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Category “WI State Senate Races”

While Everyone’s Focusing on Ellis and Schultz…

…they seem to have for­got­ten there are actual Democ­rats to defeat next year. (But who am I to stop RINO hunters?)

One of those — who still hasn’t announced his plans — is State Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, win­ner of a con­tentious and poten­tially ill-gotten vic­tory in a recall against Van Wang­gard, in state Sen­ate Dis­trict 21.

Here’s Lehman’s recent cam­paign finance fil­ing, which was turned in on July 11th accord­ing to the GAB.  Yes, redis­trict­ing is play­ing a role in what’s hap­pen­ing here, but as you can see, you have to begin to won­der when the retire­ment press con­fer­ence is.

Lehman21 JanJune2013For those unable to see it, he raised a total of $250 in six months, of which all $250 came from a PAC.  He ended June 2013 with $2,820.01 cash on hand.

(That’s no where near Rob Zer­ban pathetic, but it’s close.)

Van Wang­gard, who has been seek­ing the seat since his recall loss raised over $25,000 in the six-month fund rais­ing time period; a more than healthy amount for a chal­lenger in a Wis­con­sin State Sen­ate race.  As for end­ing cash on hand, he’s got a tad under $26,000.

ASIDE: When com­par­ing these COH num­bers to other “to watch” seats in 2014, here are their num­bers accord­ing to the GAB.

  • 1st Sen­ate Dis­trict (Lasee) — Raised $46,589; COH — $46,411.
  • 5th Sen­ate Dis­trict (Vuk­mir) — Raised $23,760; COH — $27,475.
  • 19th Sen­ate Dis­trict (Ellis) — Raised $3,257; COH — $142,295.
  • 23rd Sen­ate Dis­trict (Moul­ton) — Raised $8,180; COH — $29,050
  • 29th Sen­ate Dis­trict (Petrowski) — Raised $8,804; COH — $21,600.


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JFC">30 Pieces of Silver Paid in Full, Wirch Gets Spot on JFC

The biggest shock here isn’t that Wirch is on Joint Finance.

It’s that incom­ing minor­ity leader Chris Lar­son (D-Milwaukee) bounced off Lena Tay­lor (D-Milwaukee) to put Wirch on and decided to keep La Crosse’s Jen Shilling — who was a main­stay dur­ing her Assem­bly days — on instead.

A Demo­c­ra­tic sen­a­tor said to have changed his vote for his party’s leader snagged a cov­eted appoint­ment Wednes­day on the Legislature’s pow­er­ful bud­get committee.

Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Somers) and Sen. Jen­nifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) were cho­sen to serve on the Joint Finance Com­mit­tee by incom­ing Sen­ate Minor­ity Leader Chris Lar­son (D-Milwaukee). Ear­lier this month, Lar­son beat his Demo­c­ra­tic col­league Jon Erpen­bach of Mid­dle­ton in a race for minor­ity leader.

After the vote, Erpenbach’s back­ers con­cluded Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) had voted for Lar­son after say­ing he would vote for Erpen­bach. One of them had noticed Wirch had folded his bal­lot mul­ti­ple times and was able to tell which bal­lot was cast by Wirch after the fact.

Justin Sar­gent, Larson’s chief of staff, said that the Mil­wau­kee Demo­c­rat hadn’t con­sid­ered the recent lead­er­ship vote in decid­ing on the com­mit­tee appoint­ments. Shilling, who had run for assis­tant minor­ity leader and lost to Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), was seen as being aligned with Erpenbach.

Under the soon-to-be replaced leg­is­la­ture, Tay­lor is the cur­rent co-chair of Joint Finance with soon-to-be Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington).  What exactly did she do to Lar­son to not only lose her senior­ity from the com­mit­tee, but to be bounced completely.

There’s got to be a story behind that right there.  Is it because the two don’t get along — a the­ory I don’t buy — or because the two faced off against each other in the pri­maries of Mil­wau­kee Assem­bly Dis­tricts where Lar­son (and WEAC) was seek­ing to replace many African Amer­i­can incum­bents who Tay­lor was close with?

It’s prob­a­bly the lat­ter, but the truth is, we’ll never know.  He’s only has two spots to fill, and prob­a­bly has a litany of rea­sons not to give each and every mem­ber of his cau­cus a spot on Joint Finance.

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WI State Senate Leader">Miller Stepping Down as WI State Senate Leader

Not unsur­pris­ing news, his chief of staff bailed to work for Mil­wau­kee Co. gov­ern­ment months ago.  The writ­ing was on the wall for weeks that some­thing was going to change depend­ing on last night.

Mark Miller has decided to step down from his post as Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­tic leader.

Miller’s office issued a state­ment Wednes­day say­ing he plans to quit his post when the cur­rent leg­isla­tive ses­sion ends in December.

The Monona Demo­c­rat ran unop­posed in Tuesday’s elec­tions. The state­ment doesn’t say why he chose to quit his lead­er­ship posi­tion and his spokes­woman didn’t imme­di­ately return tele­phone messages.

Ques­tion now is who takes over.  The log­i­cal guess would be ele­vat­ing Dave Hansen, the Assis­tant Leader, to leader, but con­sid­er­ing he didn’t want the job after the 2010 elec­tions (He briefly was “Leader” when they broke for cau­cus after for­mer Wausau state Sen­a­tor Russ Decker became the decid­ing vote against pub­lic employee con­tracts in the lame duck ses­sion, remov­ing him as leader.), you won­der if he prefers to be #2 in the cau­cus more for polit­i­cal reasons.

It is a lot eas­ier to knock out a guy in a swing dis­trict if he’s also the face of the oppo­si­tion, and no doubt Hansen knows that.

Erpen­bach is another likely option, since he’s prac­ti­cally been the media face for the cau­cus since “The Flee­ing.”  Frankly, the options among the 14 other mem­bers of the cau­cus not named Mark Miller are slim pick­ings.  They’re more bomb throw­ers than lead­ers, unless some­one decides to finally get seri­ous among the lot.


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A Sign of How State Senate Races are Going?

Pos­si­bly, or it’s just a jump in salary?

Only time and the bal­lot box in Novem­ber will tell.

The Mil­wau­kee County Board’s new lob­by­ist is Jamie Kuhn, a leg­isla­tive assis­tant at the state Capi­tol for 12 years.

Kuhn takes the job of direc­tor of inter­gov­ern­men­tal rela­tions, a post that has been vacant for more than three months fol­low­ing the retire­ment of Roy de la Rosa from the position.

Jamie brings excep­tional insights and invalu­able rela­tion­ships from her expe­ri­ence in state gov­ern­ment that will ben­e­fit Mil­wau­kee County and trans­late into real results,” County Board Chair­woman Marina Dim­itri­je­vic said Monday.

Kuhn will be paid about $88,000 in her county job.

Kuhn was chief of staff to state Sen­ate Major­ity Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona). She worked on his staff since 2000.

Tra­di­tion­ally, when you’re the top staffer of a leg­isla­tive body, you like being the top staffer of a leg­isla­tive body.  With it comes power, respect, and all the other “perks” of the job.

You don’t leave unless you’re either bored or try­ing to cash in all the power you’ve accu­mu­lated.  That tra­di­tion­ally means the lob­by­ist route.  Another rea­son folks leave is that they think they’re about to be ousted from power.

Is that what’s hap­pen­ing here?  Is Kuhn aban­don­ing ship because that 17–16 major­ity she leads is about to disappear?

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Green Bay Legislators Begin Unloading On Lena Taylor

More con­se­quences of her “Type in Face­book Account, Insert Foot” mentality.

Madi­son: Sen­a­tor Lena Tay­lor (D-Milwaukee) announced her plans to boy­cott Geor­gia Pacific. Sen. Tay­lor posted her inten­tions to boy­cott the com­pany on her Face­book wall and encour­aged oth­ers to boy­cott as well. Geor­gia Pacific employ­ees approx­i­mately 2,300 Wis­con­sinites in the city of Green Bay. Some fear that if the boy­cott is suc­cess­ful it could mean lay­offs for work­ers at the Green Bay facility.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steineke issued the fol­low­ing state­ment about the boycott:

Geor­gia Pacific has been an excep­tional employer for the Green Bay area and as a com­pany that employs Wis­con­sin cit­i­zens; I wish them noth­ing but the best and hope for their con­tin­ued growth so that we are able to see more posi­tions being added. Why some­one would wish ill on a com­pany that employs our cit­i­zens is beyond me.

This is absolutely irre­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ing. As an elected offi­cial, Sen­a­tor Tay­lor should be work­ing to cre­ate jobs in Wis­con­sin; not insti­gat­ing a boy­cott that puts Wisconsinite’s liveli­hoods on the line.”

Mayor Jim Schmidt of Green Bay also com­mented on Tay­lor in the media yes­ter­day as well, mean­ing the story prob­a­bly hits the Press-Gazette and TV sta­tions up there today or tomorrow.

The real ques­tion cir­cu­lat­ing around Madi­son in polit­i­cal watch­ers cir­cles is how long can state Sen­a­tor Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), who rep­re­sents the plants in ques­tion, stay quiet on this.  He’s up for re-election next year and despite dodg­ing the recall bul­let will be tar­geted in the new maps in play, and not speak­ing up for one of the old­est indus­tries in that dis­trict could be costly.

Then there’s the other things Hansen could do to her behind the scenes.  See, he’s Assis­tant Minor­ity Leader of the Demo­c­ra­tic cau­cus in the State Sen­ate.  Won­der if any polit­i­cal trips Lena had planned will sud­denly be can­celed and given to other members?

UPDATE: From the press releases issued today.

Rep. Chad Weininger ®

Rep. Tony Stasku­nas (D)

Noth­ing was issued from any of the 15 other State Sen­ate Democ­rats on Taylor’s remarks.

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Colbert SuperPAC Treasurer Resigns to be Perry’s Treasurer

Real pity the Sandy Pasch cam­paign and Cit­i­zen Action of Wis­con­sin never thought about doing this, huh?

No joke: Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Rick Perry and come­dian Stephen Col­bert, who last week bar­raged Iowa vot­ers with adver­tise­ments urg­ing vot­ers to sup­port “Rick Parry,” shared the same polit­i­cal com­mit­tee trea­surer – until they didn’t.

Sal­va­tore Pur­pura, who has rep­re­sented numer­ous polit­i­cal com­mit­tees as trea­surer over the years, told POLITICO that he resigned on Thurs­day as trea­surer of Colbert’s super PAC, Amer­i­cans for a Bet­ter Tomor­row, Tomorrow.

Then, on Mon­day, Perry — not Parry — for­mally filed paper­work with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion list­ing Pur­pura as his cam­paign treasurer.

Obvi­ously, there was a poten­tial con­flict of inter­est,” Pur­pura said. “I told [Col­bert lawyer] Trevor [Pot­ter] on Thurs­day I would not be able to be trea­surer any­more.” Pot­ter could not imme­di­ately be reached for comment.

To date, Pur­pura remains listed as trea­surer in FEC doc­u­ments for both Perry’s pres­i­den­tial com­mit­tee and Colbert’s super PAC, which Pur­pura attrib­uted to a paper­work lag time. Shauna Polk, an offi­cial at Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based law firm Caplin & Drys­dale, has assumed trea­surer duties for Colbert’s super PAC, Pur­pura said.

The Atlantic orig­i­nally reported that Purpura’s name appeared on both com­mit­tees’ paperwork.

Purpura’s online LinkedIn resume indi­cates he’s served as trea­surer or “direc­tor of trea­sury” for George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election cam­paign, John McCain 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, the U.S. Sen­ate cam­paign of Carly Fio­r­ina in Cal­i­for­nia and the cam­paign of Sen. John Booz­man (R-Ark.), among others.

Trea­sur­ers often do not have lead­er­ship and decision-making roles in polit­i­cal com­mit­tees, more often serv­ing in a finan­cial capac­i­ties depend­ing on the com­mit­tee. For Perry, Pur­pura says he’ll work as “CFO – man­ag­ing accounting.”

Trea­sur­ers are pretty much just over-glorified accoun­tants of polit­i­cal com­mit­tees.  In fact, dur­ing for the Ron John­son Sen­ate cam­paign, Ron actu­ally had a num­ber of accoun­tants act as his cam­paign trea­surer and deputy treasurer.

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“We Are Wisconsin” Loses La Crosse Offices in Fire">We Are Wisconsin” Loses La Crosse Offices in Fire

And I give it 12 hours before the con­spir­acy the­o­rists get to work on this news.

It just won’t stop burning.

A fire in the 400 block of Jay Street that has already claimed one build­ing stub­bornly refuses to go out, due partly, said Assis­tant Fire Chief War­ren Thomas, to its rub­ber roof.

Crews cut holes in the rub­ber, but the water gets trapped and can’t do it’s job prop­erly, he said.

With the burn­ing build­ing behind it knocked down, all the efforts of the La Crosse and Onalaska Fire Depart­ments is now on the front build­ing at 423 Jay St., par­tic­u­larly the south­east cor­ner. If the fire in that cor­ner gets out of con­trol, Thomas said, it could jump to the build­ing on the cor­ner at Fifth Avenue and Jay Street.

We don’t want it spreading.”

Begin­ning at about 9:30 a.m., crews attacked the fire from lad­der trucks high above the roof tops as the blaze spread south.

By late after­noon crews brought in an exca­va­tor to demol­ish one struc­ture after its roof col­lapsed ear­lier in the day.

The build­ings are home to six apart­ments, whose res­i­dents all escaped safely. Fire­fight­ers have been treated for heat exhaus­tion through­out the day, but no one was seri­ously injured.

The struc­ture also houses the local head­quar­ters for We Are Wis­con­sin, a Demo­c­ra­tic orga­niz­ing group. It is a total loss, said group spokesman Kelly Steele.

Staff was inside when the fire broke out and escaped safely, he said.

It is unclear how the fire started.

At one point in the after­noon, it appeared the fire was under con­trol, but new clouds of black smoke began bil­low­ing from store­front and apart­ment windows.

Police have blocked off Fifth Avenue from Main Street to Jay Street. Offi­cials ask that you avoid dri­ving down­town near the fire.

Given past reports from the gang at MacIver, I will admit, I’m a bit shocked to see the Shilling cam­paign offices weren’t effected either.

In mul­ti­ple cities across the state, recall cam­paign offices for Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­dates and “We Are Wis­con­sin” offices share the same building.

No coor­di­nat­ing there, right?  (Where’s a BS com­plaint fil­ing from Mike McCabe to the GAB when you need it?)

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SUV?">Wait a Minute, Fred Clark Hit a Guy With His SUV?

Yeah, while clearly run­ning a red light too.

It’s at the 40 sec­ond mark of this video.

And to read “Poli­ti­FACT” try to spin it to the even­tual “TRUE” rat­ing they have to give out is pretty nuts.

(Dis­claimer — I actu­ally had to track all this down in Jan­u­ary 2010 when I was doing oppo­si­tion research for state leg­isla­tive races for RPWThe police report is really some­thing when you go through it.

Clark would barely win his 2010 Assem­bly re-election by just 288 votes.

That’s why I laugh at all those who think Clark has a chance beyond Luther Olsen being com­pletely lazy on the cam­paign trail.  Sadly, that is pos­si­ble for those who know Luther.)

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So after weeks and months of won­der­ing when the Republican-led state leg­is­la­ture was going to unveil new dis­trict maps on Fri­day.  Some thoughts:

1) — Of course it’s a gerrymander…and I don’t care.

As some­one who’s heard of the rumored “Chvala Map” and it being in the hands of either for­mer State Sen­ate Major­ity Leader Russ Decker (Chuck Chvala’s wife was on his state Sen­ate staff) or Madison’s Jon Erpen­bach, you know these ideas have been kicked around for years, by both sides.

You’re a naive, bum­bling fool to think it’s only one side with “Evil, dia­bol­i­cal plans for total state polit­i­cal con­trol” when it comes to redistricting.

2) — The Harp­ing over the 7th is Hilarious.

I’ve said it before, but to watch the wail­ing and moan­ing from the likes of Dave Obey about his ex-district is funny.

For starter’s, it’s his ex-district!  If Dave is so wor­ried about it, why did he retire from Con­gress boys and girls?!?  (Sorry, still too soon?)

Do par­ties do all they can to shore up incum­bents and first term leg­is­la­tors?  Of course they do.

Heck, I remem­ber once on a com­ment board at either the Apple­ton Post-Crescent or Green Bay Press-Gazette where some Democ­rats openly dis­cussed how they needed to ensure after 2010 — if he was still in Con­gress, and he’s not — and they had con­trol of redis­trict­ing, to make sure Democratically-packed Oshkosh was included in any new bound­aries of the 8th Dis­trict to make sure Steve Kagen was secure.

Any­thing less they said, would make Kagen a per­pet­ual tar­get of the GOP.

(Never did ask Jef Hall, failed 6th Con­gres­sional Can­di­date, Win­nebago Co. Demo­c­ra­tic Party Chair, 2nd Vice Chair of DPW, and an older brother’s ex-rommie about his take on those plans…)

3) — Action now sought by Democ­rats makes them look “A Day Late, and a Dol­lar Short.”

Wis­con­sin Democ­rats con­trolled the State Sen­ate after the 2006 elec­tions, they con­trolled the State Assem­bly after the 2008.  So any calls for any sort of “Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion” right now are hol­low.  Democ­rats had their chance to enact one when they ran Wis­con­sin gov­ern­ment and they didn’t do it.

Per­haps some inquis­i­tive reporter-types should ask this session’s com­mis­sion pusher, Brett Hulsey (D-Madis0n), [Not to men­tion Mike McCabe or Jay Heck] why no one accom­plished this when his party had total con­trol of the leg­is­la­ture and the governor’s office?

Or do we already know the answer to that one?

4) — Movers and Real­tors to Benefit.

Yeah, this hap­pens often.  The ques­tion is now, do you want to fight it out in a pri­mary or is mov­ing just smarter to do.  I think Wigder­son has a solid list of those who will be putting “Two Men and a Truck” on speed-dial.

That being said, the fact they redis­tricted Nus­baum out of the 2nd State Sen­ate Dis­trict by mere blocks is pretty damn funny.

5) — The Local Redis­trict­ing Argu­ment is a Red Herring.

I think UW law pro­fes­sor Ann Alt­house puts it best.  While allow­ing locals to redis­trict first has been what’s worked in the past, we’ve also never seen local offi­cials more than will­ing to play polit­i­cal games at the rate they are.  What’s to stop Demo­c­ra­tic strong­holds like Shore­wood, Mil­wau­kee, or Madi­son to inten­tion­ally slow down their own redis­trict­ing until after the recalls.

Two can always play any polit­i­cal game.

6) — Amaz­ing How Eas­ily DPW For­gets Illinois.

You want to see a ger­ry­man­der, look to the Land of Lincoln.

This is how the law works in a num­ber of states.  Scream­ing, hold­ing ones breath, and jump­ing up and down won’t change it.  Win elec­tions, then you get to draw the lines!

 7) — The Kos Kids Con­tinue to Amuse.

Was read­ing over at Gruber’s blog how some­one at Dai­lyKos was putting the new dis­tricts and com­par­ing them to the 2008 elec­tion. For the life of me, I do not under­stand why any­one would want to use 2008 elec­tion data (or 2010 data either) to deter­mine who will win a given dis­trict in Wisconsin.

The 2006 through 2010 elec­tions were waves — we seem to be hav­ing a lot of those lately — and waves give hor­ri­ble “nor­mal data” when it comes to vot­ing pat­terns.  My per­sonal take would be to use either the 2004 Pres­i­den­tial or 2011 State Supreme Court elec­tions as bet­ter mark­ers since those were base vs. base elec­tions and results in essen­tially ties in the state.

Maybe the state GOP should thank the Democ­rats for mak­ing the Prosser race close after all.

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We Are Wisconsin’s “Ricca Moment”

Con­grat­u­la­tions guys.  You join an elite company.

The lat­est smear launched by We Are Wis­con­sin, a union backed front group, appears to star the daugh­ter of WEAC’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Dan Burkhal­ter. Burkhal­ter, who has a $242,000 a year com­pen­sa­tion plan, lives with his fam­ily in Mid­dle­ton, roughly 90 miles away from Alberta Darling’s Sen­ate District.

Union bosses have been dis­tort­ing the facts for years. Now it appears that WEAC is drum­ming up fake con­stituents to mis­lead vot­ers in the 8th Sen­ate Dis­trict,” said Darling’s cam­paign man­ager Andrew Davis. “Dan Burkhal­ter and his $242,000 a year com­pen­sa­tion pack­age would like you to believe that Repub­li­cans are tak­ing money out of the class­room. Yet it’s union bosses like him who have made a for­tune off of forced union dues and have fought against mod­est com­pen­sa­tion reforms.”

(Read here, or here for the “Ricca” reference.)

For their next trick, I hear “We are Wis­con­sin” will be com­ing out with an ad where they’ll be using old Pack­ers game footage with­out get­ting the NFL’s express writ­ten consent.


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