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Category “2012 Wisconsin Senate Race”

Quote of the Day

Wis­con­sin junior Sen. Tammy Bald­win (D-Madison) to Politico on why she avoids the press.

I hired a com­mu­ni­ca­tion direc­tor for a rea­son,” Bald­win said, only after try­ing to evade a reporter twice by talk­ing to a staffer and just before hop­ping on a sub­way car to whisk her away from the crowd of media. “It’s just like in sign­ing on to bills, I have leg­isla­tive staff because I expect them to advise me.”

Is “I hired a com­mu­ni­ca­tion direc­tor for a rea­son,” the new “Would you like me to re-read you my statement?”

Well, she’s been in a cocoon cre­ated by the Madison-area press which has gushed over her since her state leg­isla­tive days.  How else was she sup­posed to act when faced with real ques­tions about pub­lic policy?

I mean, it’s not like she faced any of that dur­ing her elec­tion to the Sen­ate in last year’s campaign?

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This Means Tammy’s a “No” on Rice, Right?

There’s good oppo, and then there’s good oppo which comes back to bite you in the ass politically.

We’re about to see the latter.

The Wash­ing­ton Free Bea­con reports that likely Sec­re­tary of State Des­ig­nate and cur­rent U.S Ambas­sador to the United Nations Susan Rice has sub­stan­tial invest­ments in com­pa­nies that deal with Iran. As we well know from the just com­pleted U.S. Sen­ate race here in Wis­con­sin, our newest junior Sen­a­tor has some (appar­ent) major league issues with those who have invest­ments in com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Iran.

Rice has the high­est net worth of exec­u­tive branch mem­bers, with a for­tune esti­mated between $24 to $44 mil­lion, accord­ing to the Cen­ter for Respon­sive Pol­i­tics. A Free Bea­con analy­sis of Rice’s port­fo­lio shows thou­sands of dol­lars invested in at least three sep­a­rate com­pa­nies cited by law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill for doing busi­ness in Iran’s oil and gas sector.

The rev­e­la­tion of these invest­ments could pose a prob­lem for Rice if she is tapped by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to replace Clin­ton. Among the respon­si­bil­i­ties of the next sec­re­tary of state will be a show­down with Iran over its nuclear enrich­ment program.

That Susan Rice invested in com­pa­nies doing busi­ness in Iran shows either the Obama administration’s lack of seri­ous­ness regard­ing Iran or Rice’s own immoral­ity,” said Michael Rubin, a for­mer Pen­ta­gon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “Either way, her actions under­cut her abil­ity to demand our allies unity on Iran.”

The com­pa­nies in ques­tion appear to have con­ducted busi­ness with Tehran well after West­ern gov­ern­ments began to urge divest­ment from the rogue nation, which has con­tin­ued to enrich ura­nium near lev­els needed to build a nuclear bomb.

Finan­cial dis­clo­sures reveal that Rice has had $50,001-$100,000 in Royal Dutch Shell, a long­time pur­chaser of Iran­ian crude oil.

Royal Dutch Shell cur­rently owes Iran nearly $1 bil­lion in back pay­ments for crude oil that it pur­chased before West­ern eco­nomic sanc­tions crip­pled Tehran’s abil­ity to process oil pay­ments, Reuters reported.

For com­par­i­son, yes, Royal Dutch Shell was one of the seven firms the Tammy Bald­win cam­paign for Sen­ate when apoplec­tic on against Tommy Thomp­son for hold­ing. How­ever, Tommy held on $17,000, which is any­where from three to six times fewer than what Rice appears to be hold.

Hell, the entire for­mer Thomp­son Iran­ian port­fo­lio (just under $50,000) was less than Rice’s Royal Dutch Shell hold­ings alone.

So, of course comes the obvi­ous ques­tion to Bald­win: IF Iran­ian invest­ments were bad when Tommy did it, how is it dif­fer­ent when the poten­tial next Sec­re­tary of State is doing it? And if so, does that mean you will vote against her con­fir­ma­tion if the Pres­i­dent nom­i­nates her?

I’m sure Dan Bice will jump right on that one…

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Cartoon of the Day

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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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White House Signals Baldwin Campaign Already D.O.A

In a word: OUCH.

At a press brief­ing on Thurs­day in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Jay Car­ney, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s press sec­re­tary, was asked if the pres­i­dent planned on cam­paign­ing for Tammy Baldwin.

Bald­win is a Demo­c­rat con­gress­woman now run­ning for the U.S. Sen­ate seat held by U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). If elected, she would be the first openly gay per­son elected to the Senate.

Here was Carney’s answer:

I have no cam­paign announce­ments, sched­ul­ing announce­ments to make on behalf of the pres­i­dent. The pres­i­dent him­self has an elec­tion, as you know, in a few short months. But I have no cam­paign announce­ments to make.”

Car­ney was then asked if he had any­thing to say about the sig­nif­i­cance of Baldwin’s candidacy.

Said Car­ney: “Well, I think it is very sig­nif­i­cant. I think that what is most sig­nif­i­cant is that some­one qual­i­fied, like Ms. Bald­win, is run­ning for that office and would make an excel­lent sen­a­tor if elected.”

TRANSLATIONUm…we haven’t had the Pres­i­dent visit Wis­con­sin in 190 days (and count­ing).  Do you really want us to go into a sit­u­a­tion where the Pres­i­dent is con­nected to a likely loser?  Hey, we know the gay groups and the gay money wants a Bald­win win, but look at the polling.  She’s done for.

Mean­while, “Con Art Critic” over at Ace of Spades has already called it for Tommy.  It’s a tad early to do that in my opinion.

I would have wait­ing until the mid­dle of September.

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NYT/QC Poll — Tommy over Tammy by 6">CBSNews/NYT/QC Poll — Tommy over Tammy by 6

It’s on page 4, and the head­line being gen­er­ated in “Obama leads Rom­ney by only 2 in Wis­con­sin, Wel­come to Swing State Sta­tus,” but another day, another poll show­ing the for­mer gov­er­nor lead­ing the Madi­son congresswoman.

Here’s a screen grab, shrunken to fit:

As you can see, this is post-primary bounce, but it fits into the zone of other Dem-leaning polling out­fit num­bers.  I’m told this poll has a +4 D tilt, which frankly isn’t the Wis­con­sin vot­ing pub­lic anymore.

Poll­sters really need to start bas­ing their mea­sure­ments on 2000 and 2004 again when doing Wis­con­sin.  2008 was the anomaly.

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Today’s #Headdesk Moment of the Day…

…Is brought to us by two indi­vid­u­als.  John Kraus, long-time Demo­c­ra­tic cam­paign com­mu­ni­ca­tions flack and Charles Franklin, UW-Madison polit­i­cal sci­en­tist and polling expert now at Mar­quette Uni­ver­sity Law School as a vis­it­ing scholar.

In a press release on Fri­day meant to dis­credit the 11 point lead Ras­mussen had given for­mer Gov. Tommy Thomp­son, Kraus unleashed a hilar­i­ous and unhinged screed against the poll­ster who once upon a time with his dad helped start ESPN. (Look it up.)

As part of that screed, Kraus found lengthy quotes from folks like Nate Sil­ver, a smear job on Ras­mussen from the Wash­ing­ton Post printed in 2010, and a host of oth­ers.  One of those “oth­ers” quoted is Prof. Charles Franklin, as so:

Polit­i­cal Sci­en­tist: Ras­mussen Pro­duces Repub­li­can Results. Reported Politico, “He polls less favor­ably for Democ­rats, and that’s why he’s become a light­ning rod,” said Charles Franklin, a Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin polit­i­cal sci­en­tist who stud­ies polling. “It’s clear that his results are typ­i­cally more Repub­li­can than the other person’s results.” [Politico, 1/2/10]

Pollster.com: Ras­mussen Most Favor­able McCain Poll­ster in 2008. Accord­ing to a 2008 Pollster.com arti­cle by Charles Franklin, “The poll most favor­able to McCain is Rasmussen’s Track­ing poll at just less than –3 points.” [Pollster.com, 8/24/08]

Fast for­ward to today, when Franklin him­self released his own poll on the state’s U.S. Sen­ate match-up.  His find­ings – a 9 point lead for Tommy Thompson.

Mar­quette Uni­ver­sity Law School today released a poll con­ducted August 16–19, which demon­strates Thomp­son leads Bald­win by 10 points with reg­is­tered vot­ers. The poll find­ings in a head-to-head matchup:

Q15 (ALL REGISTERED VOTERS)

Thomp­son 50
Bald­win 40

Q15 (LIKELY VOTERS)

Thomp­son 50
Bald­win 49

That makes Franklin’s find­ings in-line with Rasmussen’s by a point or two in the sta­tis­ti­cal noise.  Only Dem-leaning PPP makes it even “close,” and that’s with Thomp­son with a 5-point lead.

So after all that noise and more polling prov­ing Thomp­son is  up early (and by a big mar­gin), the Bald­win folks didn’t bother to release a state­ment on the Mar­quette Law poll.

Maybe they’re going to let DPW attack Franklin again, since it worked so well the last time.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Doing Tammy’s Job For Her

Joe, Dar­rin, and Chad ought to be proud of themselves.

While they’ve cased the land­scape with nuclear mush­room clouds as far as ad-weary Wis­con­sin vot­ers can see on their tele­vi­sion sets and radios, all Tammy Baldwin’s had to do is run ads about her grand­par­ents and how she seems com­pletely inoc­cu­lous, when in fact she’s one of the most lib­eral, socialist-leaning rep­re­sen­ta­tives this state has ever sent to Congress.

But hey…eyes on the prize, right guys?

With Repub­li­cans engaged in a bit­ter pri­mary fight, Demo­c­ra­tic Con­gress­woman Tammy Bald­win has a lead over all her poten­tial GOP rivals in Wisconsin’s U.S. Sen­ate race.

The lat­est Ras­mussen Reports tele­phone sur­vey of Likely Wis­con­sin Vot­ers shows Bald­win receiv­ing 45% to 48% of the vote regard­less of which Repub­li­can she is matched against. She leads by mar­gins rang­ing from three to ten points.

The most com­pet­i­tive Repub­li­can at the moment is Eric Hovde, a wealthy polit­i­cal new­comer who has been adver­tis­ing heav­ily in his pri­mary bat­tle. He trails Bald­win by just three points (45% to 42%). For­mer GOP Con­gress­man Mark Neu­mann trails by six (48% to 42%), for­mer Gov­er­nor Tommy Thomp­son is seven points behind Bald­win (48% to 41%). The weak­est show­ing comes from Wis­con­sin State Assem­bly Speaker Jeff Fitzger­ald who is behind by dou­ble dig­its (47% to 37%).

This poll also takes away the one talk­ing point Team Tommy had going for it appar­ently — the one they could trounce Tammy with ease — that’s a lot of dam­age inflicted, self or otherwise.

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The Senate Endorsement Vote Post-Mortem

Alright, the vote was held. No one got the endorse­ment and a jerk-wad French Horn player from out of state who wasn’t there put his two cents in because he can’t help himself.

Good to know.

Here’s my take on things as they stand.

Win­ner — Jeff Fitzgerald

A cou­ple of weeks ago, the talk was his cam­paign was look­ing for a way to bow out grace­fully due to its ane­mic fund rais­ing.  The “win” in the final round of the endorse­ment vote will add some much-needed life to the cam­paign.  Hope­fully he makes the best of it.

Going in, the smart money was on Fitzger­ald going out first.  The turn­ing point was his speech.

Fitz” cap­tured the room when he told the story of the first week­end of the Capi­tol Siege. There, he told the crowd his biggest sense of unease wasn’t the pro­test­ers, wasn’t the chant­ing, and wasn’t even the death threats.  To him, it was the week­end just after the 14 state sen­a­tors fled to Illi­nois and he let his cau­cus go home for that week­end know­ing he had the votes on Fri­day to pass Act 10, but wasn’t sure they’d still be there when they came back on Mon­day or Tuesday.

He said some­thing akin to “I had no idea if what was sur­round­ing us in Madi­son was going to be await­ing for them back home; out­side their homes, their places of busi­ness and so on.  It was you who gave them the strength of their con­vic­tions.  You who told them to stand firm.  You who con­ferred to them they were doing the right thing.”

That vote was as much yours, as it was theirs.”

After that, he had the assem­bled crowd and the undecideds.

Chris­t­ian Schnei­der of NRO / WPRI and I both believed dur­ing the tab­u­la­tion of the 1st bal­lot that Fitz’s speech got him a spot in the 2nd bal­lot.  Lit­tle did we think it would get him past Tommy in the 1st bal­lot and put him squarely in the driver’s seat on decid­ing who was dri­ving  the “Not-Tommy / Not-Neumann” car to a no endorse­ment vote.

Minor Win­ner — Tommy Thompson

This is long game, but a more viable Fitzger­ald gives steam to the reg­u­lar con­ven­tional wis­dom of the over­all race — the more non-Tommy can­di­dates in the race, the more that helps Tommy.

It’s just a sim­ple restate­ment of the race dynamic.

Push — The Endorse­ment Process

Giv­ing the gam­ing of the sys­tem and behind-the-scenes bull of these events, you want to start say­ing a “Pox on All Your Houses!” to all these cam­paigns.  But, I’m sure the state GOP isn’t com­plain­ing for the cash for its cof­fers all those bused in del­e­gates and last-minute attendees.

Minor Loser -  Eric Hovde

Hovde’s speech was a lack­lus­ter one which felt more like a col­lege lec­ture than a con­ven­tion speech.  He’s new to the game, he’s got time to get re-adjusted and refo­cused.   Over­all it’s a blip on the radar and he’s got more than enough time to recover.

Plus, real­ity gives them the per­fect way to spin what hap­pened — After all, in 2010, the first once bounced in the state con­ven­tion Lt. Governor’s vote was Rebecca Kleefisch.

Minor Lose to “Dan­ger Ahead” — Tommy Thompson

Was yes­ter­day just a minor bruis­ing of the ego, or the start of the dam burst­ing on sup­port of his can­di­dacy. Time will tell.

Loser — Wauke­sha County GOP Chair­man Don Taylor

Some­thing tells me the “Dean of County Chairs” will have a lot of explain­ing to do about why he was con­stantly send­ing over 55 to 60% of Wauke­sha Co. del­e­gates to Mark Neumann.

Big Loser — Mark Neumann

When you try to game the sys­tem, you game it to win.  Team Neu­mann clearly mis­cal­cu­lated that going into the vote think­ing they could pick off the unde­cid­eds.  Fitzgerald’s speech ended that the­ory pretty quickly.

Also, the 2nd bal­lot couldn’t have turned out worse for them, as he only picked up around 200 or so more del­e­gates than he did in the 1st bal­lot.  This meant his sup­port — bused in or nego­ti­ated behind the scenes — was also his ceil­ing.  I heard some folks say Neumann’s cam­paign is start­ing to remind them of Dar­row 2004, where his plead­ing and over-playing to the base got annoy­ing very quick.

Add in how much the base is still peeved at him for 2010, and the mar­gin for error is excep­tion­ally small for Neumann.

Other Losers — Erick Erick­son, the Red State Com­mu­nity, and Jim DeMint

When you claim openly and loudly that one guy is cheat­ing, you damn well have the proof.  Erickson’s post reeked of being a mis­di­rec­tion from the Neu­mann folks (it was, but no one would go on the record to con­firm it) to say the Thomp­son folks were try­ing to game the sys­tem when they clearly were doing it themselves.

Will Erick (who I con­sider a friend) ever admit doing just that, or admit he was wrong?  Hardly, it’s not good for busi­ness at Red State.

Finally, groups like the Club for Growth, Sen. Jim DeMint, Red State, and oth­ers out in DC have bought into a dog and pony show by Neumann’s cam­paign that he’s [quote] the true con­ser­v­a­tive in the race [unquote] to decide who best to rally folks against Tommy Thomp­son.  Yesterday’s vote clearly showed they were sold a cheap bill of goods as not only did Neu­mann (gam­ing the sys­tem) beat Thomp­son in the endorse­ment vote, but Fitzger­ald did as well in the 1st ballot.

If Fitzger­ald plays their cards right, he make some hay try­ing to break up Neumann’s attempted monop­oly in “non-establishment groups” in DC.

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