Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
EVANSVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett mounted their final campaign push Saturday as next week’s historic recall election looms, appearing at farm breakfasts and restaurants and rallying campaign workers.
Walker is only the third U.S. governor to face a recall. The drive to oust him was spurred by anger over his plan to effectively end most public workers’ collective bargaining rights. Walker insisted he had to make the move to balance the state budget, but Democrats portrayed the measure as an attack on organized labor.
Polls show a tight race with only a handful of voters still undecided before Tuesday’s election. Walker and Barrett have been struggling to win them over for the past month, and they ramped up their meet-and-greet efforts Saturday.
Barrett, who serves as Milwaukee’s mayor, was scheduled to spend the day touring northwestern Wisconsin. He and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, a Milwaukee Democrat, planned to visit the Barron County Dairy Breakfast in Hillsdale and Our Place Cafe in St. Croix Falls. The mayor’s afternoon schedule included stops at Shamrock Pizza in Superior and the state Democratic Party’s Chippewa Falls office.
Barrett’s communications director, Phil Walzak, said the mayor wasn’t immediately available for comment when The Associated Press tried to contact him around midmorning.
Walker, meanwhile, began the day before 7 a.m. at the annual Rock County Dairy Breakfast on a massive dairy farm just outside Evansville, a city of 5,000 people about 25 miles south of Madison, the state capital. His agenda called for a stop at another dairy breakfast in Monroe County and visits to campaign field offices in Hudson, Wausau, Green Bay and Wauwatosa.
“I feel good,” Walker said. “We’re not taking anything for granted. We’re working all the way up to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.”
Dressed in blue jeans, hiking boots and a button-down shirt and flanked by 18-year-old Evansville Future Farmers of America Queen Emily Templton and 18-year-old La Prairie 4-H Club Queen Erica Ballmer, the governor handed out yogurt and applesauce to scores of people as they came through the breakfast line.
A smiling Walker tried to engage people in short, friendly conversations, commenting, for example, on the beautiful morning. Most didn’t seem to recognize him. They simply said “thank you” as he placed yogurt cups on their plates and moved on. A handful of people shook his hand, though, and congratulated him on his accomplishments.
One of them was Ken Pierson, 44, who runs a tool-and-die shop in Janesville with his father. He made a point of introducing his two sons to the governor. Later, he said he thinks Walker’s changes will help the state in the long run and the recall isn’t justified.
“There’s better things to do, better reasons to go after people. It’s just too obnoxious for me,” Pierson said. “I see (Walker’s fiscal conservatism) working in the future. It has more to do with what’s going to happen tomorrow, instead of ‘gimme, gimme, gimme.’”
Elsewhere in the state Saturday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, a Janesville Republican, were expected to appear at a tea party rally in Caledonia, just outside Racine, to whip up support for Walker.
The recall represents the latest chapter in a knockdown, no-holds barred political battle that has consumed the state.
The fight began in February 2011 when Walker introduced the collective bargaining measure. Tens of thousands of people descended on the state Capitol to demonstrate against the plan and minority Democrats in the state Senate fled to Illinois in a futile attempt to block a vote.
Republicans who controlled the Legislature pushed the plan through anyway. Democrats have been looking for payback ever since.
They ousted two GOP state senators in recalls last August and gathered enough signatures on recall petitions this winter to force Walker and four other Republican officeholders into Tuesday’s elections.
The race between Walker and Barrett, especially, has evolved into a national referendum on union power. Republicans across the country have rallied around the governor, helping him raise a jaw-dropping $31 million in campaign cash.
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)