Shuler's right that the Democratic primary has not grown nasty. But Barrett only recently got into the race and both he and Falk are trying to underscore positive introductory messages. By the end of April, that picture could change.
As a result of the competition on the Democratic side, the eventual nominee will also have to expend resources that would otherwise be there in the head-to-head against Walker. The primary is on May 8 with a general election slated to follow on June 5.
Unsure of who the nominee will be, the Republican Governors Association and the Walker campaign have been hitting both Democrats in TV ads. Walker launched his first wave of attack ads against Barrett and Falk on Thursday.
AFL-CIO Political Director Michael Podhorzer, who appeared with Shuler at a briefing to provide an update on the AFL-CIO-affiliated super PAC Workers' Voice's electoral plans would not put an exact dollar figure on what labor will be spending in Wisconsin, but stressed that the financial metric should not the only one used to gauge the level of involvement from outside groups.
"They are going to spend two to three times as much as we are, at least," Podhorzer said. "The idea of Workers' Voice, the idea of this new style of organizing is to get around millionaires who can put an unlimited amount of money on the air."
With a White House race and congressional elections upcoming in November, labor, which spent millions in 2011 working to recall Republican state senators in Wisconsin, faces a tough decision over how heavily it wants to invest in what is shaping up as a tossup race in the Badger State.