Eyes on GOP Primaries: CA, MT, NJ, NM, SD – Romney Supports Walker in WI Recall

Governor Mitt Romney speaks with supporters of Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker before making phone calls on his behalf at a phone bank in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. March 31, 2012 (Photo Darren Hauck/Reuters)


Romney supporters are tuned in to today’s lively political action.

Primary elections in five states, and a recall election with national implications in another state, are spurring voters to the polls.

Governor Mitt Romney officially became the GOP presidential nominee last week and voters will award additional delegates in California (172 delegates), Montana (26 delegates), New Jersey (50 delegates), New Mexico (23 delegates), and South Dakota (28 delegates).

We encourage Romney supporters to cast their votes in The Five today and show The Gov a lot of love with a resounding across-the-board victory!

Eyes are on the contentious recall effort (which began last November) against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. After months of acrimony over needed public union restrictions, which Walker campaigned on and enacted, the rematch with Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett (who Walker bested in a GOP sweep of the state in 2010), will be determined by voters today in The Badger State.

A couple of months ago, Governor Romney, accompanied by Rep. Paul Ryan, expressed his support for Walker during stops in Wisconsin:

Mitt Romney used a Wednesday tele-town hall with Wisconsin voters to give a strong endorsement to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who is fighting off a recall effort led by Democrats.

“Gov. Walker is, in my opinion, an excellent governor,” Romney said, according to a report by ABC News.

“And I believe that he is right to stand up for the citizens of Wisconsin and to insist that those people who are working in the public sector unions have rights to affect their wages but that these benefits and retiree benefits have fallen out of line with the capacity of the state to pay them.”

“And so I support the governor in his effort to rein in the excesses that have permeated the public sector union and government negotiations over the years,” Romney said.

Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, also talked about other states that have passed legislation aimed at curbing collective bargaining.

“The state of Indiana, even my home state of Massachusetts, has reined in the collective bargaining excesses associated with retirement benefits for future retirees,” Romney said.

Governor Romney praised Gov Walker as he traveled through small towns and cities across Wisconsin. He also stopped by a phone bank in Fitchburg, WI, and made calls on the embattled Governor’s behalf.

In U.S. News Weekly, Mary Kate Cary writes about three reasons why the Walker recall election matters:

First reason:

Walker is proving that struggling states can turn their economies around, and that fiscal conservatism works.

Walker eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit and balanced the budget without raising taxes. He did it by asking public employees to contribute, like the rest of us do, to their healthcare costs and pension funds—a move which prevented teachers, firemen, and police from being laid off. Unemployment in Wisconsin is below 7 percent for the first time since 2008, and joblessness there is now below the national average. Plus Wisconsin’s public employee retirement system is now fully funded. Unfunded pensions are a big deal in many states, and could cost taxpayers in many states millions in new taxes.

…[R]ecently polled Wisconsin voters … found overwhelming support for many of Walker’s policies:

72 percent favor asking public sector workers to increase their pension contributions from less than 1 percent to 6 percent of their salaries.
71 percent favor making government employees pay 12 percent of their own healthcare premiums instead of the previous 6 percent.
Police and firefighters were exempted from the pension and healthcare adjustments but 57 percent of taxpayers say they should not have been.
65 percent say public sector workers receive better pension and health care benefits than private sector workers.

When asked what state and local officials should do if pensions and health benefits are underfunded, 74 percent favor requiring government employees to pay more for their own healthcare and retirement benefits. In sharp contrast, 75 percent oppose cutting funding for programs like education and 74 percent oppose raising taxes to help fund government worker benefits.

Second reason:

The recall election spells big trouble for unions, especially public employee unions.

When recall supporters first garnered nearly a million signatures in order to get on the ballot, the unions were ecstatic. They’ve poured millions into the state and bussed in thousands of volunteers, but as the issues in the race became clear, the union position came across as greedy and unreasonable. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told Politico that if Walker wins, it will be “a significant blow to the labor unions,” and will definitely embolden other Republican governors to take on labor unions in battles over collective bargaining. There’s a chance Democrats will win one of four state Senate recalls, which will give them control of the state Senate and a way to put the brakes on Walker. But no matter what happens in the Senate, Walker’s success has already sparked a round of recriminations between union leaders and top-level Democrats, who are avoiding the state. Obama endorsed Walker’s opponent the night he won the primary, but other than that has remained silent; the Democratic National Committee has refused to give the state party any money for the cause.

Third reason:

The recall fight exposes the flaws in the Obama campaign strategy.

Here’s how Kelly Steele, a strategist for We Are Wisconsin, the leading union-backed anti-Walker coalition put it a few months ago to Politico: “Scott Walker lied his way into office, and has since launched unprecedented attacks on Wisconsin’s working families, dividing the state like never before,” Steele said in an E-mail. “This historic recall is a … victory for Wisconsinites united to take their government back from wealthy special interests who bought and paid for Scott Walker and are dictating the terms of his extreme agenda.”

Sound familiar? Might as well be a page out of an Obama speech about Mitt Romney. Instead of defending the public employees unions’ position, We Are Wisconsin’s website now has talking points about the GOP “war on women.” Good grief.

The left in Wisconsin is pitching an angry, populist message to voters. So is Obama.

Scott Walker is a canary in a coal mine. If he wins, we’ll know that at least one state’s voters now view budget-balancing as something reasonable that needs to be done right. And we’ll know how they feel about the unions’ intransigence and angry rhetoric on entitlement reform. We’ll all be watching that canary on June 5 to see if it flies.

Walker’s Lt. Gov Rebecca Kleefisch, and three Republican state senators are also part of the recall election today. A fourth state senator targeted for recall resigned; a candidate from each party is vying for her empty seat. Democrats only need to win one seat to gain the majority in the State Senate.

Ten days ago, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (shrill Chair of the democratic National Committee) admitted the Wisconsin recall is a test run for the presidential election this fall. Sensing a possible defeat, Obama distanced himself from the brouhaha, but managed to chirp a tweet today.

The good news is Governor Walker is polling at about 7 points ahead of his opponent. Today’s results in The Badger State depends on which side has the best ground game and voter turn-out.

Best wishes today to both of these great guys!

Romney supporters are invited to join us on MRC’s chat forum this evening’s exciting election results.

Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

Romney Names Montana Finance Leadership Team

A full moon shines over wintry Big Sky Resort, Montana.


Governor Mitt Romney has announced the formation of an impressive Finance Leadership Team in magnificent Big Sky country – Montana:

I am proud to announce my Montana State Finance leadership team,” said Mitt Romney. “With their help, we will be able to defeat President Obama next November and get our country and economy on the right track again. Montana can be a leader in our economic recovery if we are able to utilize the state’s energy resources and encourage small business growth.”

Mitt Romney’s State Finance Chair Mark Baker said, “It is an honor to join Governor Romney’s team in Montana. We look forward to working with him and his campaign to raise the resources needed to defeat President Obama. We are also looking forward to working with him to help Montana play a vital role in our country’s economic recovery. The oil, gas, coal, timber and mining resources we develop in Montana are critical to our economy. Montana also has a growing high tech industry that will be important to future growth. Governor Romney’s plans to use our energy resources at home and provide an economy for small businesses to thrive will be important for Montana and the country’s economic growth.”

(emphasis added)

Mitt Romney’s Montana State Finance Chairs:

State Finance Chair Mark Baker (Helena): Mark Baker is a partner in Anderson, Baker & Swanson, PLLC. He previously co-chaired Governor Romney’s 2008 Montana State Finance Leadership team, served on the Montana Finance Committee for Bush/Cheney 04, and was Montana State Co-Chairman for Lawyers for Bush/Cheney 2000. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Helena and have four children.

State Finance Chair Mark Lewis (Bozeman): Mark Lewis is the President of Jet Set Sports. Previously, Mark worked for NBC and General Electric as head of their Olympic sponsorship programs. Lewis also led one of the most successful fundraising and marketing programs in Olympic history. These efforts resulted in over $1.5 billion of revenue generation and culminated in the successful conclusion of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mark is married to the former Dawn Allinger, a 1996 Olympian in the sport of Team Handball, and they live in Bozeman, Montana.

Members of Mitt Romney’s Montana Finance Team:

State Senator Ed Buttrey (Great Falls): Senator Ed Buttrey is currently serving as a Montana State Senator representing Senate District 13. He is also a 4thgeneration Montana businessman and currently resides in Great Falls, Montana.

State Representative Liz Bangerter (Helena): Representative Liz Bangerter is a state legislator and represents House District 80 in Helena. She has three teenage daughters and is a stay-at-home mom.

State Representative Scott Reichner (Bigfork): Representative Scott Reichner is a state legislator and represents District 9. He is the chair of the Education Committee, and a champion of workers compensation reform of 2011. He is a small business owner and father of ten children. He currently resides in Bigfork, Montana.

Former State Senator Sherm Anderson & Bonnie Anderson (Deer Lodge): Sherm & Bonnie Anderson own and operate a sawmill, logging company, and construction company and they are the largest private employer in the four county area. They currently reside in Deer Lodge, Montana.

Stephen Zabawa (Billings): Stephen Zabawa owns a car dealership, and is a real estate developer, real estate investor, and software developer. He currently resides in Billings, Montana and is the father of seven children.

Thank you, Montana Finance Leadership Team!

► Jayde Wyatt