Rally Messages from Left, Right Point to Voter Turnout
Despite the gulf between their philosophies, big names from both sides of the recall told their supporters the same thing: Get to the polls and take everyone you know with you.
Two rallies, two distinct ways of looking at the state's historic recalls and one overriding message: Get out and vote, and get as many people as possible to go, too.
"Call everyone you know," Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch told the almost 4,000 people in Gorney Park Saturday for the Racine Tea Party rally. "Email your family and friends, talk to your neighbors, use social media and let's win this thing for Wisconsin."
It wasn't much different two hours later at the Racine Labor Center where recall supporters gathered to meet liberal radio and MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz.
"We've done a lot of work, but there's more to be done before Tuesday," said US Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison). "Every single vote counts, and it is up to you to close the deal. We need even more people to turnout to vote on Tuesday."
Enthusiasm was high Saturday, at both the Racine Tea Party and Democratic rally, as both sides pumped up supporters heading into the final push to the June 5 recall election. Crowd estimates for the Tea Party event put the number around 4,000 while there were about 350 people at the Racine Labor Center.
Another point the rallies had in common were that speakers over and over again told supporters that while the recalls matter big for Wisconsin, the reach goes well beyond our borders. The entire country is watching us, they said, and could very well set a precedent in other states and the November elections as well.
"The energy here will help us take back the Assembly from the Republicans and hold them accountable for being in lockstep with Scott Walker," said Kelley Albrecht, Democratic candidate for the 63rd Assembly District.
That was where the similarities ended, though.
Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) will face Albrecht in November. At the Tea Party rally, Vos said he's never seen this level of excitement among conservatives.
"In 2008 the passion was on the Democrats' side, but in 2012, we have the passion on our side," he said. "People who are taking the time to come to this rally are the kind of people to help."
For the Republicans, winning on Tuesday is just the first step to making sure Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) wins his election against newcomer Rob Zerban and Mitt Romney unseats President Barack Obama.
"People are concerned about the role of government and this wave we're riding is a measure of the support we'll see for Romney in November," said Rep. David Craig (R-Muskego).
Democrats, on the other hand, say the recalls are all about citizens standing up for their rights and not allowing elected officials to say and do different things.
"This election is about the pride of Wisconsin," Baldwin said. "This is about workers' rights, collective bargaining and protecting the environment."
At the Racine Tea Party, the support for Gov. Scott Walker, Kleefisch and state Sen. Van Wanggaard was perhaps summed up best by Republican National Committee Reince Preibus when he said these recalls are about first saving Wisconsin and then saving the country.
"We have people of their word who ran for office and then governed as they campaigned. Isn't that what we want?" he said. "This marks a path not just for Wisconsin. After we elect Scott Walker again, we can take back America by firing Barack Obama."
Democratic support might have best been said by Josh Garner, a statewide organizer for Local 18 Sheet Metal Workers.
"I actually want to thank Gov. Walker because he woke a sleeping giant," he said. "His policies got people to band together into one voice, to know they can stand up for their rights and they can make a difference."