PEWAUKEE, Wis. - Wisconsin voters headed to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of a Republican governor who came to national prominence in 2011 after launching a successful battle to end collective-bargaining rights for most state workers.
CBS News is projecting that first-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker will win the Wisconsin recall election, CBS News estimates, beating back a labor-backed effort to unseat him and again handing defeat to his Democratic challenger, 58-year-old Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The recall fight, prompted by Walker's decision to strip Wisconsin public workers of their collective bargaining rights, has doubled as a proxy fight over whether Republicans can push through spending cuts and confront organized labor - and live to tell about it.
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Gov. Scott Walker, 17 months into his term, faced a recall election against Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a race closely watched nationally for clues about fallout facing other elected officials who cut workers' benefits to ease crunched budgets.
Walker's lost he would have been just the third governor to be removed from office in U.S. history. In the 2010 gubernatorial election, Walker defeated Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, 52%-46%. Polls show Walker with a narrow lead.