- He's new to the governor's race, but not new to campaigning in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett visited Rhinelander today, and the reception for Barrett was warm when he made his first appearance in the Northwoods since his 2010 campaign for governor.
"Hello Rhinelander! It's great to be here!" was the opening line.
His campaign for governor is only a week and a half old, but Barrett is already hitting the trail throughout the state.
Looking to win the Democratic nomination in the recall of Governor Scott Walker, he swung through the Northwoods Thursday afternoon and stopped at a packed Democratic Headquarters in Rhinelander.
Barrett lost the 2010 campaign to Walker, but he's back for another go-round.
"If someone had said to me 16 months ago, 'oh don't worry, you'll get another chance to run for governor in 16 months', I would have said, 'yeah, when pigs fly'. Well, if you look outside, you can see some pigs flying right now, because Wisconsin has been turned politically upside down," said Barrett.
Barrett didn't hesitate to attack Walker's record in office.
"His job performance in his first year in office was the worst of any governor in this entire country," he said.
Barrett has plenty of fans in the Northwoods, including former Representative Dave Obey, and State Senator Jim Holperin.
"He's very familiar with issues all around the state, particularly our small communities here in northern Wisconsin that depend on tourism, that depend on recreation, that depend on logging," Holperin said.
Those endorsements excite many voters in a Democratic primary that's become a four-horse race.
"He's always been up front with everybody around, and any time you talk to him you get a proper answer," said Democrat Len Wagner, who attended the event.
"That is the big issue - who you can trust, and are they going to do what they say they're going to do," concurred Rich Laddusire. "And I think that's Tom Barrett to a T."
As Barrett continues to swing around the state looking to win more voters before the May 8 primary, don't expect the anti-Walker talk to stop anytime soon.
"Wisconsin in the last 15 months has basically been in a civil war. It's a civil war that Governor Walker started when he tried to divide the state. I will end that civil war," he said.
Barrett joins Kathleen Falk, Kathleen Vinehout, and Doug La Follette in the race to oppose Walker in the recall election.