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Oct 17, 2014 5:54 PM

Walker, Burke to debate for Wisconsin governor

The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke will make their closing arguments Friday in the final debate of Wisconsin's hotly contested governor's race.

A Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showed the race to be tied less than three weeks before the Nov. 4 election. Marquette polls since May have shown the race to be nearly even, other than one on Oct. 1 that showed Walker with a narrow lead.

Walker, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, is vying for a second term on the argument that he's turned around Wisconsin's economy, added more than 110,000 jobs and cut taxes by about $2 billion.

Burke, a former state Commerce Department secretary and executive at Trek Bicycles, says Walker has failed in his first term. She says he didn't fulfill a promise to add 250,000 private-sector jobs and isn't advocating for the middle class, as shown by his opposition to increasing the minimum wage.

Burke has been running strong against Walker in her first statewide campaign. Walker is appearing on the ballot for the third time in four years, having successfully defeated a recall in 2012 spurred by anger over his measure that took away collective bargaining power from most public workers.

Walker, speaking Friday morning at the annual conference of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, warned city officials that Burke would tie their hands financially by restoring collective bargaining.

Burke wants to restore the right to collectively bargain, but she supports retaining other parts of Walker's law, including the requirement that public employees contribute more for their pension and health care benefits.

Walker and Burke previously debated one week ago. They spelled out their differences on a variety of issues, but struck little new ground. A panel of broadcast journalists is questioning them at the final debate.


Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP


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