Gov. Martin O'Malley, continuing to build on his high national profile as head of the Democratic Governors Association, will travel to Wisconsin Thursday to campaign for the challenger in the effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Colm O'Comartun, executive director of the DGA, said O'Malley will make a one-day trip to the Badger State to support Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the hard-fought contest. O'Malley will follow that trip with a three-state swing through New England.
Walker, who was elected in 2010, was forced into a recall election after pushing through legislation stripping public employees in Wisconsin of collective bargaining rights. That action made him a target of organized labor, but also brought him a huge infusion of campaign cash from national business groups and conservative organizations.
O'Comartun said the DGA has already supplied $3.2 million to the Barrett campaign as part of a strategy adopted even before Barrett won the nomination in a primary earlier this month. Despite a wide gap in financing between the challenger and the incumbent, O'Comartun said Barrett is in "good shape" with days to go before the June 5 election. Recent independent polls have shown Walker ahead of Barrett, though a Democratic survey released Wednesday shows the race a dead heat.
The Wisconsin trip, which will take O'malley to Milwaukeee and Madison, will give the governor an opportunity to win friends among Democratic activists in what could be an important primary state for him if he decides to run for president in 2016. In recent months, O'Malley has been a frequent guest on Sunday morning network talk shows -- including an appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday where he said it was too early to be thinking about a presidential run.
After leaving Wisconsin, O'Malley will travel to Massachusetts Friday for an event with Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick and make an appearance Saturday morning before the state Democratic Party convention in the crucial early primary state of New Hampshire. He also plans an appearance that evening at a party event in Maine.