The Democratic Party of Wisconsin canceled a so-called “unity rally” planned for Wednesday, the day after the primary to determine which Democratic candidate will face Gov. Scott Walker in the state’s special recall election.
According to its Facebook page, Democrats decided to focus on voter turnout, rather than unity.
“After serious discussion, we believe we can’t afford to lose a single day of voter contact,” the statement reads. “It is imperative that we do everything we can to contact and turn out the voters we need to achieve what we have all worked so hard for over the past fifteen months—recalling Scott Walker.”
“The time for celebrating is when we beat Scott Walker on June 5,” the statement continues. “So instead of uniting in celebration at the Capitol now, we need to unite in action all across the state.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is currently leading Dane County chief executive Kathleen Falk in the Democratic primary. Falk has positioned herself to the left of Barrett and has the support of many of the state’s biggest unions.
A blogger at liberal outlet Daily Kos has alleged bad blood and dirty tricks between the camps.
“I don’t know why the rally was canceled, but there has been widespread, unsubstantiated speculation that the front runner in the primary, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, decided at the last minute not to attend,” the blogger writes. “The rumor being spread is that Tom Barrett does not want to be seen in the company of union leaders and union members for fear of having images of his participation in the rally being used against him by the Walker campaign.”
“Others are speculating that the whole thing is a last-minute dirty trick perpetrated by supporters of Kathleen Falk. Barrett has a wide lead over Falk in the most recent polls,” the blogger continued. “Is it really Barrett who backed out, or did somebody design a set of conditions for the rally that they knew would force Barrett to back out so they could smear him?”
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin did not immediately return requests for comment.