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Wisconsin recall election seen as harbinger of November

Republican WisconsGov. Scott Walker right Democratic challenger Tom Barrett participate televised debate Thursday May 31 2012 Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, right, and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett participate in a televised debate Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

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Updated: July 7, 2012 8:29AM

KENOSHA, Wis. — It’s money versus the ground game — though, of course, there’s plenty of money and ground game on both sides.

Republicans who want to see Gov. Scott Walker hold his seat have raised more money — about $48 million to $19 million for the Democrats according to the Wisconsin Democracy Project.

Democrats hope they have the better ground game, not just to eke out a win for Democratic candidate for governor Tom Barrett but to carry President Barack Obama across the finish line here Nov. 6.

Even with one poll showing this election neck-and-neck, some Democrats privately acknowledge that this kind of non-presidential election is easier for Republicans to win because their supporters are older and better-off and more likely to vote even when there’s not a presidential race at the top of the ticket drawing them to the polls.

Canvassers and phone-bankers streamed in and out of the union headquarters here Monday, getting their assignments to go out and isnpire the faithful to get to the polls Tuesday. Barrett planned to finish his tour of the state Monday with a rally in Kenosha.

Walker has likewise tried to hit all corners of the state on the last day of the campaign.

Just north of here in Racine, Danielle Rowe, who lost a Republican primary race for state representative in Illinois this year, has been coordinating volunteers from Lake County and other parts of Illinois to work for Walker and for State Sen. Van Wanggaard, one of four Republican senators targeted for recall along with Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

Even if Democrats can’t take out Walker, they can make it harder for him to pass legislation by switching just one seat in the state Senate where Republicans have a one-vote majority.

Activists on both sides of this election will be boarding buses from Chicago and around Illinois Tuesday morning to come up and help.

Unions, Obama for America, and local Democratic groups have arranged buses to bring up Democrats to work for Walker’s recall.

The Illinois Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity and local branches of Illinois’ Republican Party have arranged buses to bring up Walker fans.

With his monetary advantage, Walker is dominating the air war, running commercials which tout his own study showing that he has brought tens of thousands of jobs to Wisconsin. The commercials tout those as “corrected numbers” more accurate than Bureau of Labor Department statistics showing that Wisconsin lost tens of thousands of jobs under Walker — numbers the anti-Walker ads have touted.

Walker enraged unions when he ended public-sector unions’ collective bargaining rights last year.

Both sides see Tuesday’s vote as a bellwether for the presidential election.

But when Obama flew over Wisconsin twice Friday without stopping, some Republicans said that was evidence that national Democrats believe polls showing Walker will win.

“The President absolutely stands by Tom Barrett and hopes he prevails,” Obama spokesman Jay Carney said Monday. “The President has made clear all along his opposition to those who would take away workers’ rights, to actions that would take away or diminish workers’ rights, and he’s also made clear his support for Tom Barrett.”

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