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Category “2010 WI Governor’s Race”

FoxNews September 20th, 2010

Disclosure: Authored by Kurt

This aired on Foxnews this morning if anyone missed it.

Walker on Foxnews

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Photo of the Day

From the State GOP, a picture of their billboard advertisement on the road leading to their state convention; scheduled for this weekend in Middleton, just northwest of Madison.

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Walker’s State Convention Video

Just made available from the Walker Campaign.

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RPW 2010 Livestream

I’m mostly doing it via Twitter.  I find it much easier to type away there than hitting the “UPDATE” button over and over again.  Please go there, if you aren’t following me on Twitter already.

Last night’s tidbits:

1) The big “CR Leader Defection” is a total dud for the Democrats here at RPW.  Especially when you add in the fact — well known to Madison insiders for weeks — that DPW very likely gave her a job and this stunt was part of the payoff.

2) Best Hospitality Suite Theme of Night One: Roger Roth for Congress’s German-themed “Roth-toberfest!” Beyond that, the rest of them were pretty hum-drum.

2a) Best Music in Suite: Scott Walker.  Nothing beats a live band.

2b) Best Food: Neumann, mostly because he’s the only one who had food to serve.

2c) Best Drink: Superior Mayor and Lt. Governor Candidate Dave Ross.  Sprecher Root Beer Floats baby!

3) The growing CW on both sides in Madison, is the Democrats have likely already lost the Assembly.

4) Paul Ryan had to leave early.  His mother-in-law passed away last night.  My condolences to Paul, Janna, and the rest of the Ryan family.

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Quick Hits

The Band is Coming Back Together

Interesting new findings from a poll via NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

Republicans have solidified support among voters who had drifted from the party in recent elections, putting the GOP in position for a strong comeback in November’s elections, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

The findings suggest that public opinion has hardened in advance of the 2010 elections, making it harder for Democrats to translate their legislative successes or a tentatively improving U.S. economy into gains among voters.

Republicans have reassembled their coalition by reconnecting with independents, seniors, blue-collar voters, suburban women and small town and rural voters—all of whom had moved away from the party in the 2006 elections, in which Republicans lost control of the House. Those voter groups now favor GOP control of Congress.

“This data is what it looks like when Republicans assemble what for them is a winning coalition,” said GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart. He said the Republican alliance appeared to be “firmer and more substantial” than earlier in the year.

Mr. Hart noted that, to his own party’s detriment, a series of major news events and legislative achievements—including passage of a sweeping health care law, negotiating a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia and making a quick arrest in the Times Square terrorism attempt—has not measurably increased support for Democrats. “A lot has happened,” he said, “but the basic dynamic of the 2010 elections seems almost set in concrete.”

A big shift is evident among independents, who at this point in the 2006 campaign favored Democratic control of Congress rather than Republican control, 40% to 24%. Now, independents favor the GOP, 38% to 30%.

Suburban women favored Democratic control four years ago by a 24-point margin. Now, they narrowly favor Republicans winning the House. A similar turnaround has happened among voters 65 and older.

“This is the inverse of where we were four years ago, and in a way that projects to substantial Democratic losses in November,” Mr. McInturff said.

Batten down the hatches if you’re a Democrat.  There’s a storm a-comin’.

The Gard Endorsement of Neumann

I’m in that “Do Endorsements Matter Anymore?” camp (I mean, seriously, who cares that Bob Dohnal endorsed Terri McCormick today?  Dohnal hasn’t mattered in years…yes Bob, feel free to explain to me otherwise in the comments because I know you will)  so I truthfully wonder if the Gard and Zeuske endorsements matter much.

Also, anyone looking too deep into the meaning of the endorsement as some sort of ideological fight (Patrick, John Gard is a RINO only in your mind and Mark Belling’s microphone, move on already.) is kidding themselves.  There’s been bad blood between Gard and Walker all the way back to their Assembly days when Gard was rising through the ranks of leadership and Walker was a back-bencher.  It’s your classic ego-clash.

An aside, like Wigderson, I got the same email from Walker Campaign Communications Director Jill Bader he got.  It’s stuff like that which makes me say “I like Scott, but I have issues with the Walker Campaign” more than I’d like to.

Seriously, can both Neumann and Walker campaign stop acting like a bunch of cranky 3rd graders already?  That, or save us all the trouble of watching you snipe at each other for the next four months and have the fight to the death like real men?  I hear the Thunderdome’s open to the public every third Friday.

Deficit at 400% Annual Increase

One wonders how the printing presses haven’t broke down yet…

The United States posted an $82.69 billion deficit in April, nearly four times the $20.91 billion shortfall registered in April 2009 and the largest on record for that month, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

Outlays during April rose to $327.96 billion from $218.75 billion in March and were up from $287.11 billion in April 2009. It was a record level of outlays for an April.
It was more than twice the $40-billion deficit that Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast and was striking since April marks the filing deadline for individual income taxes that are the main source of government revenue.

Department officials said that in prior years, there was a surplus during April in 43 out of the past 56 years.

The government has now posted 19 consecutive monthly budget deficits, the longest string of shortfalls on record.

For the first seven months of fiscal 2010, which ends September 30, the cumulative budget deficit totals $799.68 billion, down slightly from $802.3 billion in the comparable period of fiscal 2009.


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He’s a Lame Duck You Say?

Welcome to “Lame Duck Status” Governor Jim Doyle —  a wholly-owned subsidiary of WEAC, about to be replaced by a newer model — it must really be having an effect on your ego.

Yeah, too bad the only waning effect Jim Doyle won’t have is if a properly-run Republican campaign for Governor is able to use him as an anchor to bury Tom Barrett with.  Is there really any issue that Barrett has tried to distance himself from Doyle from since announcing his run last November?

That’s going to be something I really need to look at for the next couple of months.

Democrats in charge of the Legislature and the governor’s office couldn’t pass signature priorities at the end of the legislative session on energy, education and transit, revealing how much outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle’s clout has waned.

The death of major pieces of legislation – including a bill meant to curb global warming – also could be attributed to a weak economy, a record budget deficit, a poor political climate and thin majorities in both houses, according to legislators and political observers.

“There is little doubt that this governor, at this stage in his term, is not at the peak of his power,” said Democratic political strategist Evan Zeppos. “And not running for re-election further weakens him.

“But when you start with a rocky relationship with the legislative leadership, an election coming and you’re dealing with difficult issues, well, it’s hard to get business done up there, for any governor.”

Other major bills that fell by the wayside would have created or expanded regional transit authorities and allowed people to register to vote online. The transit bill would have allowed the sales tax in Milwaukee County to increase by up to half a cent, to 6.1%.

Doyle and other Democrats said while they didn’t get everything they wanted, they made major progress in the two-year legislative session by providing tax credits to businesses that create jobs; expanding access to health care; cracking down on drunken driving; regulating payday loans; and passing a smoking ban that takes effect in July.

Another bill that passed grants the state superintendent of public instruction more power to fix failing schools.

But education reform fell far short of what Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wanted. Doyle spent months asking the Legislature to give the mayor the authority to appoint the Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent. But his fellow Democrats rebuffed him, even though Barrett is the leading Democratic candidate for governor.

Many expected Democrats to accomplish more, but they were doing what controlling parties often do. With elections looming in the fall, “to a certain extent, you are playing defense,” said Mordecai Lee, a former Democratic legislator and a professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“It’s sort of like in football when you sit on a lead. You want to give the opposition few opportunities to attack,” he said.

But Doyle has lost significant power. He can no longer dole out budget favors and has fewer appointments he can give away.

“The power of a governor is that they have both a carrot and a stick, and a lame duck has neither,” Lee said.

It’s not Doyle’s fault alone the Democrats in the legislature completely shot this opportunity.  Word is that Speaker Sheridan and Majority Leader Decker loathe each other, and had no real intent on getting along in the first place.  So, it’s always hard when you have sort of personal animosity going on to get a legislative agenda through.

With the legislative session pretty much over other than the clean-up, the focus of each side is now November.  Each side is or has already put together their targeted list of seats in trouble, seats they can capture and on and on (By my math, I’ve got already 4-5 GOP pick-ups, and 1 likely Dem pick-up in the Assembly; 1-2 GOP pick-ups in the Senate, a possible Dem pick-up), so that has to be taken into account with many of these pieces of legislation.

How many of these bill died because; truthfully, the votes weren’t there?  How many of these bills died because of lack of Doyle leadership as well as in-fighting between Assembly and Senate leadership?  How many of these bills died because; for pure political reasons, were not taken up because of how hard a vote it would be to defend come Election Day?

The bigger question voters must look at, will be who will be keeping these ideas alive for the next legislative session, and how determined they will be to make them the law of the Badger State.  That will be more likely to determine who is in the majority in Madison next January.

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Hilgenberg Not Seeking Re-Election

Had heard there was talk he wasn’t going to seek re-election, guess it was true.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Hilgenberg of Dodgeville is not seeking re-election.

The 65-year-old Hilgenberg announced Friday that he is not running due to health concerns.

Hilgenberg served two terms after being first elected in 2006.

Hilgenberg is the fourth Democrat and 11th Assembly member overall to announce they will not be seeking another term. Two Republicans and one Democrat in the state Senate are also not running for re-election.

Democrats hold a 52-46 majority in the Assembly and an 18-15 majority in the Senate.

What’s going to be interesting to watch this fall in the State Legislative races — beyond further retirements — is how the Democrats are going to be playing defense.  After winning both houses because of their back-to-back waves in 2006 and 2008, they now have the entire state legislature and governorship to defend (not to mention at least the Kagen seat).  Will it be an all-or-nothing approach where WEAC and the tribes to keep the Governor’s Mansion.

Or will they try to save at least one house of the legislature instead?

My guess, Democrats (and more than a few liberal bloggers) will take too much stock into the new Rasmussen poll and bet it all on Barrett.

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Nelson to Run for Lt. Governor(?)

Rumor reported by the Journal Sentinel is that Assembly Majority Leader Tom “Call me Thomas” Nelson (D-Kaukauna) is going to bolt on the Assembly and run for Lt. Governor instead.  Nelson’s entry not only would make him the fourth entrant in the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor; he’d also be the first entrant in that race who’s not from either the Madison or Milwaukee area.

Assembly Majority Leader Thomas Nelson (D-Kaukauna) is expected to get in the race for lieutenant governor — shaking up the race for that job and setting off a contest for the No. 2 position in the Assembly.

It also gives Republicans hope they can capture Nelson’s seat as they plot a course to win the majority in the Assembly.

Nelson did not return calls Friday and Monday, but his colleagues said Nelson started calling them a little over a week ago asking for their support in his run for lieutenant governor.

That means if Nelson runs and Democrats keep the majority after the November elections, they will have to elect a new majority leader.

Possible contenders include Assistant Majority Leader Donna Seidel (D-Wausau); Caucus Chairman Peter Barca (D-Kenosha); Rep. Pedro Colon (D-Milwaukee), who failed in his bid last year for majority leader; and Rep. Joe Parisi (D-Madison), who at the last moment dropped out of the earlier race for majority leader.

As majority leader, Nelson will be in charge of shepherding bills through floor debate as the Legislature spends two weeks wrapping up its regular session this month.

Republicans, who lost control of the 99-member Assembly in the 2008 elections, are hoping to gain four seats and take control of the house. They note that Nelson’s seat was held by a Republican, Becky Weber, before Nelson beat her in 2004.

Traditionally, the 5th Assembly District is a Republican-leaning district.  Nelson won that seat in 2004 in what was one of the dirtiest campaigns for an Assembly seat I ever saw via Northeast Wisconsin television.  He’s been able to hold it by working the district hard and drawing weak opponents in the two Democratic waves of 2006 and 2008.

Most with inside knowledge of the Democratic Caucus vote from earlier last year say Nelson got the Majority Leader’s spot by circumnavigating a fight between the caucus’s Milwaukee and Madison factions.  Word was that the Majority Leader’s position was always going to be Pedro Colon’s until all sorts of havoc broke loose.  What exactly happened is only known to the legislators in the AssDem Caucus (and of course, their staff).

The big speculation is why is Nelson doing this?  Admittedly, everything I’ve seen or heard about this guy is that he’s an ego-driven, ambitious, arrogant, power-hungry prick who’d sell his own grandmother down the river for power; so the idea that the Assembly (and being number 2 there) has bored him isn’t out of the question.  What better way to try to be Governor (or Congressman or Senator down the road) than be the state’s Lt. Governor for a term or two.

Another way to look at this is, as leadership, Nelson could be leaving his caucus high and dry in what could be a bloody Election Night come November.  What’s stranger is early money seemed to be on Waunakee businessman Henry Saunders seemed to be the choice of Democratic activists, power brokers, and party leadership.

Let’s not forget, on appearances alone, it gives one the impression the rat is leaving a sinking ship.

Or is he suddenly worried he too could be vulnerable this fall and is because of that, he’s bolting on the Assembly?

What then, is he hearing as he does doors in his district — something he’s not shy about mentioning on Twitter.

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Daily Quick Hits

Ricky Martin is Gay

Yeah, didn’t see that one coming. (Enough sarcasm there?)

The Latest RNC Issue

Clearly, the issue at hand is the RNC’s Finance Department, and whoever was the person in it who thought okay to approve the $2,000 expenditure at the West Hollywood club should either be disciplined or all-out terminated.  From indications posted at the Corner, there will be a sacking of some sort coming shortly.  One thing a lot of Republican candidates out West (the man at fault seems to be a California direct-mail consultant)

I do think dragging in Chairman Steele into this aspect of the story was unprofessional of the The Daily Caller, especially since they were backtracking on the story as the day went on in regards to the West Hollywood club.   Though, can we finally have a week where the RNC finances are not a story unto themselves?

What Are the Odds?

In a story about approval rating on Speaker Pelosi, the Washington Post called 1000 people at random for their input.  One of them was a “John Murtha of Orlando, Florida, who was quoted in the story.

Obviously the name rang some bells in political circles.  It was weirder than that, it was the son of the very late Congressman.

The Zoo SNAFU (Trademark Pending)

Watching the spin from a far on what has to have been the most avoidable transportation problem in Wisconsin history is a blast.  The Barrett guys look like they’re whining, the Walker guys can’t seem to have enough fun, and liberal bloggers are to the point of depravity.

My favorite is former Norquist aide James Rowen, who seems to think conservatives are happy the Zoo is a mess (Sorry Jim, were not happy, we’re simply pointing out it could have been avoidable.).  Admittedly, the irony isn’t lost on me hearing a former Norquist aide talk about the Zoo collapsing; since Barrett pretty much picked up the torch Norquist had carried when it came to highways and the Metro Milwaukee area.

The Neumann Rumor Mill

Having worked on campaigns before, let’s be clear with ourselves; it wasn’t a cool or smart move.  It’s also not the end of the world for the Neumann campaign or this young kid’s career.  It’s about a 1.75 out of 10 on the “Worst Things Campaigns can do to Each Other” Scale.  It’s amateur no doubt, but the lasting damage is negligible at least.  It’s an act which will be forgotten by next month.

The only comparable thing in primary campaigns past I’ve seen (and frankly she’ll be pissed I mention this again, but screw it we already hate each other) is when Katie Harbath was caught starting a whisper campaign of sorts June 2007 within the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign against the Mitt Romney campaign with sending an email to bloggers about a story in a Salt Lake City newspaper about “The White Horse Prophesy,” a discredited legend about a Mormon in the White House.  At the end, it caused a personal phone call of apology from Rudy to Mitt for the email.

What both Walker and Neumann campaigns (and bloggers siding with either side) should do is just let the story go.  The damage is done — mostly self-inflicted to Neumann — and there’s not much else to gain by bringing it up again. If there’s been a behind-the-scenes apology between both men, the better.

As for the staffer, buck up.  You screwed up.  It happens.  Now just keep you head down and do your job to the best of your ability.

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“Zoo Interchange” Bridge Closed Indefinitely

Just think, we’re gonna have some really nice highways to Illinois…

State authorities closed the Highway 45 bridge carrying traffic northbound over I-94 in the Zoo Interchange shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, fearing that overweight trucks could collapse the deteriorating span.

The bridge, which carries an average of 42,000 vehicles per day, will remain closed until its replacement is completed. That work, started in January as part of an emergency repair project, is expected to be done by Memorial Day.

“This is a public safety action,” said Ryan Luck, construction manager with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “There’s no room to gamble on this.”

After inspections detected dangerous cracking and deterioration of the bridge in the summer of 2009, the DOT imposed weight limits on three bridges in the interchange. They then acted to replace them, under an emergency contract.

Officials said that overweight trucks continued to travel on the northbound bridge, compounding the deterioration and creating a danger of collapse.

Northbound traffic will be detoured east onto I-94 and returned to the freeway via 84th St. and the westbound freeway.

This is the heaviest traveled highway in Wisconsin, even more so then the recent replaced “Marquette Interchange” in Milwaukee of I-43/I-94.  How this doesn’t have an effect on the Governor’s race given the history of it (Doyle and Milwaukee Democrats pushed repairs on the Zoo for YEARS because of the urging of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is running to replace Doyle.) is beyond me?

Somewhere, a bunch of Democratic spokes-flacks are huddled in a room in Madison (with a conference call to a room in Milwaukee for good measure) trying to figure out a way to deflect blame.

UPDATE: The Walker Campaign was nice enough to post a map of the detour the Zoo will now be undertaking.

Both the Neumann and the Barrett campaigns have chimed in as well on the Zoo Interchange issue as well.  Neumann comes off like he’s reading you the history of the problem (countless  transportation fund raids, in-fighting from Milwaukee politicians, and poor DOT planning).  Barrett sounds like they know they’re backed in a corner on this one and are lashing out; particularly at the Walker campaign.

Also, in what is a sure sign of the “Oh, $#!+” status for Barrett on this issue, it’s 4:15 CT — admittedly on a Friday — and I have yet to see a post from the usual set of liberal bloggers in the Cheddarsphere trying to spin this one.

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