MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett expects to easily win re-election Tuesday to another four-year term, but his attention is already on a bigger prize.
Barrett, a Democrat, ended weeks of speculation by announcing Friday that he will run in the recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Barrett hit the campaign trail immediately over the weekend, leaving Milwaukee to campaign 200 miles away in Wausau.
He announced his plans to get into the recall fight just four days before Tuesday's mayoral election. It came after his opponent, University of Wisconsin Extension faculty member Edward McDonald, prodded him to let voters know his intentions before the vote.
Barrett, 58, has proven popular with Milwaukee voters and has not received much serious opposition from McDonald, a longtime community activist. The latest campaign finance filings showed Barrett had nearly $436,000 cash on hand compared with just $424 for McDonald.
Barrett was first elected mayor in 2004 with 54 percent of the vote after defeating incumbent Marvin Pratt. Four years later, Barrett easily won re-election with a whopping 79 percent of the vote.
His political career began in 1984 when he was elected to the state Assembly. He stayed for five years before being elected in 1989 to the state Senate, where he remained until he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.
Barrett won and remained in Congress for 10 years before returning to Wisconsin to run for governor in 2002. He lost to Jim Doyle in the Democratic primary.
Barrett ran for governor a second time in 2010, losing by 5 percentage points to Walker.
Now there could be a rematch in this spring's recall election. Barrett must first survive a Democratic primary, which is May 8. Three other Democrats have announced they are running: former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.
Whoever emerges from the primary will face Walker on June 5.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.