Nice play is far away and forgotten, as the Wisconsin gubernatorial race between candidates Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (R) and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) has turned from agreeable to negative.
Both candidates have gotten their shots in. A recent commercial produced by Barrett targeted Walker’s “mismanagement” of Milwaukee County and blamed him for its current economic state. On the other side, Walker coined Barrett as a “radical environmentalist” and a “polluter” due to problems with the Milwaukee sewage system.
But for Walker, a questionable campaigning strategy is apparently nothing new.
Walker attended Marquette from 1986 t0 1990, but never attained a degree (see page 5). His sophomore year, Walker ran for president of the Associated Students of Marquette University (ASMU, the former title for Marquette Student Government). He was accused of violating campaign guidelines on multiple occasions.
The Tribune reported then that he was found guilty of illegal campaigning two weeks before his candidacy became official. Later, a Walker campaign worker was seen placing brochures under doors at the YMCA. Door-to-door campaigning was strictly prohibited.
Walker initially denied this but later admitted to the violation, which resulted in lost campaign privileges at the YMCA.
In the run-up to election day, the Tribune’s editorial board endorsed Walker’s opponent John Quigley, but said either candidate had the potential to serve effectively.
However, the Tribune revised its editorial the following day, calling Walker “unfit for presidency.” The column cited Walker’s distribution of a mudslinging brochure about Quigley that featured statements such as “constantly shouting about fighting the administration” and “trying to lead several ineffective protests of his own.”
The revision also expressed disappointment in Walker’s campaign workers reportedly throwing away issues of the Tribune after the endorsement was initially made.
Walker dismissed this, saying he had no knowledge of what his supporters did, according to a Tribune article from February 25, 1988.
In a Tribune article dated April 25, 2002, Walker recalled the election, saying he regretted the approach he took to campaigning.
“I didn’t achieve office because I focused on personalities and egos,” Walker said in the article.
He also blamed Quigley for the negative path the race took, saying he made the election into a partisan one.
Walker has said Barrett is responsible for the negative direction the current gubernatorial race has taken, using attack ads to compensate for his trailing position in polls.
Graeme Zielinski, communications director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said he believes Walker will do anything to win the election.
“He practiced dirty tricks and mudslinging back then,” Zielinski said. “He’s still doing the same thing today … the ‘say anything, do anything’ campaign.”
Zielinski also said Walker “shamed himself by the way he acted at Marquette” and that his campaign was one of the dirtiest in school history.
The office of Friends of Scott Walker had not responded to multiple interview requests as of press time.
Stephanie Marecki, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and president of Students for Walker, said they will continue their support regardless of past indiscretions.
“I would look at these violations as something that represent a college experience, and not something that should define Mr. Walker or his current campaign,” Marecki said. “Anything that happened, he undoubtedly learned a lot from it.”
Marecki also said the most important thing to remember is Walker’s plans to solve economic problems in Wisconsin.
“I cannot say how this information will affect the public,” Marecki said. “I would just urge voters to pay attention to the issues at hand.”