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Scott Walker Can’t Buy A New Record

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TO: Interested Parties
FR: Elisabeth Pearson, Political Director, Democratic Governors Association
Jonathan Parker, Campaigns Director, EMILY’s List
MEMO: Scott Walker Can’t Buy A New Record  
Today, Scott Walker will officially announce his bid for re-election. Despite the musings of reporters and operatives in Washington, D.C., Walker is one of the most vulnerable incumbent governors in the nation, and may very well suffer defeat before his oft-discussed 2016 campaign can even get off the ground.
National Republicans understand this. In recent weeks, they’ve flooded the airwaves with nearly $2 million in kitchen-sink attack ads designed to save Walker from his failed economic record and radical social agenda. Clearly, Republicans are scared to death – they know Walker faces his toughest opponent to date in Mary Burke.
Unfortunately for him, Walker’s right-wing allies can’t buy him a new record.
The core promise of his 2010 campaign was that he’d create 250,000 new private-sector jobs. With just one year left in his governorship, Wisconsin is suffering from “anemic” job growth, leaving Walker more than halfway short of his promise.
And it’s not just his failed jobs record that leaves him vulnerable. Despite the fact that voters support ending gender discrimination in pay, Walker repealed a law that made it easier for women to have their day in court over discriminatory pay.
He rolled back the clock on women’s access to healthcare by signing into law a policy that requires mandatory ultrasounds for women making the most personal of healthcare decisions and reduces access to healthcare for women across the board.
He also joined the right-wing attacks on the right to vote, signing a law that limits access to early voting in the state —a brazen move that disenfranchises students, seniors and women voters for his own political advantage.
In contrast, Mary Burke has the experience and the vision that Wisconsin is looking for. Voters know she will protect their rights, not attack them.
Earlier this month, Mary Burke announced her jobs plan, outlining a clear roadmap for economic opportunity for all. As she travels the state to discuss her plan to reinvest in Wisconsin, voters are seeing a clear contrast between her vision for strengthening the middle class and Walker’s failed, top-down economic philosophy.
For those reasons, Walker and Burke remain tight in the polls, and will continue to until Election Day. Even Walker admits that his divisive tenure makes a big victory impossible – he’s right, and this race is just getting started.
Walker Is A Divisive Figure Who Is In A Tight Race For Reelection; His Allies Are Already Running Millions Of Dollars Of TV Attack Ads To Protect Him:
Walker Has Consistently Polled Under 50 Percent & Is In A Tight Race With Mary Burke. Recent polls have shown Walker getting anywhere from 45 to 49 percent of the vote, tied or leading Mary Burke by single digits. [Marquette University, Gravis, Rasmussen]
Walker Himself Says He Has A “Ceiling” Of 52-53 Percent. “I asked Walker about his reelection outlook; most polls have him in good but not great position, leading his only announced challenger, Democrat Mary Burke, by a few percentage points but below 50 percent. Walker said he governs a state that is roughly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, and that he thinks it’s fair to say he has a ceiling of about 52 to 53 percent.” [National Review, 11/18/13]
Walker’s Campaign And National Groups Have Spent More Than $2 Million On Attack Ads On His Behalf Because Of How Close The Race Remains. So far, the RGA has spent at least $2,070,610 on independent expenditures attacking Mary Burke, and Scott Walker’s campaign has spent “about $100,000” in attack ads. [Wisconsin Campaign Finance Information System; Washington Post, 3/6/14]
Walker Has Been An Economic Failure By His Own Standard:
PolitiFact Wisconsin, January 2014: Walker “Less Than Halfway” Toward Meeting His Promise To Create 250,000 Jobs.“But even with an estimated 43,900 jobs created — far more than in his first two years in office — the governor is less than halfway toward meeting his promise to create 250,000 private sector jobs in his four-year term… To meet Walker’s 250,000 pledge, the state would have to create in one year 34,853 more jobs than the previous three years combined. By another measure, it would have to add 11,869 jobs each month of 2014.” [PolitiFact Wisconsin, 1/30/14]
Forbes Ranked Wisconsin 41st Best State For Business In 2013. In their annual “Best States for Businesses and Careers” list, Forbes ranked Wisconsin 41st. [Forbes Best States for Business, 2013]
December 2013: “Quarterly Data Rank Wisconsin 37th In Private-Sector Job Growth”. “According to Wednesday’s report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin gained 23,963 private-sector jobs in the 12 months from June 2012 through June 2013, a 1.0% increase that ranks the state 37th among the 50 states in the pace of job creation during that period. The state’s ranking slid from a revised rank of 32nd three months earlier, which covered the 12 months through March 2012. Wisconsin continued to trail the national rate of job creation, as it has since July 2011.” [Journal Sentinel,12/18/13]
Journal Sentinel: Job Growth Under Walker “Anemic Compared With Other States”. In a January 2014 editorial, the Journal Sentinel wrote, “Walker is nowhere near meeting his pledge that businesses would create 250,000 jobs during his first term, and Wisconsin’s job growth is anemic compared with other states. The state is 37th in the nation in private-sector job growth under Walker.” [Journal Sentinel Editorial, 1/25/14]
June 2013: Walker’s Job-Growth Record Ranked 40th Out Of 45 Governors. In June 2013, Business Journals “ranked 45 of the nation’s 50 governors according to their records for private-sector employment growth,” not including the five governors who took office earlier that year. Walker ranked 40th. [Business Journals, 6/27/13]
Wisconsin Ranked “Near Bottom In Entrepreneurial Activity” For 2012. “The 2012 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity lists Wisconsin as having one of the lowest rates of entrepreneurial activity in the nation. The report claims that 180 of every 100,000 (0.18%) state residents started businesses in 2012, the fourth-lowest rate in the nation. That compares to a period between 2000 and 2002 when the report showed Wisconsin with 320 of every 100,000 residents (0.32%) starting businesses. It was the second biggest decline over 10 years, behind that of Wyoming.” [InBusiness Madison, April 2013]
2012 Headline: “Wisconsin Job Losses Highest In Nation For Last 12 Months”. “Wisconsin saw the largest percentage decrease in employment in the nation during the 12 months ending in March, a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. During that time period, while 27 states and the District of Columbia saw significant job increases, only Wisconsin saw ‘statistically significant’ job losses, the report said. From March 2011 to March 2012, the state lost 23,900 jobs, for the country’s largest percentage decrease, at 0.9 percent.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 4/25/12]
Walker Has Paid For Corporate Tax Breaks By Gutting Education Funding:
Headline: “Wis. Gov. Signs Budget Cutting Education $1.85B”. CBS News reported in 2011, “Gov. Scott Walker signed his first budget Sunday, a plan that… slashes funding for public schools and the University of Wisconsin System.” [Associated Press, 6/26/11]

  • Budget Extended Tax Breaks to “Multistate Corporations and Investors.” CBS reported of the budget, “It also reduces the amount schools can collect from property taxes and other revenue combined, which translates into another education cut of about $800 million. While schools are seeing deep cuts, Walker’s budget extends tax breaks to manufacturers, multistate corporations and investors.” [Associated Press, 6/26/11]

Walker’s Policies Are Hostile Toward Women:
Walker Repealed Equal Pay for Equal Work Law. “Walker repealed the ‘Equal Pay Enforcement Act,’ which was passed in 2009 when Democrats controlled the Legislature. It allowed discriminated workers who have already proven their case to a state agency to then sue their employer in state circuit court for compensatory and punitive damages up to $300,000.” [Associated Press, 5/15/12]
Associated Press: “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Signs Abortion Bill Requiring Ultrasound.” Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a contentious Republican bill Friday that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and ban doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing the procedures…Under the new Wisconsin law, any woman seeking an abortion would have to get an ultrasound. The technician would have to point out the fetus’ visible organs and external features. Abortion providers would have to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles to perform the procedures.” [Associated Press, 7/5/13]
Walker Signed A Voter Suppression Law:
Reuters Headline: “Wisconsin Governor Signs Bill Ending Early Weekend Voting”. “ Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Thursday signed a measure into law that eliminates absentee voting on weekends ahead of elections but vetoed a provision that restricted weekday voting hours across the state. Wisconsin law allows voters to cast absentee ballots by mail or hand them in to their polling places before election day. Supporters have said the new law creates uniform and fair rules, while critics have said it disenfranchises voters.” [Reuters, 3/27/14]