September primary this week…

So, this week, we will find out just how close Mark Neumann really was to catching Scott Walker before consensus GOP gubernatorial candidate moves on to face Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the general election. While polling results have been kept close to the vest by sponsors, one has to believe that the margin within the past few weeks wasn’t wide enough to keep the Walker team from feeling the need to go negative on Neumann. In the unlikely event that you haven’t seen it, here it is:

The implied claim that Neumann is some kind of political soulmate to Nancy Pelosi is preposterous (and I don’t say that as someone who has a dog in that particular fight.) Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner does an ad for Walker saying how HE didn’t vote for that bill. So, now we’re going back a dozen years to a bill that HAD to pass in one form or another and trying to pretend that if Walker had been there, he wouldn’t have voted for it. That said, we are talking about the “Party of No,” so perhaps the concept will have some purchase in the partisan primary, where the idea of compromising across the aisle is anathema.

It’s also not much more ridiculous than Neumann constantly talking about “career politicians.” The reason Mark Neumann isn’t a career politician is because after two terms in the House in 1998, he thought he had what it took to beat Russ Feingold for a six-year term in the U.S. Senate. He didn’t, so that ended his political career. Now, he says all state and federal elected officials should be subject to 12-year term limits. That’s convenient, if you’re Mark Neumann. Counting his four years as a Congressman, Neumann would be finishing is 12th year in elected office after two terms as governor in 2019, a little more than a month before he turns 65. That’s a good time to retire anyway.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m up on charges, I want a career defense attorney. If I’m having surgery, I want a career surgeon. Rookie quarterbacks may not be the best way to get to the Super Bowl and “experienced” is often considered an asset in most lines of work.

Meanwhile, Tom Barrett releases an ad that revolves around a brutal beating he took outside of State Fair Park last summer when he came to the aid of a woman and a baby who were involved in a domestic dispute with a sociopath (to put it kindly.) The concept worried me, when I first heard about it. But the ad itself is done well and it also puts Mrs. Barrett out in front of people in a way that is effective. I give it at least a “9” on a 1-to-10 scale. It’s too bad it takes 60 seconds to tell the story, but it does. More importantly, Barrett has the campaign fund to do this stuff. He’s not only outraising Walker, but he doesn’t have to blow any of it on a primary opponent.

In the U.S. Senate race, Ron Johnson will have a ceremonial GOP seal of good housekeeping after taking out straw man David Westlake, (creationist, abstinence-only, etc.) on Tuesday in the primary. (Ditto for Sean Duffy, who will steamroll fringe candidate Dan Meilke.)

Carefully managed and well-funded with his own wealth, the best thing Feingold can do with Johnson is to get him into some debates where Johnson will have to think on his feet – something he hasn’t shown that he’s especially good at doing. (Let’s all look for the little bump in the back of the suit like George W. Bush had during the 2004 presidential debates, shall we?)

Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson will find out if he made the right choice to get into a non-feature statewide race in his bid to become Lieutenant Governor. He’s run a good campaign and had enough funding to run some decent TV ads in the closing weeks. That’s more than other candidates on either side seem to have been able to muster up in this crowded area of the ballot.

I’m interested to see what happens in the Marathon County Clerk of Courts race between Sennholz and Garvin. I’m serious; it’s damned interesting to me. The winner of this Dem primary will get the job because there is no GOP candidate in November. Speaking of county campaigns, this week’s Internet sensation was a guy trying to get the nomination from the Stark County, Ohio Republican Party to run for county treasurer. He lost – perhaps proof positive that you actually CAN be too passionate:

 I’m seeing a lot of yard signs for Republicans on property controlled by very few people around town. I wonder how many people driving by realize that this is a case where literally a handful of votes or less are adding up to scores of yard signs. I’d tell you that I know where they live, but I’d have to look it up and that’s not where I’m noticing the signs. Remember the old saying, “Signs don’t vote?” Well, it’s true.

In something that actually does count, the President returns to Wisconsin this month for a rally in Madison. Over the past few cycles, Wisconsin has received plenty of notice on the national stage as an important place in politics. It’s nice to see that’s not changing this time around.



8 Responses to “September primary this week…”

  1. I remember the Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate in which Russ Feingold bested two other candidates simply by running a clean campaign. His campaign for re-election this year still is a clean campaign.
    In Wisconsin, political mudslinging should not be the norm if you want the votes.

  2. Ah, yes — I remember it well. While two well-funded opponents traded blows, Feingold ended up as the last man standing in a good-humored campaign in which he had his pledge to voters painted on his Middleton garage door. That broken record ad with the line “…while Russ Feingold sling mud…” doesn’t ring true, because that’s not what Feingold’s campaign has been about.

  3. “career politicians”
    The problem with professional politicians is that they misuse government power and perks to stay in office. My opponent, for example, has a state government website domain when I google for her campaign site. So, state government employees create and maintain her site?

    H.L. Mencken [] suggested that we should choose legislators like jurors, at random. Plain folks couldn’t do any worse than the “pros” who continue to spend more than the State takes in in revenues.

  4. “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.” — H. L. Mencken


  5. I am not a fan of how our primaries are set up… and I know each state does it a little differently.

    I will be voting the Dem side of the ticket because of the Clerk of Court race. I would much rather vote the R side.

    However, I figure that my one vote will be more important in what looks to me as a very close county race than my one vote would be in voting for Neumann for the gov’s seat.

    Now, if my choice for Clerk of Court wins hands down, and Neumann loses by one vote.. it will be okay to go ahead and blame me.

    (I think that all names for each office should be listed together, and you can vote for whomever you want, regardless of party… and top two names proceed)

  6. Of course, that is the way that NON-PARTISAN Spring elections work in Wisconsin. This state is famous for independent voters and they frequently complain about not being able to pick and choose between offices.

    Personally, I don’t agree with allowing people to bounce back and forth between parties on primary ballots in the case of state or federal legislators, governors or presidents. But I think it would make some sense to evaluate whether or not we could have certan offices become non-partisan and located in a section of the ballot that all voters could cast votes within.

    In this particular election, the whole game for clerk of courts is happening in the primary. That is a strategy and it means that a relatively small number of voters in one party will make the call.

  7. I can see your point on flip-flopping a ballot for traditionally partisan elections. You could have someone vote their party picks in contested races, and then try to pick the most least popular choice for the other side in the non-contested ones.

    I guess I should be happy I was able to pick a side to vote on… in Oklahoma (native home of Mrs. Rent), you had to be a registered party member in order to vote in the primary, and then you could only vote your party. (needless to say there are interesting policial discussions in the Rent household with a “card-carrying” republican married to someone with a serious independent streak)

    But… some of these positions (such as clerk of courts, sheriff, etc)… I just don’t see why they should be partisan in nature. Put them on the non-partisan spring ballot.

  8. Sorry I missed this comment earlier.

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