Well, I can’t exactly call it a horserace yet, unless it’s one to the glue factory, but there are several updates:
- First, former Doyle Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel launched his spoil…er, campaign, and the initial signs are not exactly encouraging. Even before he got in, Rasmussen had his head-to-head matchup against Russ Feingold as the worst of the three announced challengers at 48% Feingold/37% Leinenkugel/7% somebody else.
He followed that up with a train-wreck of an opening interview on WTMJ-AM’s Charlie Sykes’ show, in which he defended the dirty Talgo deal, a massive rail network, and a deadly-to-business cap-and-tax scheme. One GOP insider said, “I frankly don’t get it. He has no base; no story to get a base, and no money to put in the race.”
The latest stake comes from the Sauk County GOP (H/T – Little Miss Sunshine, who completely misread the effect). They have passed a resolution rejecting the Leinenkugel campaign, and plan on putting a similar resolution on the floor of the state convention next month.
- Speaking of that Rasmussen poll, Terrence Wall is actually starting to close on Feingold now that Tommy Thompson is out of the race. He trailed Feingold 49%/43%/3%. Dave Westlake, on the other hand, continues to lag significantly (49%/38%/4%).
- Another potential big name has bowed out of running – retiring State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) bowed out. As Patrick McIlheran recorded, Kanavas told Sykes that it would take $5 million to think about taking on Feingold, which he would have had to begin raising long before now.
- Speaking of money, Feingold added another $1.3 million in donations the past quarter to bring his warchest to $4.3 million. Meanwhile, Wall raised $103,000 and loaned the campaign $1.2 million the past quarter to put his warchest at just over $1 million (and a total of $1.5 million in debt, and Westlake is essentially out of cash (just under $14,000 raised the past quarter, with $2,288 in cash on hand). As Wall told me on the 15th, the Thompson Wait, and a focus on meeting voters, had a significant effect on that.
- In a bit of (hopefully) good news with a tip of the hat to Owen, WisPolitics is reporting Oshkosh businessman/Tea Party founder Ron Johnson is getting in the race. As I noted on the 15th, WISN-AM’s Jay Weber mentioned that Johnson was allegedly prepared to put a significant amount of his own money (up to $10 million) into the race.
- The last challenger for Feingold, Tim Michels, is still undecided about entering the race. Michels got smoked by Feingold in 2004 after getting a major upset in a crowded primary, which included semi-official NRSC candidate/car dealer Russ Darrow and state Senator Bob Welch. After the primary, the NRSC pulled out of Wisconsin.
I have a bad feeling if this remains a 4-5 person primary. There is only one Democrat statewide primary on the horizon (lieutenant governor), and the Dems are busy “deconflicting” that so they can meddle in the Republican primaries. Housekeeping note for those of you from out-of-state – while Wisconsin does not have party registration, a voter cannot vote in more than one party’s primary per election.