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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">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">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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