On Wednesday, basking in the glow of a sweeping victory in the Democratic recall primary, Tom Barrett met with and accepted the backing of his former opponents.
On Thursday, he launched his campaign proper from the front yard of a home in Wauwatosa, the first stop on what he promises will be an old-fashioned face-to-face, meet-the-people effort across the state.
Barrett spent close to an hour chatting with about a dozen and a half supporters seated on lawn and deck chairs at the home of Lynn Broaddus and Marc Gorelick in the 500 block of North 68th Street.
One thing he did not mention was the proximity of the Broaddus-Gorelick home to another well-known Tosa residence.
Scott Walker and his family live an easy lob over the back fence, two doors further south on North 68th St.
Wauwatosa in his sights
However unlikely it might seem, the subjects say that was mostly the case.
The hosts' son, Evan Gorelick, works with the Recall Walker campaign in Waukesha County, Broaddus said. When he and others were asked if they could think of good places to hold "neighbor-to-neighbor" meetings, he quickly volunteered the family home.
For his part, Barrett, when pressed, said, "Wauwatosa is, I think, a community that is up for grabs, if you will. Obviously, Scott has his home here; I live not far from here as well; my wife teaches here."
"But I want to be the governor of all Wisconsin, so I'm going to go to neighborhoods throughout Wisconsin. Again, we're going to be in Green Bay, we're going to be in Wausau later in the day, and we're going to be doing exactly this. We're going to be talking to neighbors about moving this state forward."
Barrett mentioned that his wife, Kris, now teaches at nearby Jefferson Elementary School after being laid off after 12 years teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She is in her first year of teaching second grade at Jefferson. The Barretts live in Milwaukee's Washington Heights neighborhood, bordering Tosa on the east.
Barrett said the purpose of his person-to-person campaign strategy is to let people know he would be governor to the people of Wisconsin – not to out-of-state supporters who had provided two-thirds of the $25 million Walker raised in the lead-up to Tuesday's primary.
"We have a lot of work. We have 26 days remaining, and I will be outspent between 10-to-1 and 25-to-1. And I am still very optimistic because I believe that the people of this state understand that, at the end of the day, they don't want these out-of-state millionaires and billionaires to be deciding what's going to happen here."
One guest goes out of his way, another just keeps going
A surprise, mystery guest raised eyebrows when, before Barrett arrived, a large transit van, empty of passengers, manuveured down the narrow street between cars parked along both sides.
The driver waited for Barrett, then strode over to greet him like an old friend.
Alvin Fuller is a paratransit driver for First Transit. He said he had met Barrett at a clinic where Fuller was dropping off riders.
"He was just leaving the clinic where he had been having his hand treated after that attack," Fuller said. "He stopped and talked to me for quite awhile."
Fuller said he is a Barrett supporter in part because, he said, Walker had given an open paratransit contract to an Iowa company, costing his company jobs.
"These people from Iowa, they never set foot here," Fuller said. "They just opened the door to anybody with a van, and undercut us. It cost 40 good drivers their jobs."
One other visitor did not stop to chat or shake hands. A jogger passing on the sidewalk hailed the candidate and crowd with a hearty, "I stand with Walker!" without breaking stride.