Category “2010 WI-07 Race”

But The Seat’s Not “Red”…Yet

From this morning’s “Morn­ing Score” email from Politico, which I called last night.

PICKING FAVORITES: The DCCC is announc­ing 11 new addi­tions to its “Red to Blue” list of tar­geted races Mon­day, with two par­tic­u­larly telling names on the list: Hawaii state Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Colleen Hanabusa, the non-DCCC-favored can­di­date in last month’s spe­cial elec­tion for her state’s 1st Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, and West Vir­ginia state Sen. Mike Oliv­e­rio, who ousted Demo­c­ra­tic Rep. Alan Mol­lo­han in a May pri­mary. Nei­ther of those con­tenders was their party’s top choice; both of them are now the standard-bearers Democ­rats have set­tled on for Novem­ber. Also on the list: Tar­ryl Clark (in MN-06); Chad Causey (in AR-01); Joyce Elliott (in AR-02); Denny Heck (in WA-03); Julie Lassa (in WI-07); Gary McDow­ell (in MI-01); Tommy Sow­ers (in MO-08); Manan Trivedi (in PA-06) and Trent Van Haaften (in IN-08).

NOTABLE: Seven of those seats are actu­ally not tar­geted for flip­ping from “red to blue” — they’re open seats being tar­geted for retention.

(The “Pick­ing Favorites” open­ing at the start of that para­graph is the actual word­ing used in the email.  It’s irony apply­ing to what the DCCC, DPW, and David Obey did is just deli­cious to no end.)

As I posted last night in my com­pi­la­tion post, the DCCC doesn’t have a catch-all pro­gram for its seats like the NRCC’s “Young Guns,” so they’re pig­gy­back­ing the name “Red to Blue” for many of the Democratic-held open seats this cycle.  The con­fu­sion (and irony) is that many of these seats were never “Red” in the first place.

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“Duffy Recipient of Underage Slave Labor”">Duffy Recipient of Underage Slave Labor”

Oh, I’m sorry.  Some­how I had got­ten a look at what was on the desk of Mike Tate and Graeme Zielin­ski over at the Demo­c­ra­tic Party of Wis­con­sin when they got a view of this video on YouTube.

I mean, they have to spin it bad for Duffy some­how, right?  We can’t have 14 year old boys — out of the sheer good­ness of their heart and in the name of being neigh­borly — cut­ting the Duffy fam­ily lawn for free so Sean can get extra time on the cam­paign, can we?

That’s just not right!

…and why isn’t some kid in Stevens Point doing that for Lassa on YouTube…right now?!?

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New 7th District Democrat Once Ran in Texas as Republican

Hey, looks like the Jour­nal Sen­tinel now gets to work on the Demo­c­ra­tic ver­sion of their famed Dick Leinenkugel edi­to­r­ial from last week.

This ought to be fun.

A man run­ning for Con­gress in Wis­con­sin as a Demo­c­rat made an unsuc­cess­ful bid for a Texas seat in 2006 as a Republican.

Joe Reas­beck of Iron River has announced he will chal­lenge state Sen. Julie Lassa of Stevens Point for the Demo­c­ra­tic Party nom­i­na­tion to suc­ceed retir­ing Rep. Dave Obey.

Reas­beck is get­ting atten­tion for run­ning a 2006 write-in cam­paign for a Texas con­gres­sional seat that had been held by Rep. Tom DeLay. He earned 89 votes in the race, which was won by Demo­c­rat Nick Lampson.

Reas­beck and other Repub­li­can can­di­dates were listed as inde­pen­dents on the bal­lot after DeLay’s name was removed. But he said he was run­ning as a Repub­li­can at the time and his cam­paign listed his party affil­i­a­tion as Repub­li­can in a fed­eral filing.

This rev­e­la­tion — which I admit see­ing over the week­end when I did my Google search, but fig­ured they were two sep­a­rate indi­vid­u­als, not one indi­vid­ual — pretty much will put Reas­beck into a cat­e­gory reserved for many polit­i­cal after-thoughts.

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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Often Go Awry

So much for the Democ­rats avoid­ing a pri­mary in the 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict. Not that Dave Obey, Mike Tate, and oth­ers didn’t try.

One almost have to love the act­ing job Rep. Louis Molepske Jr. (D-Stevens Point) did in his role of “Lone Elected Offi­cial Hold­ing Out and Think­ing About Chal­leng­ing the Estab­lish­ment.”   Stel­lar work sir.

Emmy wor­thy actually.

An author and inter­net con­sul­tant from Iron River, Wis­con­sin wants to grab retir­ing Wis­con­sin Con­gress­men Dave Obey’s seat.

Joe Reas­beck is expected to make the offi­cial announce­ment tomor­row morn­ing at the Richard Bong Museum in Superior.

Reas­beck, who will be a Demo­c­ra­tic con­tender, says he seeds a need for lead­er­ship to cre­ate sus­tain­able jobs that help diver­sify the econ­omy. He says it’s impor­tant because local eco­nom­ics today are com­pet­ing with the world.

Reas­beck most recently served as an advi­sor on the Google Twin Ports Movie.

Wis­con­sin State Sen­a­tor Julie Lassa is also cam­paign­ing for the 7th dis­trict office on the Demo­c­ra­tic ticket.

Ash­land Dis­trict Attor­ney Sean Duffy and Dan Mielke are the Repub­li­can con­tenders for the seat.

A quick Google search on Reas­beck finds that his is the author of “Near­fall,” the story about two broth­ers on their high school wrestling team.  It hit paper­back in 2007.   Another link shows their was talk about mak­ing it into a movie in 2009.

So if all of the above is true, he’s going to have money pos­si­bly attached to him.  Which likely means Lassa won’t have a “gnat,” but an actual chal­lenger here depend­ing on how series of a run Mr. Reas­beck puts it.

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State Expects Only 20,000 New Jobs in 2010

You have to love the quote from State Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) here.  Of course his busi­ness is see­ing improve­ment, isn’t his print shop in Madi­son the one all the state leg­isla­tive Democ­rats usu­ally go to in Wis­con­sin to get their bumper stick­ers and other cam­paign needs?

(Could be wrong on that one…)

Wisconsin’s bat­tered econ­omy will add a pro­jected 20,000 jobs this year, and soon-to-be-released state tax col­lec­tions are also expected to show some strength, state offi­cials said.

But there’s a limit to these glim­mers of good news for a recession-weary state. The jobs growth fore­cast in the lat­est state Depart­ment of Rev­enue report is just over one-tenth of the jobs that have been lost since Jan­u­ary 2008, mean­ing a full recov­ery in employ­ment isn’t expected until early 2013.

In the mean­time, experts cau­tioned that there are still plenty of chal­lenges ahead for the state’s econ­omy and the state bud­get, which sup­ports crit­i­cal ser­vices such as schools and health care.

It’s pos­i­tive but it’s not much of a num­ber from a recov­ery stand­point,” David Ward, pres­i­dent of North Star Eco­nom­ics, said of the jobs fig­ure. “This is as slow as I’ve seen.”

The slow improve­ment is pro­vid­ing some ben­e­fits to the state’s strug­gling bud­get, said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), a small-businessman and co-chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Com­mit­tee. Pocan said still unre­leased state tax fig­ures for April will show some improve­ment over prior months in state income tax and sales tax collections.

Over­all, it’s been a very pos­i­tive month,” said Pocan, who believes the state’s econ­omy is finally mending.

April’s income tax returns make it a key month for state tax col­lec­tions — unex­pect­edly low col­lec­tions for the same month last year raised the state bud­get short­fall to more than $6 bil­lion, plung­ing the Capi­tol into a cri­sis. To bal­ance the bud­get, Democ­rats who con­trol state gov­ern­ment slashed fund­ing for schools and raised taxes on cig­a­rettes and the wealthy.

Now, the state bud­get is expected to fin­ish its two-year cycle in June 2011 with roughly $30 mil­lion in reserves in its main account, accord­ing to the non­par­ti­san Leg­isla­tive Fis­cal Bureau. That’s not even enough to run all of state gov­ern­ment for a full day, mean­ing that almost any hit to the bud­get could trig­ger a repair bill and call law­mak­ers back from recess to enact another painful round of bud­get cuts or tax increases.

Good to see the Democ­rats have put the State Sen­ate Com­mit­tee Chair­woman for the “Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee” as their cho­sen can­di­date in the 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict.  With job growth num­bers like that being fore­cast, it’s good to know they when with their strongest player in that department.

(Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

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WI-07">Shibilski Won’t Run in WI-07

Just break­ing from WisPolitics.com

It is no secret that I have had a desire to run for Con­gress if the oppor­tu­nity should arise. Since I learned of Dave Obey’s deci­sion, I have seri­ously con­sid­ered enter­ing the race. I believe I would have been a strong can­di­date with a good chance of suc­cess, and I’m grate­ful to the hun­dreds of peo­ple who expressed their sup­port and encour­aged me to run.

I would be less than hon­est if I didn’t admit that I wish there had been more time and a more open process to select a can­di­date. I think pri­maries are healthy, test a can­di­date, and give the win­ner momen­tum and energy.

How­ever, I have reluc­tantly decided not to run.

It is more impor­tant to elect a Demo­c­rat to suc­ceed Dave Obey than it is to elect Kevin Shibilski.

There is a short time frame for this cam­paign; the Repub­li­cans have a head start. I will be as active as I can be, in any way I can, to see that Wisconsin’s 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict remains in the Demo­c­ra­tic column.

All that remains for a pos­si­ble pri­mary chal­lenge for the Democ­rats for the hand-picked can­di­date, State Sen­a­tor Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), is Rep. Louis Molepske Jr, (D-Stevens Point), who is said to be mulling a deci­sion.  It is no secret that top Democ­rats in Madi­son and Wash­ing­ton, DC do not want a pri­mary.  Just yes­ter­day, Gov­er­nor Doyle him­self endorsed the idea.

Expect to see all sorts of polit­i­cal favors thrown at Molepske for him to stay out of the race.  That frankly, is sad.  So much for let­ting the peo­ple decide the can­di­date.  This is Wis­con­sin, birth­place of the pri­mary process after all.

Guess that need not apply when a con­gres­sional seat and the state leg­is­la­ture are on the line.

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WI-07">Lassa to Run in WI-07

Was she the one made “Heir Appar­ent” at the rumored sum­mit held by Obey over the past week­end in Wausau?  Or is she just the first one in?

Dem state Sen. Julie Lassa has decided to get in the race for the 7th CD to replace the retir­ing U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, sources tell WisPolitics.

One top Dem source said an announce­ment was “imminent.”

Lassa, 39, was elected to the state Assem­bly in 1998 and then won a spe­cial elec­tion in 2003 for her Sen­ate seat, which cov­ers the Stevens Point, Wis­con­sin Rapids and Marsh­field areas along the south­ern edge of the 7th CD.

Of the polit­i­cal domi­noes, Lassa makes the most sense.  Her State Sen­ate seat is not up for re-election until 2012, so she can run and still keep her seat if she’s unsuc­cess­ful.  All other poten­tial elected leg­is­la­tors talked as poten­tial can­di­dates would have to relin­quish their seats for the Novem­ber elec­tion. No reported com­ment on whether they were going to jump in from State Sen­ate Major­ity Leader Russ Decker (D-Schofield), State Sen­a­tor Pat Kre­it­low (D-Chippewa Falls), Rep. Louis Molepske (D-Stevens Point), or Rep. Amy Sue Vruewink (D-Marshfield) as of today.

Wausau Attor­ney Chris­tine Brem­mer has already cho­sen not to run.

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WI-07 Now “Toss-Up”">Cook: WI-07 Now “Toss-Up”

Here it is:

With­out Appro­pri­a­tions Chair and 20-term Demo­c­ra­tic Rep. Dave Obey on the bal­lot, GOP Ash­land County pros­e­cu­tor Sean Duffy sud­denly has a more real­is­tic shot at a seat in Con­gress than any other real­ity TV contestant-turned-candidate before him (which, we know, isn’t say­ing much). In the cur­rent polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment, any heav­ily working-class seat that falls close to the national par­ti­san aver­age (PVI D+3) isn’t the type of open seat Con­gres­sional Democ­rats want to defend. Pres­i­dent Bush came within one per­cent of car­ry­ing this seat in 2004.

You can’t blame Obey for admit­ting he’s “worn out” from Con­gress. Yet Obey’s retire­ment isn’t likely to trig­ger a log­jam of Democ­rats headed for the exits, as most fil­ing dead­lines have now passed. Instead, Obey’s announce­ment may trig­ger a log­jam of Demo­c­ra­tic hope­fuls for his seat. After all, the nom­i­na­tion hasn’t been up for grabs since 1969. And as Democ­rats eye a mid-September pri­mary, Duffy is sit­ting on plenty of money he raised in part because his bid against the Appro­pri­a­tions Chair has gar­nered plenty of national con­ser­v­a­tive interest.

This dis­trict becomes the 13th mar­ginal open seat Democ­rats will have to defend. And it’s by no means the most per­ilous. Even though this dis­trict is 95 per­cent white, it has a strong pro­gres­sive tra­di­tion dat­ing back nearly a cen­tury, and Duffy can’t sim­ply expect to win by run­ning as a standard-issue con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can. Democ­rats will have plenty of ammo against Duffy and will try to por­tray him as too flashy and attention-seeking for a hum­ble Wis­con­sin north woods elec­torate. Indeed, Duffy may be more per­son­ally rel­e­vant in a cam­paign against a Demo­c­rat who lives and works in Wis­con­sin rather than the House’s most pow­er­ful com­mit­tee chair.

Still, the cur­rent enthu­si­asm gap between the par­ties and the com­pet­i­tive­ness of this dis­trict at the national level war­rant mov­ing WI-07 from the Likely Demo­c­ra­tic col­umn to the Toss Up col­umn. The most impor­tant dis­trict to watch over the next month con­tin­ues to be PA-12, where the May 18th spe­cial elec­tion will tell us some­thing about voter inten­sity and atti­tudes in blue-collar areas Democ­rats have rep­re­sented for a long time.

Mean­while, the Jour­nal Sen­tinel gives the run-down on who might now get in on the Demo­c­ra­tic side, which is a clearly a once in a life­time occur­rence for likely many of these politicians.

U.S. Rep. Dave Obey’s abrupt announce­ment Wednes­day that he would exit the polit­i­cal stage shook up the race in the 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict — for both sides of the aisle.

Fun­da­men­tally, it instantly flips it from Demo­c­rat favored to a tossup,” said Charles Franklin, a Uni­ver­sity of Wisconsin-Madison polit­i­cal scientist.

About a half dozen Democ­rats — most of them state law­mak­ers — are con­sid­er­ing run­ning for the seat, said Obey and state Demo­c­ra­tic Party Chair­man Mike Tate. Mean­while, state Rep. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) left open the pos­si­bil­ity he would mount a cam­paign as well, which would cre­ate a tougher Repub­li­can pri­mary for Ash­land County Dis­trict Attor­ney Sean Duffy.

Democ­rats were shocked when Obey said he wouldn’t seek a 22nd term, but said they needed to quickly put their focus on who would run to suc­ceed him.

It’s May 5. The time to be stunned is short,” said Jim Smith, who has long worked on Demo­c­ra­tic campaigns.

Tate said he’d talked to sev­eral state law­mak­ers who are con­sid­er­ing get­ting in the race and that a Wausau attor­ney was also think­ing about join­ing the Demo­c­ra­tic field.

He said he believed Democ­rats would work out among them­selves who is the best can­di­date and avoid a pri­mary for a seat that’s been off-limits to other Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­dates for four decades.

Two things:

1) Tate’s kid­ding him­self if he thinks he can avoid a pri­mary in this seat.  It’s been forty years since this seat opened up.  Can one really believe that many of these egos are going to just set their dif­fer­ences aside for the sake of “hang­ing on to the seat?”

Yeah didn’t think so.

2) Half the fun of what’s about to hap­pen now is watch­ing where the domi­noes fall in this dis­trict.  Will Decker run, which will cause Petrowski to run for the 29th State Sen­ate Dis­trict instead of pos­si­bly get­ting in a pri­mary with Duffy?  Does Siedel run which pretty much ensures a com­pletely new lead­er­ship in the Assem­bly Demo­c­ra­tic Cau­cus with the Nel­son run for Lt. Governor?

The Chi­nese proverbs indeed had it right; “May you live in inter­est­ing times…”

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Obey to Retire

Yeah, I’m late to the party on this.

Bone-tired and fac­ing a tough polit­i­cal land­scape at home, House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man David Obey announced Wednes­day that he won’t seek re-election, end­ing a 41-year House career stamped by his unique tal­ent and tempestuousness.

Rarely does a com­mit­tee chair­man of such power just walk away, and Obey’s deci­sion is both a blow to Democ­rats and marks the pass­ing of one of the last major lead­ers of the 1970’s reforms that reshaped the mod­ern House.

I am ready to turn the page, and frankly, I think that my dis­trict is ready for some­one new to make a fresh start,” Obey said in an after­noon press con­fer­ence in his committee’s meet­ing room.

Despite poor polls at home, he insisted that could win re-election in Novem­ber but admit­ted he feared another reap­por­tion­ment fight in the next Con­gress and a shift in the pub­lic mood against the aggres­sive pub­lic invest­ments which have been his trademark.

I do not want to be the posi­tion as chair­man of the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee of pro­duc­ing and defend­ing low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor leg­is­la­tion that is inad­e­quate to that task,” Obey said, “And given the mood of the coun­try, that is what I would have to do if I stayed.”

The chairman’s retire­ment is not entirely a sur­prise, but as of late Tues­day night, Obey’s staff had insisted he was run­ning aggres­sively and had hired cam­paign staff. Only Wednes­day morn­ing did a per­son close to him con­firm to POLITICO that he was leav­ing, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was only informed then as well.

Let’s state the obvi­ous here: This is huge news in Wis­con­sin, no mat­ter what your polit­i­cal align­ment.  Obey was a fix­ture (an angry, fire­brand of a fix­ture) for over forty years and it will feel odd with him not being there.  It is odder still that he’s retir­ing, just like that.  A part of me always felt the only way David Obey was leav­ing Con­gress was in a pine box.

Let’s go over the basics of this new par­a­digm in Wis­con­sin pol­i­tics shall we.

1) Mike Tate, please go change your pants.  No one will blame you if you need to.

Makes you won­der if the wun­derkind best known for false robo-calls to the elderly was expect­ing both Doyle and Obey to step aside in 2010 when he was anointed last summer.

2) Duffy Cam­paign take the vic­tory lap, you’ve earned it.

I hon­estly grew to believe as this cam­paign between Duffy was gear­ing up, that Obey had for­got­ten how to cam­paign over the years.  Then add in the new mod­ern envi­ron­ment of cam­paigns with web­sites, blogs, social net­work­ing, and the like and you won­der how he was going to han­dle it all.  My friend Patrick Ruffini (a Duffy cam­paign con­sul­tant for his web­site and new media) told me at CPAC that the Obey cam­paign had finally set up its first cam­paign web­site in Jan­u­ary and that prior to this cycle, Obey had never felt the need to put one up.

That fact alone, if true from what Ruffini told me, was itself telling.

3) If you know who the Democ­rats are going to run in Obey’s stead, please call me.

Going through the num­ber of Democ­rats in the 7th, I look at who not only could run, but could win.  Log­i­cally, since he’s cov­eted the seat for years, State Sen­ate Major­ity Leader Russ Decker (D-Schofield) would make sense…if it weren’t this year.  Now he’s got bag­gage from this past leg­isla­tive ses­sion — $5 Bil­lion in new taxes for starters — that would give off a stink and it will effect not only him, but all leg­is­la­tors from North­ern Wis­con­sin as well.

My early guess of who runs? A mayor or vil­lage pres­i­dent from the district.

One does won­der if they’ll be a pri­mary up there …

Democ­rats in the 7th — hell the entire state — are deal­ing with the loss of their God­fa­ther.  It’s going to be odd to see once the griev­ing process is over.

4) Kagen Must Really Be Scared Now.

Admit­tedly, this demand by Marc Savard for Kagen to fol­low Obey’s lead and resign from Con­gress is about the dumb­est thing I’ve read today, but the adding on from a num­ber of 8th Con­gres­sional cam­paigns (Wis­Pol­i­tics links to press releases by Trager and Rib­ble) is just a reminder to Kagen that it’s going to be a tough year for Democ­rats on the Con­gres­sional level.

When you have Dave Obey bail­ing on re-election, what does it say about Kagen’s chances?

5) Duffy’s the Front-Runner.

That’s pretty much assumed at this moment by every­one, and it will be inter­est­ing to see what the var­i­ous polit­i­cal hand­i­cap­pers (Cook, CQ, Rothen­berg) now list WI-07 by the end of the week.  For now, Duffy has the cash, the name expo­sure, the good mojo, a new baby, and the Democ­rats are search­ing for a can­di­date or two to raise money for.

Not a bad month.

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Obey Polls His District, Doesn’t Release Findings

Inter­est­ing lit­tle tid­bit pointed out by Reid Wil­son at the Hotline.

Amid a tur­bu­lent polit­i­cal cli­mate, many Dem mem­bers of Con­gress held off polling their dis­tricts dur­ing the first quar­ter, hop­ing to get a more accu­rate look at the land­scape before they begin their ’10 cam­paigns in earnest.

Poll­sters and House Dem lead­ers have warned incum­bents that results they received dur­ing the height of the health care debate would not present an accu­rate pic­ture of the elec­torate. While bench­mark polls are usu­ally taken early in the cycle, FEC reports show most of the Dem cau­cus took that advice.

Tellingly, those who decided to poll any­way have not released results, sug­gest­ing those polls show them per­form­ing poorly against their poten­tial or generic GOP rivals.

The list of incum­bents who polled their dis­tricts includes both vul­ner­a­ble fresh­men, like Reps. Deb­bie Halvor­son (D-IL) and Harry Teague (D-NM), and entrenched incum­bents, like Reps. David Obey (D-WI) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND).

None of the half dozen Dems who appear to have polled last quar­ter released their results. Halvor­son, who spent $17.5K at the Dem polling firm Anza­lone Liszt on Feb. 10, denied through a spokesman that her cam­paign had even paid for the poll. It was, the spokesman said, pay­ment for past polling expenses.

Rep. Joe Don­nelly (D-IN) has spent the most on polling this cycle, blow­ing through $42K for 2 sur­veys con­ducted by Cooper Secrest Asso­ciates. Donnelly’s cam­paign declined to com­ment on his poll results. Mean­while, Obey spent $30K for a Feb. poll con­ducted by Hart Research Asso­ciates, the well-regarded Dem firm, and Pomeroy spent another $20K there for a Jan. poll.

Admit­tedly, a poll done in Feb­ru­ary on an elec­tion year is use­less when it comes to the what’s going to hap­pen in Novem­ber.  But the sim­ple fact Obey has polled this early in the cycle shows he’s clearly wor­ried by the cam­paign Ash­land County DA Sean Duffy has put against him.  It doesn’t indi­cate Obey’s going to lose; it just showed he’s wor­ried about this fall.

Also explains the tone com­ing from Demo­c­ra­tic Party of Wis­con­sin in press releases against the Duffy Cam­paign.  Word of free advice to the Duffy Campaign…ignore Mike Tate.  The guy’s full of it and only wants the reac­tion out of you.

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