Wisconsin gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2014

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Wisconsin Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial Election

Primary Date:
August 12, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

Incumbent prior to election:
Scott Walker Republican Party
Rebecca Kleefisch Republican Party
Gov. Scott Walker
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch

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The Wisconsin gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014. Incumbents Scott Walker (R) and Rebecca Kleefisch (R) are running for re-election to a second term in office. Wisconsin has no gubernatorial term limits. The winners of the election will serve four-year terms in office.

This is incumbent Governor Walker's third election in four years. He first won in the 2010 elections and faced a high-profile recall election in 2012. Walker, a Republican, defeated the same Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by a similar margin in both elections. Walker is the only governor to have survived a recall and only the third governor to face a recall election in United States history.[1] Walker is considered to be a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016 and the outcome of this race could have significant impacts on his potential candidacy.[2]

His main opponent is Democrat Mary Burke. There are two third-party candidates: Libertarian Robert Burke and Peoples Party candidate Dennis Fehr. Polling indicates that this race is likely to be close and the outcome will hinge on which candidate can get more of their supporters to turn out, just as in Walker's two previous gubernatorial elections.

The gubernatorial race is not the only race on the November ballot that could shift the balance of power in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Senate has been identified by Ballotpedia as one of the top 20 legislative chambers to watch in 2014. The chamber and the governor's office could be held by the Democratic Party, either of which would result in the loss of Wisconsin's state government trifecta. Learn more about the state's most competitive legislative races on the battleground chambers page.

Wisconsin is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[3][4][5] The primary was held on August 12.

Candidates

General election

Republican Party Scott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch - Incumbents
Democratic Party Mary Burke/John Lehman[6]
Independent Dennis Fehr - Peoples Party candidate[7]
Libertarian Party Robert Burke/Joseph Brost - Libertarian candidate[8]
Independent {Write-in) Mary Jo Walters - Independent candidate[9]

Lost in primary

Republican Party (Write-in) Steve Evans[7]
Democratic Party Brett Hulsey[10]

Withdrew or failed to qualify

Democratic Party Marcia Perkins[7]
Democratic Party Hari Trivedi[7]
Democratic Party Kathleen Vinehout[11]
Democratic Party Mary Jo Walters[7] - ran for Lieutenant Governor
Independent Eric Bruce[7]
Independent Francis Klein[7]
Independent Travis Swenby[7]
Independent Steven Zelinski[7]

Declined

Democratic Party Peter Barca[12]
Democratic Party Ron Kind[13]
Democratic Party Mark Harris[14][15]
Democratic Party Chris Abele[6][16]

Results

Primary election

Gubernatorial

Democratic primary
Wisconsin Gubernatorial Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMary Burke 83.3% 259,383
Brett Hulsey 16.7% 52,020
Total Votes 311,403
Election Results Via:Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Primary Election Results.
Republican primary

Incumbent Republican Scott Walker was opposed only by a write-in candidate and news outlets did not report the result.

Lieutenant gubernatorial

Democratic primary
Wisconsin Lieutenant Gubernatorial Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Lehman 55.2% 144,591
Mary Jo Walters 44.5% 116,517
Write-in votes 0.2% 631
Total Votes 261,739
Election Results Via:Wisconsin Government Accountability Report.
Republican primary

Incumbent Republican Rebecca Kleefisch won re-nomination without opposition.

Race background

This is incumbent Governor Scott Walker's third election in four years. He first won in the 2010 elections and he faced a high-profile recall election in 2012. Walker, a Republican, defeated the same Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by a similar margin in both elections. This year, Walker's main Democratic challenger is Mary Burke, a former business executive and current member of the school board in Madison, Wisconsin.

2012 recall

See also: Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin (2012)

Democrats targeted Walker for recall due to his efforts to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions through Wisconsin Assembly Bill 11, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill", which the governor introduced in February 2011. The bill was immediately met with wide-scale protests. While the passions of the 2012 recall and of the 2010 election, an election that saw Republicans win control of the House of Representatives and many other offices across the country, may not be as strong this year, the underlying issues still exist and Governor Walker remains a divisive figure.[17] Walker is the only governor to have survived a recall and only the third governor to face a recall election in US history.[18]

Common Core

See also: Common Core State Standards Initiative

In addition to the ongoing issues that fueled the protests and subsequent failed recall, the issue of Common Core surfaced in this race. Walker, a former supporter of the education standards, has recently begun to back away from his stance and has sought to change how Common Core is implemented in Wisconsin.[19] Burke publicly supports Common Core.[20]

State of the race

Polling as of October 2014 indicates that this will be a close race with few undecided voters, driven by the highly charged political atmosphere and almost continuous campaigning caused by the recall. The race is likely to hinge on which candidate is better able to motivate their voters to go to the polls, rather than appealing to the few voters still undecided. As of July 2014, The Cook Political Report rated this race as a "toss-up."[21]

Another factor in the race may be the two third-party candidates: Libertarian Robert Burke and Peoples Party candidate Dennis Fehr. Neither candidate has shown strong polling, but even a small number of votes can make a difference in a tight race. Robert Burke, a "socially liberal" former Republican, has said that he "...can mess things up for both sides."[22][23][24] Fehr is the founder and sole candidate of the Peoples Party, not to be confused with the People's Party.[25]

Primary races

Both Walker and Mary Burke faced primary challengers but won comfortably for their respective parties' nominations. Walker's only opponent, Steve Evans, ran as a write-in candidate, while Burke was endorsed by the Wisconsin Democratic Party's Administrative Committee over her opponent, State Assemblyman Brett Hulsey.[26]

Campaign themes

The League of Women Voters of Dane County, Inc. published results of a questionnaire submitted to all of the gubernatorial candidates on the November 4 ballot. All of the candidates provided responses except Gov. Scott Walker (R). The following sections quote candidate responses to the questionnaire verbatim:

Mary Burke

1. Would you support converting, either by statute or a constitutional amendment, to a system whereby a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission would draw legislative districts after each census? (Yes or No, and why/why not)

Yes. A recent article reported that the legal battle over redrawing legislative districts is costing taxpayers $2.1 million—quite frankly, that’s a waste of taxpayer money. I support reforming how Wisconsin draws its legislative and congressional district boundaries, including creating a non-partisan body that is responsible for redistricting because we need to ensure a fair and democratic process. Voters are supposed to pick their elected officials; elected officials are not supposed to pick their voters.

2. Recent legislative and court actions have increased barriers faced by citizens attempting to exercise their right to vote. These include reduced hours for absentee voting at the clerk's office and changes in registration laws. What actions would you support to promote the greatest possible citizen access to voting?

I support increasing accessibility to voting by allowing voters to cast ballots by mail or in-person prior to Election Day, allowing municipalities to expand their hours of operation and permitting multiple in-person absentee ballot locations. We shouldn’t be making it harder to vote—we should be doing everything we can to ensure eligible voters have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. I oppose eliminating same-day voter registration and any type of photo ID legislation that puts costly, unfair burdens onto specific segments of voters, particularly veterans, students and seniors.

3. How will you help Wisconsin transition to clean, renewable energy generation?

I will support policies and funding for public transportation, including modern commuter trains and clean-fuel buses. I believe Wisconsin should commit to exploring and implementing wind, solar, and biomass energy. More efficient energy sources go hand in hand with conservation and powering our future in an economically and environmentally appropriate manner. As Governor, I will look to other states for best practices on how we can encourage capital investment in green energy projects which have the potential to create jobs right here in Wisconsin to inform our overall strategy.

4. Would you support legislation to return first-offense, nonviolent 17 year olds to the juvenile court system while providing the option to refer individual cases to adult court when appropriate? Why, or why not?

First and foremost, I believe we have to ensure that our communities are safe. But especially in the case of first-offense, nonviolent 17 year olds, I feel that we have a duty to invest in a strong education system that helps keep our young people on track to becoming productive citizens. While I am inclined to support this change it is essential that we understand the cost implications and ensure counties are able to pay for a change in the law before moving forward. I also believe we should maintain the option to refer individual cases to adult court when appropriate. [27]

—League of Women Voters of Dane County, Inc., [28]

Dennis Fehr

1. Would you support converting, either by statute or a constitutional amendment, to a system whereby a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission would draw legislative districts after each census? (Yes or No, and why/why not)

No, many nonpartisan agencies show partisanship because they are appointed by a political party at some point; as seen with recent “John Doe” allegations. The 501(c3) organizations were nonpartisan and still broke the rules. We definitely need a better system of voter redistricting which is why our party designed and utilizes a “zip code population map” to organize and represent people. It strips all biases from our current voter districting maps. We believe it’s a better system but, change is hard when two parties already control the districts and don’t have a vested interest in real change.

2. Recent legislative and court actions have increased barriers faced by citizens attempting to exercise their right to vote. These include reduced hours for absentee voting at the clerk's office and changes in registration laws. What actions would you support to promote the greatest possible citizen access to voting?

Many things can be done to get more citizens informed and voting. For example, most people work weekdays so switching the voting day to the weekend or changing the election period to three days (Saturday-Monday) would help. This way third shift and weekend shifts (Friday-Sundays) can also vote easily. There’s really no need to cram everyone in on a Tuesday. However, insuring those voting are eligible is equally important. This can be done through ids and other technologies that will also help reduce lines, prevent fraud, and cut costs. We can have the best of both worlds if we work together.

3. How will you help Wisconsin transition to clean, renewable energy generation?

Renewable energy falls into our “Smart Government” platform in variety of areas but, leadership is where Wisconsin lacks. To showcase its potential to private industry we’ll work with companies like Solar Roadways by implementing their solar roadway designs. We’ll reach out to companies and countries that would rather do than sit idle! JAXA’s proposed spaced based solar farm and SpaceX’s vision of a private space industry means we won’t have to wait for NASA to mine the unlimited energy and mineral resources of space. We can provide exciting, high paying-high tech jobs in Wisconsin first.

4. Would you support legislation to return first-offense, nonviolent 17 year olds to the juvenile court system while providing the option to refer individual cases to adult court when appropriate? Why, or why not?

Yes, minors being charged for a crime should be in our juvenile system 99.99% of the time and referring them to an adult court should be very rare at best. However, in today’s court system this rare exception has become the everyday norm. We charge our children with adult conditions. This mentality is ruining thousands of children’s lives, destroying families, and bankrupting our state. Our platform’s “Judicial System Reform” restructures the way our system handles juveniles and adults to help these people get back on the right track so they’ll be happy productive members of society again. [27]

—League of Women Voters of Dane County, Inc., [28]

Robert Burke

1. Would you support converting, either by statute or a constitutional amendment, to a system whereby a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission would draw legislative districts after each census? (Yes or No, and why/why not)

Yes. The process of creating districts should be done using mathematical tables as much as possible with an independent citizen commission overseeing the process. I will support any system that removes manipulation for political purposes.

2. Recent legislative and court actions have increased barriers faced by citizens attempting to exercise their right to vote. These include reduced hours for absentee voting at the clerk's office and changes in registration laws. What actions would you support to promote the greatest possible citizen access to voting?

I support multi-day voting and a more robust absentee voter system. My concern over ballot access is with the exclusion of people and not the risk of fraud. The responsibility to protect against fraud should be with the poll judge on-duty who can make judgement calls based on the available information by the prospective voter should they not possess an ID.

3. How will you help Wisconsin transition to clean, renewable energy generation?

I believe we are missing a large chuck of scientific data on clean energy generation and in particular Zero Point Energy. First and foremost I support the end of the embargo on this clean and free energy. Having said that I will eliminate any tax subsidies so the market can see which solutions are worth investing. We will eliminate the property tax and the income tax to encourage innovators of these energy sources to bring their new business to Wisconsin where 100% of venture capital is invested in product development and a robust launch. This tax structure is what is driving growth in TX.

4. Would you support legislation to return first-offense, nonviolent 17 year olds to the juvenile court system while providing the option to refer individual cases to adult court when appropriate? Why, or why not?

Judicial discretion is at the heart of a healthy court system. Judges should have the discretion to move cases based on the severity of the crime and by what is in the long term interest of the individual and society. It does not benefit a child who acts without discretion at 17 to lose opportunities at a productive life, especially over a victimless crime. I would also begin looking one step further at what laws are affecting our youth negatively that we can handle without making them a criminal. Drug addiction is a healthcare problem and not a legal one. [27]

—League of Women Voters of Dane County, Inc., [28]

Debates

Debate media


October 10 debate

October 10 debate

Burke and Walker discussed the minimum wage, economic policy and abortion during a debate hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. Gov. Walker initially evaded a question about raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, though he eventually responded that state officials should push to create jobs that earn more than minimum wage. Burke countered that Walker's argument was unrealistic as "retail and home health" workers would not be able to shift easily to industrial jobs. Walker argued that Wisconsin families experienced an average tax reduction of $322 in 2014, while Burke suggested that Walker should not be elected again because the state has a projected budget shortfall.[29]

Gov. Walker did not respond directly to a question whether he opposed abortion in cases of rape, noting that the Supreme Court resolved the question in Roe v. Wade. Burke echoed an ad campaign by Planned Parenthood prior to the general election, arguing that the governor's position on abortion is "anything but reasonable." [29]


Polls

Governor of Wisconsin, General election from August 2014
Poll Scott Walker (R) Mary Burke (D)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
August13-14, 2014
48%47%5%+/-4750
Marquette Law School Poll
August 21-24, 2014
47%49%4%+/-4.1609
YouGov
August 18-September 2, 2014
49%45%6%+/-41,473
We Ask America
September 3, 2014
44%48%8%+/-31,170
Marquette University Law School
September 11-14, 2014
49%46%5%+/-4.1589
Rasmussen Reports
September 15-16, 2014
48%46%6%+/-4750
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
September 20-October 1, 2014
48%49%3%+/-31,444
Marquette University Law School
October 9-12, 2014
47%47%5%+/-3.21,004
AVERAGES 47.5% 47.13% 5.25% +/-3.68 973.63
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.
Governor of Wisconsin, General election through July 2014
Poll Scott Walker (R) Mary Burke (D)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Marquette University Law School Poll
October 21-24, 2013
47.1%44.9%6.5%+/-3.5800
Rasmussen Reports
March 10-11, 2014
45%45%10%+/-4.5500
Marquette University Law School Poll
March 20-23, 2014
48%41%11%+/-3.5801
St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute
March 24 - April 3, 2014
55%40%5%+/-5401
Magellan Strategies for the Liberty Foundation of America
April 14-15,2014
47%47%6%+/-3.36851
Public Policy Polling
April 17-20, 2014
48%45%7%+/-2.91,144
Marquette University Law School Poll
May 15-18, 2014
46%46%6%+/-3.5805
Marquette University Law School Poll
July 17-20, 2014
46%45%9%+/-3.5804
Gravis Marketing
July 31-August 3, 2014
47%47%6%+/-31,346
AVERAGES 47.68% 44.54% 7.39% +/-3.64 828
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.


Campaign media

Mary Burke


Mary Burke ad: Quince & Apple

Mary Burke ad: TV News

Scott Walker


Scott Walker ad: Comeback

Scott Walker ad: Decision

Outside organizations

League of Conservation Voters


League of Conservation Voters: Dirty Deal

Wisconsin WOMEN VOTE!


Wisconsin WOMEN VOTE!: Illegal

Ad spending

The Wesleyan Media Project published a report on September 30, 2014, highlighting spending on gubernatorial races from September 12-25. This report found that Democratic and Republican groups spent a total of $46.84 million on TV ads in 15 states with gubernatorial elections. The following chart details the group's findings including spending amounts and number of ads:[30]

Note: A bolded number indicates the highest total for this category. A number in italics is the lowest total for this category.

Spending on TV ads, September 12-25, 2014
State Total # of ads  % Democratic-leaning ads  % GOP-leaning ads Total spending-Democratic leaning (in millions of $) Total spending-GOP leaning (in millions of $)
Colorado 2,460 83.1 16.9 1.35 0.39
Connecticut 2,312 61.7 38.3 1.48 0.89
Florida 20,111 38.5 61.5 4.07 6.64
Georgia 4,625 51.1 48.9 1.43 0.99
Illinois 7,793 63.5 36.5 4.17 3.5
Iowa 2,134 47.5 52.5 0.25 0.38
Kansas 5,024 45.7 54.3 0.85 1.17
Maine 3,281 42.3 57.7 0.46 0.32
Michigan 6,767 33.9 66.1 1.14 2.3
Minnesota 1,974 83.9 16.1 0.65 0.29
New York 4,926 61 39 2.18 0.88
Pennsylvania 3,263 50.9 49.1 1.58 1.23
South Carolina 2,883 39.1 60.9 0.33 0.38
Texas 10,330 33.4 66.6 2.24 2.93
Wisconsin 7,374 63.3 36.7 1.36 1.01
TOTALS 85,257 48.2 51.8 23.54 23.3

Past elections

2012

Recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker Incumbent 53.1% 1,335,585
     Democratic Tom Barrett 46.3% 1,164,480
     Independent Hari Trivedi 0.6% 14,463
     Scattering - 0.1% 1,537
Total Votes 2,516,065
Election Results Via: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board


2010

Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch 52.2% 1,128,941
     Democratic Tom Barrett/Tom Nelson 46.5% 1,004,303
     Independent Jim Langer/No candidate 0.5% 10,608
     Libertarian No candidate/Terry Virgil 0.3% 6,790
     Common Sense James James/No candidate 0.4% 8,273
     Independent Leslie Ervin Smetak/David Myron Smetak 0% 19
     Independent Patricia Messici/No candidate 0% 22
     Independent Hari Trivedi/No candidate 0% 18
     - Scattering 0.1% 1,858
Total Votes 2,160,832
Election Results Via: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

2006

Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Doyle/Barbara C. Lawton Incumbent 52.7% 1,139,115
     Republican Mark Green/Jean Hundertmark 45.3% 979,427
     Green Nelson Eisman/Leon Todd 1.9% 40,709
     Scattering Various 0.1% 2,449
Total Votes 2,161,700
Election Results Via: Wisconsin State Elections Board

2002

Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Doyle/Barbara C. Lawton 46.1% 800,515
     Republican Scott McCallum/M.A. Farrow Incumbent 42.3% 734,779
     Green Jim Young/Jeff Peterson 0.3% 4,411
     Libertarian Ed Thompson/M. Reynolds 10.7% 185,455
     Independent Alan D. Eisenberg 0.2% 2,847
     Independent Ty A. Bollerud 0.2% 2,637
     Independent Mike Mangan 0.1% 1,710
     Independent Aneb Jah Rasta 0.1% 929
     Scattering Various 0.1% 2,366
Total Votes 1,735,649
Election Results Via: Wisconsin State Election Board

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
June 2, 2014 Filing deadline
August 12, 2014 Primary election
November 4, 2014 General election
December 1, 2014 Certification of results

Recent news

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See also

External links

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Candidate Websites

References

  1. The Guardian, "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker survives bitterly fought recall election," June 6, 2012
  2. Politico, "Scott Walker opens up about White House ambitions," March 16, 2013
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  4. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  5. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  6. 6.0 6.1 FOX 6 Now, "Looking ahead to 2014, who will face Scott Walker in race for Gov.?," July 21, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidates Registered by Office," February 17, 2014
  8. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "CERTIFICATE OF NOMINATION FOR GENERAL ELECTION," accessed July 4, 2014
  9. Email communication with Ballotpedia, September 8, 2014
  10. Fond du Lac Reporter, "State board approves Rep. Brett Hulsey gubernatorial candidacy," June 10, 2014
  11. Senator Kathleen Vinehout, "Senator Vinehout Statement on Not Running for Governor This Year," January 23, 2014
  12. Facebook, "Peter Barca for Governor," accessed January 10, 2013
  13. Channel 3000, "U.S. Rep. Ron Kind says no run for governor," June 7, 2015
  14. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Democratic Winnebago county executive could decide by Labor Day whether to run for governor," July 22, 2013
  15. Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, "Winnebago County Exec Mark Harris declines run for governor," August 30, 2013
  16. WTAQ, "Milwaukee County exec Abele not interested in running for governor," February 28, 2013
  17. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Race tightens, with Scott Walker, Mary Burke tied among registered voters," May 21, 2014
  18. The Guardian, "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker survives bitterly fought recall election," June 6, 2012
  19. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gov. Scott Walker calls for Legislature to repeal Common Core standards," July 17, 2014
  20. WKOW Madison, "Burke supports sticking with Common Core in WI," July 19, 2014
  21. The Cook Political Report, "2014 GOVERNORS RACE RATINGS FOR JULY 30, 2014," accessed July 31, 2014
  22. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Two Burkes on ballot for governor," July 11, 2014
  23. The Cap Times, "John Nichols: Libertarians give Wisconsin another option," July 1, 2014
  24. Wausau Daily Herald, "Letter: More than two are running for governor," July 16, 2014
  25. Dennis Fehr for Governor, "About our Candidate," accessed July 31, 2014
  26. Democratic Party of Wisconsin, "Candidates," accessed July 31, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 League of Women Voters of Dane County, Inc., "Wisconsin Governor," accessed October 14, 2014
  29. 29.0 29.1 WKOW, "Walker, Burke spar in first gubernatorial debate," October 10, 2014
  30. Wesleyan Media Project, "GOP Groups Keeping Senate Contests Close," September 30, 2014