So does this definitively dash Big Labor’s last great hope to take out Gov. Scott Walker next year? Now that former Sen. Russ Feingold’s announced he won’t run for governor, the chances of Democrats finding an electable candidate to compete with Walker in a 2012 recall election are sure to be much slimmer.
Not only is public sentiment in the state moving against a recall, but Feingold was the only potential Democratic candidate who had a good shot at beating Walker, according to Public Policy Polling:
Democrats may be dependent on a Feingold candidacy to win though. In May Tom Barrett led Walker 50-43 in a hypothetical rematch of their contest last fall, but now Barrett’s advantage is only 48-47. Given the way sentiment has moved against recall in the closing days of these elections I don’t think Barrett would beat Walker if he started with only a one point lead. And Walker already has the advantage over two other Democrats that have been mentioned as potential candidates- 47-44 over former Congressman David Obey and 46-43 over sitting Congressman Ron Kind.
John McCormack writes that Democrats are now pretty much doomed in a recall election now, as long as Walker’s approval ratings remain steady. But labor activists are still out for blood, and may force the Dems to go through with it anyway:
Unless Scott Walker’s polling numbers take a nosedive, any attempt by Democrats to take him out in a recall election in 2012 will likely fail. But Democrats have promised a recall campaign, and there will be considerable pressure among the grassroots labor and liberal activists to follow through.
So there might still be another recall fight on the horizon, but Feingold’s decision will likely make Republicans a lot more optimistic about it.