Dispatches from Walker country: Voices outside of Dane County tell the tale

2012-06-05T01:20:00Z 2012-10-24T13:45:08Z Dispatches from Walker country: Voices outside of Dane County tell the taleBARRY ADAMS and ROB SCHULTZ | Wisconsin State Journal madison.com

HATLEY — The lumber yard is closed, along with Hedtke's IGA, but like most other communities in the state Tuesday, the voting booths in this village of 476 east of Wausau were busy.

This is a region of the state where Tom Barrett signs are far outnumbered by the red, white and blue signs supporting Gov. Scott Walker in the state's first gubernatorial recall election. The area historically favors Republican candidates, a stark contrast to liberal stronghold Madison.

"I think he's doing a good job," Chuck Anderson, 49, an insurance claims adjuster in Hatley whose father was a union member in Eau Claire, said of Walker. "I think everyone should pay their fair share."

Whether it was in this small Marathon County village, a town hall in Portage County or main drags east and northeast of Madison, many knew weeks or even months ago who they would vote for in the historic election.

"We voted him in and he should stay in, whether we like him or not," said David Lange, an independent from Jefferson.

Watertown looked like a community full of Walker voters. Supporters lined Church Street near where a train station would have been built had Walker not killed the $800 million high-speed rail project from Madison to Milwaukee.

"I was with him cutting things that needed to be cut," said Patricia Laehr, 59. "At my job they cut some things and it hurt, but it did a lot of good. So I believe the cuts he has made will do a lot of good, too."

But in Waupun, home to three prisons where some unions have chosen not to recertify since Walker stripped them of many collective bargaining rights last year, voters who switched from Walker to Barrett were plentiful.

"I was 90 percent Republican before Walker took office," said Michael Heeringa, who, along with his wife, Dawn, works at Dodge Correctional Institute.

Many voters who chose Barrett in places like Jefferson, Waupun and Fond du Lac admitted they were voting more anti-Walker than pro-Barrett.

"I wasn't too happy with the field," said Scott Volkaitis, 52, a production assistant at a manufacturer in Fond du Lac who voted for Barrett. "I don't like the word loser, but Tom Barrett and Kathleen Falk are two-time losers. I just wish they would have ran a better candidate."

South of Stevens Point in the town of Pine Grove, Rodney McIntee, 79, said he was probably among just a few people he knew who voted for Walker.

"He's a good man," McIntee, a retired lumber worker said. "Why couldn't they just take their licking and come back the next election?"

Closer to Wausau, Karl Kersten said he voted for Barrett when he cast his ballot at Weston Village Hall but voted for Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch because he knew little about challenger Mahlon Mitchell.

"I don't quite agree with Walker, but I just know more about her," said Kersten, 56.

Gene Mengel, 46, of Weston, voted Tuesday for the first time since he was 18 years old. He worked 17 years at a Goodyear tire outlet but is now on disability. Mengel voted for Walker.

"He's got some good ideas and bad ideas, but I don't think the recall is right," Mengel said. "This (recall election) is a big waste of money."

Contact Barry Adams at badams@madison.com or 608-252-6148. Contact Rob Schultz at rschultz@madison.com or 608-252-6487.

Copyright 2015 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(27) Comments

  1. Toomuchtaxes
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    Toomuchtaxes - June 06, 2012 1:56 am
    and it can happen to you tommorow
  2. ST20
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    ST20 - June 05, 2012 11:24 pm
  3. Porter
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    Porter - June 05, 2012 11:01 pm
    The concept of the "silent majority" always makes me smile. Because, deep down, I know in in about 2-5 years they will REALLY be silent. And we'll be dancing on their graves.
  4. 2F4EF4
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    2F4EF4 - June 05, 2012 11:00 pm
    I didn't have to vote because I signed the recall petition last fall.
  5. retired
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    retired - June 05, 2012 10:57 pm
    The, Wisconsin voters have spoken again. I hope this is the end of these pathetic recalls.
    There is life outside of dane county. The voters have proven that again and again.
    Democrats, do you have any idea how much damage you have done with these recalls to your party ?
    You LOST everything last nite, ALL of them, wake up.
  6. Wolfpack
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    Wolfpack - June 05, 2012 10:21 pm
    I didn't think it was such a :"bomb." Before I moved back to WI, the Republicans in the state I lived in placed restrictions on public employee unions. C'mon Rosalie - did you really not see this coming? It's not like Republicans were big friends of unions before now. You know how I solved my problem after they clamped down on employee unions in my old state? I FOUND ANOTHER JOB. So yeah, I don't have much sympathy for all the whining.
  7. RedNedLynch
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    RedNedLynch - June 05, 2012 10:20 pm
    It wasn't a secret...your question is not valid.
    My question - why won't you accept this result?
    Are you delusional?
  8. nufsenuf
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    nufsenuf - June 05, 2012 10:18 pm
    It was very disappointing when Obama did that. I don't think Governor Walker did anything of the sort, it's been a talking point though untrue.
  9. 196ski
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    196ski - June 05, 2012 10:17 pm
    Rosalie, obviously the voters think it is OK, although the entire "drop a bomb" thing is debatable.
  10. Rosalie
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    Rosalie - June 05, 2012 10:00 pm
    How about answering the question?
  11. Rosalie
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    Rosalie - June 05, 2012 10:00 pm
    So I answered your question - are you going to answer mine?

    "Do Walker supporters think it's OK for a candidate to keep secret a planned major initiative before an election to influence voter turnout - and then 'Drop a Bomb" once in office??"

  12. Toomuchtaxes
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    Toomuchtaxes - June 05, 2012 9:48 pm
    You must be one who lost on act 10::::
  13. johntom
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    johntom - June 05, 2012 9:46 pm
    Looking like Dane county came out big for Walker. Never thought I'd say this after an election but...thanks Dane!

    P.S. Anyone see PosterX around here. Did he realize it was "today"?
  14. Rosalie
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    Rosalie - June 05, 2012 9:43 pm
    If he ran on that to influence voters
  15. Wolfpack
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    Wolfpack - June 05, 2012 9:41 pm
    That was supposed to be a reply to Rosalie. Oh well...
  16. Wolfpack
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    Wolfpack - June 05, 2012 9:28 pm
    I hear you. It would be kind of like saying you were going to relinquish selection of the DNR Secretary to the Natural Resources Board, and then deciding to keep it a politically appointed position after you were elected. How very unethical of Mr. Doyle, wouldn't you say?
  17. reba
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    reba - June 05, 2012 9:25 pm
    This is what democracy looks like.
  18. Wolfpack
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    Wolfpack - June 05, 2012 9:24 pm
    LOL - I used to live there and now live in northern Wisconsin. It feels awesome to be so far away from Madistan. Now, much to their sorrow, the ivory-towered citizens of People's Republic of Dane are about to discover that there are 71 other counties in this fine state.
  19. Carol Roave
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    Carol Roave - June 05, 2012 9:24 pm
    Congratulations, buffoons. You insisted on running Matlock against Exxon, in the post Citizens United world. Now you will live with the government you deserve.
  20. M60610
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    M60610 - June 05, 2012 9:22 pm
    Pop the champagne!
  21. Wolfpack
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    Wolfpack - June 05, 2012 9:18 pm
    If you say you were 90% Republican before Walker took office, I have news for you - you weren't 90% Republican in the first place.
  22. Toomuchtaxes
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    Toomuchtaxes - June 05, 2012 9:14 pm
    It's reality many refuse to exept:::
  23. Rosalie
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    Rosalie - June 05, 2012 9:14 pm
    Do Walker supporters think it's OK for a candidate to keep secret a planned major initiative before an election to influence voter turnout - and then 'Drop a Bomb" once in office??

    I think one has to be ethically challenged to approve of this strategy.

    What if someone ran for governor as an environmentalist and then if successful "Dropped the Bomb" that hunting will be outlawed?? Unrealistic - but do you approve of candidates keeping part of their agendas secret in order to win office?

  24. Big_Joe
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    Big_Joe - June 05, 2012 9:09 pm
    It's getting near time to trot out the excuses for Barrett's loss. Let's see...there's all the out of state money (never mind that the unions brought in out of state people), Barrett and the dems didn't get enough support from national (Clinton?), they didn't get it soon enough (should have been advertising months ago), etc., etc., etc.

    Could it be that the Silent Majority has spoken? LOUD AND CLEAR?!
  25. Cheezer
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    Cheezer - June 05, 2012 9:08 pm
    Walker wins! Time to be thankful if you are lucky enough to have a job. Time to stop complaining and work - together I hope - towards solutions. I just put away all my Walker signs, please retire your recall signs, blue fists etc.
  26. RedNedLynch
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    RedNedLynch - June 05, 2012 9:05 pm
    So will this finally teach liberals that high turnout doesn't always equal lefty votes?
    imho, unlikely.
  27. RedNedLynch
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    RedNedLynch - June 05, 2012 8:33 pm
    What a shocking and controversial piece of journalism. Who could have thought that, outsude of the Madison bubble, there is a different reality?

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