In his fight to keep his political life afloat, Gov. Gavin Newsom has staked his future on how well he can emulate a budget-slashing tea party darling: former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker may seem an unlikely role model for the liberal Californian, but he has notched one big accomplishment that Newsom now covets. The Republican is the only governor in American history to successfully beat back a recall. He did so in 2012 by pivoting from playing defense on his record, namely a highly polarizing measure to clamp down on organized labor, to going on offense against those trying to remove him.
“We made it about union bosses,” Walker said in an interview, “and eventually [Tom] Barrett,” the Democrat who ultimately ran against him.
Newsom, a close labor ally, would almost certainly not endorse the sentiment, but his campaign has adopted an identical strategy. In his case, the foils are Republicans, whom Newsom never fails to connect to the recall.
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