Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett swept to victory in the Democratic primary and won the opportunity to face incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker in a recall election scheduled for June 5.
Barrett defeated former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, the unions' preferred candidate, by a wide margin. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Barrett had 58 percent to Falk's 35 percent. Two other Democratic candidates, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, received 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
On the Republican side, Walker won 97 percent to just 3 percent for activist Arthur Kohl-Riggs.
The AFL-CIO immediately announced their full support for Barrett which clears the way for a dogfight over the next month as outside money for both sides will pour into the state.
The race is in a dead heat at the moment and is likely to remain close through the election. The contest will almost certainly be determined by which side is able to get their partisans to the polls on election day. Much of the wind has gone out of Democrat's sails as the issue that ignited the recall effort - the collective bargaining reforms for state workers - has largely faded into the background, being replaced by the economy as the number one issue.
Barring some unfortunate gaffe, Walker should win in a close race. He has the better organization and the power of incumbency on his side. But Barrett has proven himself a formidable campaigner and with massive labor support, he has a real shot of pulling off the upset.