With a June recall election all but certain, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the debate is no longer just about collective-bargaining rights for state workers. Union leaders and others, he said, have made it personal.
“They want me dead. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration,” Mr. Walker said in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times after a roundtable discussion Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute.
His opponents have until Jan. 15 to collect about 540,000 signatures and trigger another election, which would surely center around Mr. Walker’s successful but controversial efforts to strip many collective-bargaining rights from teachers and other government employees in his state, all in an effort to close budget gaps and put Wisconsin back on firm financial footing.
Mr. Walker said he expects the drive to be successful and is preparing for the possibility that, for the second time in less than two years, he’ll be back on the ballot.
The recall initiative already has claimed several victims. In August, Democrats captured two seats in the state Senate, but fell short of recapturing the majority, which would have allowed them to block further changes sought by Mr. Walker and his Republican colleagues in the Legislature.
Central to the union strategy has been a successful public relations barrage that portrayed Mr. Walker as the leader of a right-wing, union-breaking movement that organized labor and its Democratic allies feared could spread across the country.
This time, however, Mr. Walker and his supporters hope to be better prepared.