Wisconsin Recall Debate LIVE: Scott Walker vs. Tom Barrett in a Final TV Battle

ByTerri Bennett

Wisconsin voters will get their last chance on Thursday night to see Governor Scott Walker and Milwaukee mayor/ Democratic nominee Tom Barrett debate face-to-face before the June 5 recall election.

Both candidates in Tuesday’s Walker recall election will take part in a forum in Milwaukee. The debate starts at 9 p.m., and will be televised statewide.

It will air live on WISN 12 in Milwaukee and on their website, and on CNN.

PolicyMic will be streaming and covering the debate LIVE.

Click REFRESH to get regular updates through the debate

9:40 PM Gov. Over the last month, Scott Walker has been the top spender at $29 million; Democrats including Barrett spent about $4 million. Outside groups have spent $21 million and issue ad groups that don't have to disclose their spending have put in at least $7.5 million.

9:30 PM Walker looks to cut massive amounts from the government budget, including school districts. He claims the government shackles these institutions, including eduction.

Barrett claims that, if investment doesn’t happen in the state, then Wisconsin will struggle.

9:22 PM This Election Wil Shape Other State Elections: In November, Ohio voters repealed a law pushed by Governor John Kasich, a former Republican congressman, that lifted collective bargaining for public employees. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie signed a law increasing pension and health care expenses paid by workers.

The governors say such changes are needed to deal with declining state revenue after the longest recession since the 1930s. Labor leaders say it’s part of an effort to diminish the influence of unions, which traditionally support Democratic candidates.

9:18 PM Barrett claims Wisconsin has lost jobs under Walker, while the governor claims that his "jobs formula" proves that Wisconsin has created jobs.

Walker: "I have a plan for economic development."

Jobs will be critical in this election (and the wider general election, btw).

Turnout in Tuesday’s election is predicted to be as high as 65 percent, which is nearing levels normally seen in presidential contests.

Walker has raised about $31 million since taking office, including about $20 million this year, in an effort to fend off the recall. Barrett, who got into the race on March 30, has raised about $4.2 million.

9:15 PM Why Does This All Matter: The outcome of the June 5 recall vote is important because other Republican governors are likely to take a more aggressive posture toward public employees’ unions if Walker prevails --and some already have with mixed success.

Insights on November: From Bloomberg: “If Walker wins, the Republicans will think they have an opening,” said Edward Miller, a politics professor at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. “It will embolden other governors and will give insight into the presidential election, with the thought that Romney can win Wisconsin.”

9:13 PM Mayor Barrett comes it with a critical policy platform, the crux of this election: "I would restore the right to collectively bargain and organize."

Walker responds: "This is fundamentally about fairness" ... highlighting that unions are inherently unfair in government. 

9:12 PM Gov. Walker: "The middle class disproportionately pays for this state's taxes" 

9:10 PM Mayor Barrett: "(Walker) intends to pit peple against each other."

9:06 PM Gov. Walker Quotes: “It’s about standing up, and having somebody who is finally willing to stand up, to the challenges of this state.”

"I don't have any regrets."

9:02 PM: First Question: What's at Stake in This Election? Gov. Walker gets the first answer and says his administration has tried to make the tough decisions -- and the right decisions -- in his term

Mayor Barrett says it's the "future of the state." He says Walker doesn't represent Wisconsin values, especially as a Tea Partier. 

9 PM CDT: And we begin the The candidates are introducing themselves.

A good primer on the Wisconsin Recall battle: 


The debate is hosted by the Marquette Law School, which put out a poll yesterday showing Walker with a slight 7-point lead over Barrett, 52% to 45%. The poll's margin of error was 4.1%.

The Marquette poll said only 2% of voters were undecided. And Walker says the outcome will be so close that, “a handful of undecideds at the end will make the difference.”

Also yesterday, the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee – which supports Barrett – put out its own poll stating that the race is tied at 49-49, with just one-percent undecided.

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Wisconsin to campaign for Barrett.

The Barrett campaign says Clinton will be in Milwaukee on Friday.

Clinton would be the third prominent Democrat in three days to appear in Wisconsin on behalf of Barrett. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who heads the Democratic National Committee, rallied about 100 volunteers in Racine on Wednesday.

Walker defeated Barrett 52% - 46% in the 2010 state governor’s race.