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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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  • Steve Oliver

    Hovde.  But I can live with Fitzger­ald.  No Tommy, no Neumann.