believe me, look no further than the post above this one. See any interest in a "plan" there? That's your prototypical recall supporter expressing their concern about anything beyond Walker being driven out of office.
Greg May 07, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Yep, Vote Walker. He's in Tuesday's Primary, Too
Greg May 07, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Whatever happens 2014 is just around the corner. :)
Tom Barrett May 07, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Party pooper alert. Is this bad? http://wisupnorth.com/2012/05/wisconsin-democrats-cancel-post-primary-party-some-not-happy/
Bren May 07, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Any of these candidates would do a better job than Scott Walker because they would be working for Wisconsin, not ALEC. Personally I believe the Wisconsin GOP would have been well served to take a sort-of parliamentary view toward Scott Walker. Have a Republican primary with a traditional conservative candidate (not a radical Tea/ALEC extremist). They would win back a lot of points from bewildered moderate Republicans and traditional conservatives.
Greg May 07, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I agree, Walker is way too far left for me. We need someone that will take charge and kick butt in Wisconsin.
Bren May 07, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Budgeting isn't rocket science. If cuts need to be made they need to be strategic so that the business isn't impacted (product quality maintained, workers, shareholders on board, etc.). Walker budgets aren't strategic, they're bombs. Not a way to maintain confidence in a business or service agency (which model government more closely resembles as it serves the people). Not to mention the fact that we still have a projected GAAP deficit and cash shortfall. Guess the bomb missed the target.
Bren May 07, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Greg May 07, 2012 at 09:05 PM
"Tom Barrett does not want to be seen in the company of union leaders and union members" It has only just begun....
skinnyDUDE May 07, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Barret is a steaming cow pie. He is one of the worst mayors in the NATION. His record of failure in Milwaukee is painfully clear. Walker agenda polls very well. Majority are for the collective bargaining haircut, Voter Id , Conceal carry, Lower taxes and pro business agenda. All this with a balance budget he had to clean up from the democrats and clueless Jim Doyle . I suppose you recall Doyle promising not to raise taxes and than he raided funds, raised fees, loaned from Minnesota and still left a massive shortfall the liberals couldn't fix. The path forward is clear. Your actually hoping people vote for those standard Democratic failures again! LOL I dont think so . Barrett canceled a unity forum on Wednesday . He knows he is going to win the primary and he wants to distant himself Falk and the Unions who did all the leg work to give him a repeat. Barrets had 2 runs at Governor before. Both Losers. I see that trend continuing based on his awful Mayoral record. Than he can stay in Milwaukee and play with his CHOO CHOO TRAIN.
red May 07, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Typical lefty drivel. How about a link so we know you aren't just throwing darts at your leftyspeak dartboard?
red May 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Lefty lies. Schools are doing better because they can actually manage their budget and aren't paying thirty percent over market rates to the union big-monopoly health care scam. ================================================================ The older surveys show more school districts increased class sizes, reduced extracurricular programs, raised student fees and tapped reserves to balance their budgets in each year between 2002 and 2008 than they did in 2011-12. In past years, about two-thirds to three-quarters of districts reported increasing student fees each year. This year, 22 percent of districts reported doing so. More than half of districts said they reduced sports and extracurricular programs, compared with 11 percent this year. Read more: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/past-schools-surveys-shed-new-light-on---results/article_c15c9dde-7eb3-11e1-9c37-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz1uEOiVlvR
red May 07, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Its working wisconsin. Walker saved taxpayers over a billion dollars. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Reforms have saved taxpayers $1 billion http://www.sheboyganpress.com/article/20120424/SHE0101/204240380/Wisconsin-Gov-Scott-Walker-Reforms-saved-taxpayers-1-billion Wait till next year when the quality of education soars because we can get rid of poor performing and dangerous teachers.
morninmist May 08, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Here is an example of what the TeaRepublican Party of WI is advocating: Steven Janke ‏ @JankeSteven Primary day here in WI, so get out and vote early, vote often and vote for your dead relatives #voterID #wirecall
Scott Schoemann May 08, 2012 at 12:24 PM
As Someone heavily involved with the local school district I am sick and tired of these uneducated statements that the school districts can now better manage their funds because their hands are no longer tied. The people who believe this DO NOT know the facts, and that is why I, a life long Republican have left the party for the Constitution Party, I am tired of the lies. The ONLY good thing that happened to our schools it the hold of tenure is broken. HOWEVER Budgets are now set by the STATE at the lowest common denominator AND FROZEN. Our school districts NO LONGER HAVE the authority to do ANYTHING with the funds collected in their name, Walker now dictates that to them. They cant even afford to do necessary building repairs without federal grants. Walker has set all the children in the state up foe a fine MPS style education at a 25 cent a day budget level. There are no benefits on the positive side.
Scott Schoemann May 08, 2012 at 12:25 PM
We as parents, can no longer decide to purchase a home based on where our children will get the best education. Walker made School districts irrelevant. BUT he did NOT lower property taxes either, like his campaign ads claimed. HE JUST FROZE THEM. that means even though your school district now spends substantially less per student, You STILL pay the same school tax. But where does the balance of your tax dollars go? to cover the tax breaks he gave out to big business, that isnt being recouped by the small businesses that have received tax increases and are now going OUT of Business. And bear in mind Big Business employs only 20% of the states workforce, and small business, the easiest to build and grow employs 80%. Walker has run Small business out of wisconsin and put the former owners on welfare. He has guaranteed the return of Democratic control to the State of Wisconsin. And people who support him simply do not understand that none of this is about unions, it;s about his dishonesty. NOTHING has changed with this man since he was run out of Marquette University and could not get into a nother school anywhere.
skinnyDUDE May 08, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Scott if you truly believe what you wrote you are delusional. School districts don't need money . Most got more , however, with Walker's reforms. The only ones that didnt were ones in the pockets of Unions that rushed contracts through. The fact that the Unions oned several districts proved Walkers point . He has done more in one year than any governor we ever had in my lifetime.......AND IT WAS FOR THE BETTER ! Tom the tax Barrett is clueless. The city of Milwaukee proves that. Best we leave him there to play with his CHOO CHOO train.
Dorothy May 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Yes, Barrett is CLUELESS and now I Think he should back home and start doing something for our city == work he hasn't done in his 8 years as MAYOR of the city! PLEASE GET SOMETHING DONE and LEAVE WALKER DO THE SUPER JOB HE IS DOING IN OuR STATE. He has done more in the the time he has been in office than you have done in 8 years. HE IS GREAT LEADER!! I don't know what your problem is -- MAYBE IT IS MORE TALK AND WORDS-- NO ACTIONS!!!! Dorothy
Randy1949 May 09, 2012 at 05:33 PM
@Scott Schoemann -- Thanks for pointing that out. Our schools are paid for by state revenue sharing (income tax and the state property levy) and local property tax school levies. All Scott Walker did was to cut the state aid, which is our money to begin with, and kick the shortfall down to the local level. The 'freezing' and 'tools' are just so that no one will notice the effects immediately. I don't know how expensive tenure was. All I know is that when push comes to shove, a cash-strapped principal will probably let the older, more expensive teacher go. There's no assurance the younger teacher will be any better.
jojobo1 May 09, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Scott Schoemann Right you are. I live in a village where since Walker took ofice my property taxes actually went up by 25% because the village taxed at 75% of the home value and because of Walkers cuts to education they had to raise the tax to 100% value to make up for the money lost and we have blue ribon schools ,the best around.So as far as I can see you are right on.Actyually I wouldn't vote for either Walker or Barrett.
jojobo1 May 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Sorry Ribbon and actually excuse the mistakes


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