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Experts disagree on Walker recall win's impact on U.S. Senate race

WTAQ voting graphic
WTAQ voting graphic

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - With the recall elections over, Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race is about to take center stage on the campaign trail.

The Republican primary is just 9 weeks from Tuesday. And at least some analysts believe that Governor Scott Walker’s victory might have helped GOP candidates Jeff Fitzgerald and Mark Neumann the most.

Former Governor and Bush Health Secretary Tommy Thompson has led the polls. But UW-Oshkosh professor Jim Simmons says Walker’s win made tea party groups believe they could elect true conservatives – and Assembly Speaker Fitzgerald and former House Republican Neumann could best fit the bill.

UW-Green Bay professor Michael Kraft agrees. He says the GOP has moved sharply to the right, thus making Fitzgerald and Neumann more electable.

But Marquette’s John McAdams says any bump from Walker could be marginal – and the recalls will probably be ancient history by the time the Senate primary rolls around on August 14th.

Fitzgerald has tied his campaign to the Walker budget reforms, and the speaker said he needed Walker to do well to have a chance. Neumann says the governor’s victory solidified the conservative agenda – and he said it’s what people want.

Thompson spokesman Brian Nemoir said his boss’s long record sets him apart.

Hovde, a hedge fund manager, has spent a lot of money to get himself known. But a recent Marquette poll showed that 72 percent still didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

The primary winner will face Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November for the chance to replace retiring Senator Herb Kohl.