By Scott Bauer
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin got in a spirited online battle of words Thursday over President Donald Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Baldwin announced that she would vote against Trump’s pick, federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch, after previously saying she would fully review his record before making a decision. Walker tweeted that Baldwin is “out of the mainstream” for not meeting with Gorsuch. Baldwin responded, “Your opportunity to weigh in on Gorsuch ended with your short-lived Pres campaign. Focus on fixing WI’s roads and bridges.”
Walker’s run for president ended in September 2015. The state’s roads budget faces a nearly $1 billion shortfall.
Walker shot back to Baldwin’s jab, “Maybe that plays well in Madison but the rest of the state would like a Senator.” And 25 minutes after that, he tweeted at her again: “Apparently pandering to liberal special interests in Washington is more important to you than listening to WI residents.”
GOP Rep. Sean Duffy, a potential challenger to Baldwin in two years, piled on. He called it “shameful” that Baldwin was rejecting Gorsuch before meeting him.
The online argument comes as both Baldwin and Walker prepare for re-election bids in 2018. Baldwin is running for a second term and will be a high priority target for Republicans. Walker is expected to seek a third term but said he won’t officially decide until later this year.
Baldwin said earlier Thursday that she had decided to vote against Gorsuch because he is not “mainstream” enough to get bipartisan support. Baldwin says she is particularly concerned with Gorsuch’s rulings “against disabled students, against workers, and against women’s reproductive health care.” A spokesman said Baldwin does plan to meet with Gorsuch.
Democrats are insisting that Gorsuch get 60 votes of support in the 100-member Senate, saying that would make it clear that Gorsuch is mainstream enough to be confirmed.
Republicans are accusing Baldwin of being a hypocrite since she had urged the Senate last year to quickly fill the vacancy caused by the death of Antonin Scalia. Republicans who control the Senate refused to take a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s pick Merrick Garland.
Walker on Wednesday sent an email to his supporters praising Gorsuch and urging Baldwin and other Democrats to vote to support him. Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson backs Gorsuch.
“Not only is Sen. Tammy Baldwin opposing a qualified nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court — she’s breaking her word to the people of Wisconsin after promising to ‘fully review Judge Gorsuch’s record’ before making a decision,” said Alec Zimmerman, state Republican Party spokesman.