No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for the 'Politics – Wisconsin' Category

March 27, 2012

Marquette Law School poll on WI – Romney up by 8, Walker up between 2 and 4 on major recall rivals

Last week, Rasmussen released a poll that had Mitt Romney up by 13 points on Rick Santorum, 46%-33%, a full reversal of the prior month’s polls from both Public Policy Polling and Marquette Law School. Today, the Marquette Law School followed suit with a poll taken of 707 registered voters between March 22 and March 25 having Romney up on Santorum 39%-31%. Ron Paul was third with 11% and Newt Gingrich brought up the rear with 6%.

On the ideological side, among the 385 who said they planned on voting in the Republican primary, Romney received a plurality among those who described themselves as “very conservative” (43%-31%), “conservative” (41%-34%) and “moderate” (42%-27%). While Santorum did have a lead among “liberals”, it has to be noted that it was by a 8-7 margin and thus not statistically reliable.

On the political side, I first feel compelled to note that Wisconsin is a wide-open primary state where only the voter knows in which primary he or she votes. With that said, it does not really matter that those who self-identify as Republicans or as leaning toward Republicans were only 64% of those who say they will vote in the Republican primary, while 26% self-identified as Democrats or as leaning toward Democrats. Romney led all three of the major categories: 42%-33% among Republicans, 34%-29% among Democrats, and 37%-17% among “independents”.

Despite the fact that Wisconsin is a winner-take-all state, the majority of the 42 delegates, 24 in all, are awarded 3 at a time to the winner of each of the 8 Congressional districts. Unlike Rasmussen, the Marquette Law School poll did break down the results by media market, making a rough estimation of this possible. Romney carried the city of Milwaukee (which is essentially the 4th Congressional district), the rest of the Milwaukee media market (the heart of the 1st and 5th Congressional districts, and a significant part of the 6th) and the Madison media market (which dominates the 2nd Congressional district, and also reaches into small parts of the 1st, 5th and 6th) by double-digits, strongly suggesting he would get the 3 delegates from each of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Congressional districts. However, his lead in the Green Bay/Appleton market (the heart of the 8th Congressional district, and the other significant part of the 6th) was razor-thin at 38%-37%. Santorum led in the other media markets 31%-25%, which would suggest he would get the 3 delegates from the 7th Congressional district.

The Marquette Law School also polled the Presidential general election matchups, with a partisan split of 48% D/42% R with leaners, and 36% D/27% R without. This was, once again, a rather high Democrat split, and the Presidential results reflected that. Barack Obama beat Romney 48%-43%, and got a majority against the other candidates. Worse, the limited “likely voter” approximation, a sum of those who say they were “absolutely certain” to vote in November and those who were “very likely” to vote in November, was even more friendly to the Democrats on the strength of the “with-leaners” 49%-42% advantage Dems had on those “absolutely certain” to vote in November.

The gubernatorial recall

There are currently three announced Democrat candidates in the recall against Governor Scott Walker – former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, state Senator Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Follette, for the expected primary to be held on May 8 (assuming at least two of them file a sufficient number of nomination signatures between the end of this week and April 10; if not, then that day becomes the recall general election). In addition, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett has been widely rumored to be interested in trying to get revenge for his 2010 loss to Walker.

Much like the Republican Presidential primary, there is no real lock on the process by the Democrats. Only 65% of those who planned on voting in the gubernatorial primary were self-identified Democrat/Democrat leaners, while 25% were self-identified Republicans/Republican leaners. Unlike the Republican Presidential primary, however, this matters somewhat as Barrett beat Falk in a 4-way race 42%-30% among Democrats and 37%-28% among “independents”, but lost to her 27%-16% among Republicans. Overall, Barrett beat Falk 37%-29%.

If, however, Barrett doesn’t run, Falk would clean up, as she received 54% in the three-way race question.

In the general election against Walker, slated for June 5 (unless there is no primary), not even the aforementioned heavy partisan split favoring the Democrats helped them in this poll. Walker beat Barrett 47%-45%, Falk 49%-45%, La Follette 49%-42% and Vinehout 49%-41%. Of note, Walker has both a better job-approval rating than Obama (50%-47% versus 48%-47%) and a positive personal favorability rating (50%-45%, a flip from last month’s widely-touted-by-the-media 46%-48%).

March 17, 2012

Star Chamber doing what the Dane County Sheriff’s Office would not

(H/T – Ann Althouse)

In case you missed the screaming headline in today’s paint catcher, the Left’s attempt to nullify the April 2011 re-election of Justice David Prosser is proceeding apace with a “recommendation” from the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, specifcally special prosecutor Franklyn Gimbel, to refer the matter stemming from Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s charge of Prosser to a three-judge panei for possible removal of Prosser.

A lot is going to be made of Gimbel’s signature on a recall petition against Gov. Scott Walker. More should be made of Gimbel’s donation to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in 2008 in light of her lead role in this affair.

February 22, 2012

Marquette Law School Poll – Santorum leads the WI Primary, Obama leads significantly in the general

Marquette University’s Law School released its second poll of Wisconsin registered voters this morning, the first dealing with the April 6 Presidential primary, and the first to match up each of the 4 remaining Republican Presidential candidates against Barack Obama (January’s poll matched Mitt Romney against Obama). The primary topline is that Rick Santorum had the support of 34% of those considering voting in the Republican primary, with Romney at 18%, Ron Paul at 17%, and Newt Gingrich at 12%. The general topline is Obama would get a double-digit majority win over each candidate, with Santorum coming closest at 51%-40%. Romney saw his deficit to Obama increase from 40%-48% in January to 38%-53% this month, due in part to a rather significant shift in the partisan split from 43% independent/28% Democrat/26% Republican (46% D/44% R with leaners) last month to 35% independent/34% Democrat/26% Republican (47% D/39% R with leaners).

Beyond the toplines – primary edition

Those who lean Republican make up a mere 66.6% of those who said they support one of the four candidates, which probably reflects the ease and anonymity of the partisan primary process in Wisconsin (only the voter knows in which party’s primary he or she voted). However, the facts that they’re the largest constituency and that 81.6% of those who lean Republican did support one of the four candidates illustrate the relative strength of the four candidates.

Among that core constuency (including the 7.5% who don’t plan on voting in the Presidential primary), Santorum trounced Romney 40.6%-18.5%, with Gingrich a distant third at 11.7%. Santorum, the only candidate to improve his favorability ratio from last month, had a favorable/unfavorable split of 56.1%-10.1%, a rather significant improvement from January’s 48.6%/9.8%. Romney slipped from a 48.9%-29.2% split in January to a 45.9%-32.4% split in February, Paul slipped from a 42.4%-28.0% split in January to a 38.4%-31.2% split in February, and Gingrich went underwater, collapsing from a 45.1%-41.5% split in January to a 35.2%-48.8% split in February.

Surprisingly, Santorum even placed second among those leaning Democrat, 23.7% of whom said they would support one of the four candidates in the primary. Among that group of 80, Paul took 43.5%, Santorum 26.2%, Romney 16.0% and Gingrich 14.3%. Notably, Paul’s Democrat-lean total of 35 was greater than his Republican-lean total of 31.

While the Marquette Law School Poll does not directly measure the “likely voter” metric (a discussion from director Charles Franklin on the subject here), the school did release a “likelyhood” crosstab based on a question of how likely each respondent was to vote in November. As Wisconsin is within a month and a half of the primary, looking at the likelyhood of a respondent voting is undeniably worth exploring. Among those “absolutely certain” to vote in November and who did not say they would not participate in the Republican primary, Santorum led with 39.2%, Romney was second with 19.7%, Paul was third with 13.7%, and Gingrich was last with 10.0%. Adding those “very likely” to vote in November and not ruling out voting in April changes the percentages to 35.4% Santorum, 19.0% Romney, 17.1% Paul and 11.4% Gingrich, virtually indistinguishable from the larger “registered voter” number.

On the ideology front, of those who did not rule out voting in the primary, 12.3% described themselves as “very conservative”, 41.2% as “conservative”, 31.5% as “moderate”, 6.1% as “liberal” and 1.5% as “very liberal”. Santorum took 57.5% of the very-conservative potential vote, with Gingrich a distant second at 24.3% and Romney an even more distant third at 11.2%. Among those who were “merely” “conservative”, Santorum took 34.7%, with Romney second at 21.4% and Gingrich third at 14.6%. Paul’s strength begins with the “moderates”, with a 28.1% plurality among moderates (barely ahead of Santorum’s 28.0% and well ahead of Romney’s 16.5%), and near-majorities of 43.7% of “liberals” (with Romney second at 26.1%) and 49.4% of “very liberals” (with the remaining 50.6% undecided).

Beyond the toplines – general edition

The biggest boost to Obama’s chances was his boost in favorability, from 50% favorable/44% unfavorable last month to 52%/43%. In an interesting twist, that is higher than his job approval split of 50% approval/43% disapproval (also up from January’s 47%/47% split), a mirror opposite of Scott Walker’s 47% approval/47% disapproval and 46% favorable/48% unfavorable splits.

Among the Republican challengers, only Santorum had a positive favorability in the Dem-heavy overall poll at 30% favorable/27% unfavorable (versus 27%/21% last month). Paul, who was at an even 31%/31% split last month, fell to 27%/37% this month. Romney slipped from 30%/42% to 27%/50%, while Gingrich slipped from 25%/53% to 21%/61%.

While last month, among those “certain” to vote, Obama and Romney were tied at 45.1%, Obama increased his percentage among this group to between 49.4% (against Santorum) to 53.8% (against Gingrich). Much like last month, the less committed one is to vote, the more likely one would vote for Obama against any of the Republicans.

Specifically to Romney, while a significant portion of his softening of support versus Obama was due to the increased number of Democrats, that does not explain the entirety of the collapse. Even after “normalizing” the February poll numbers to the January partisan percentages, Romney would lose 51%-40%. That was due to a 8-point drop in support among Republicans down to 80.8% (with a 7-point gain by Obama among the same). By comparison, Santorum held 87.1% of Republicans, Paul 82.4% and Gingrich a mere 78.9%.

The news is not all “good” (relatively-speaking) for Santorum. While he would lose the “independent” vote to Obama 53.1%-35.7%, Romney would “only” lose by 50.5%-38.9%.

Regarding ideology, the larger poll sample had 8% “very conservative” (compared to 9% last month), 30% “conservative” (versus 32%), 38% “moderate” (versus 32%), 16% “liberal” (versus 14%), and 4% “very liberal” (unchanged). Santorum would carry the “very conservative” vote by a 86.4%-13.6% margin and the “conservative” vote 67.7%-23.0%, and lose the “moderates” 62.3%-27.1%, while Romney would carry the “very conservative” vote 72.7%-23.1% (note; while that doesn’t seem right, it does add up), and the “conservative” vote 68.0%-22.2%, and lose the “moderate” vote 65.7%-24.4%.

Revisions/extensions (1:13 pm 2/22/2012) – Somehow mentioned Romney twice in the “conservative” portion of the primary writeup. Fixed.

R&E part 2 (8:19 pm 2/22/2012) – Many thanks to Stacy McCain for linking in his liveblog of the debate tonight.

November 17, 2011

Thursday Hot Read – Tim Nerenz’ “Bring It”

by @ 1:15. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

(H/T – Chris)

Dr. Tim Nerenz puts the Democrats’ attempt to re-create the Kingdom of Dane through Recall Madness on its hindquarters:

They are at it again in Wisconsin. The perpetual hissy fit that is the Union Democrat Party in this state has launched its campaign to recall Governor Scott Walker. The rallying cry of Walker’s Republican supporters is “I stand with Scott Walker”.

Well, not me. I don’t stand with Scott Walker.

Nope. I stand for the right to work. I stand against compulsory unionization. I stand for the right of every employee to join a union, and for the equal right of every employee to work free of union impairment. I stand for the right of every union to collect its own dues directly from its members. I stand for the right of every business owner to deal directly with his/her employees or to work through an intermediary as he or she sees fit. I stand for the right of any business to refrain from political activity altogether without being targeted for boycotts by extortionists.

I don’t stand with Scott Walker. Scott Walker stands with me….

The Democrat Party in the state of Wisconsin believes they have a Divine right to rule; perhaps it explains why so many are hostile to real Divinity. It is inconceivable to them that the citizens of this state would have decided to give the Republicans an opportunity to fix what the Democrats could not or would not. It is humiliating to them that their coarse and unrefined rivals achieved in just a few months what they could not do in a decade. Their panic is understandable, but that does not make it actionable for the rest of us.

I can’t say whether or not I would vote to re-elect Scott Walker. If he is to win over libertarians, he has a lot of ground to cover between now and the next election for Governor, which is not until 2014. This recall process is not an election; it is a subversion of an election, and I will not vote to subvert elections. The reasons for or against this recall are irrelevant; every assassin has reasons. This is a contract hit; the motivation is money, and it is the taxpayer who will pay the contract.

Do read it all.

October 29, 2011

Occupy Madison permit non-renewed due to whack jobs

No, the pun is not intended; The Daily Cardinal reports one of the main reasons the Occupy Madison street-use permit was not renewed was because a number of them were whacking off in public. Indeed, the behavior was so bad that a hotel next to the former occupied site felt the need to escort its employees to and from bus stops.

Another item that Madison officials had an issue with was the lack of restroom facilities. They reportedly are refusing to issue another permit until and unless the Occupiers secure some.

So, what did the Occupiers do? They marched down the street to Olin Terrace, on the shore of Lake Monona. Note the lack of restroom facilities or all-night hours in the city park.

The Isthmus notes that the expired/non-renewed permit wasn’t sought with the entire group’s up twinkles, so I doubt that the move to Olin Terrace has legal blessing.

The other reason for the move can’t exactly be discounted either. Madison’s Freakfest has been known to get quite violent.

Eggs on Da Radio

by @ 8:01. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Pete Da Tech Guy decided to have me on his radio show on WCRN True Talk 830AM this morning. The show starts at 9 am Central, and I’m slated to follow Jimmie Bise at about the bottom of the first hour. Gabriel Malor will also be on. The big thing Pete and I will talk about is the recall fatigue felt by just about everybody without a D behind their name.

Tune in.

Revisions/extensions (4:44 pm 10/31/2011) – The podcast is up.

October 26, 2011

PPP – Wisconsin tiring of Recall Madness

by @ 17:13. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Public Policy Polling, notably not in its role as the official pollster of DailyKos, just released a poll lamenting that the chance for Democrats to seize control of Wisconsin politics via the recall process is diminishing rather badly. Before I get to the analysis, especially of the crosstabs, however, I do have to discuss the partisan split in the poll, specifically the 37% Democrat/32% independent/31% Republican split. It is the biggest D-to-R split over the series of polls dealing with a possible Walker recall, with Democrats holding a 37%-34% advantage in the mid-August poll taken immediately after the Democrats failed to seize control of the state Senate, a 37%-32% advantage in May, and a 33%-32% advantage in February. Most other pollsters not only have a far closer D-to-R split (with some recent polls having a slight R advantage), but as a nod to Wisconsin’s lack of party registration, they have the independent portion a bit higher than either party. Given the trend of the recalls against the Republican state Senators ultimately falling short, a more-reasonable split would be 36% I/32% D/32% R.

The first hurdle is finding 540,000 so so signatures on petitions to force a recall election. While the top-line 49% oppose recall/48% support recall is a bit closer than the 50% oppose/47% support in August, it is due to both the hardening of resolve among Democrats (up from 86% support-11% oppose in August to 90% support-6% oppose now) and the 3 percentage point reduction in the Republican participation in the poll. Among independents, the opposition to a Walker recall, which had already flipped from support by August to the tune of 50% oppose/46% support, jumped to 57% oppose/40% support.

Similarly, while Walker is still underwater in the approval question at an overall 47% approve/51% disapprove, it is entirely due to an overweight of Democrats in the poll as he is above water among independents for the first time this year at 52% approve/44% disapprove. The over-90% on the partisan sides (approval on Republicans, disapproval on Democrats) essentially wipe each other out when realistic weighting is used.

The other hurdle for the Democrats to a successful recall is finding a candidate who can take on Walker. The only person who, at least in the PPP weighting, can beat Walker is former Senator Russ Feingold, who holds an overall 49%-46% advantage. There’s just 2 problems – Feingold has ruled out running for anything in 2012, and the theoretical Feingold lead is due entirely to weighting. The Republican and Democrat splits are exactly opposite (89% for the party to 7% for the opposition), while independents favor Walker by a narrow 47%-45% margin.

Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker 52%-46% in last year’s gubernatorial election, would lose by a 48%-46% margin with PPP’s weighting. However, not only does Barrett not get as many Democrats (86%) as Walker gets Republicans (90%), but independents break for Walker 52%-39%.

Other Democras, including House Representative Ron Kind, former Representatives Dave Obey and Steve Kagen, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk (last seen on the statewide stage being the only Democrat in the country to lose a “frontline” statewide or Congressional office held by Democrats in the 2006 election), Assembly minority leader Peter Barca and state Senator Jon Erpenbach, all trail Walker more significantly. Worse for them, much of the state doesn’t know enough about them to have an opinion on them. This is despite Obey being in DC longer than I’ve been alive and ending up as the House Ways and Means Committee chair (and thus responsible for the failed Stimulus and most of the appropriations bills between 2007 and 2010), and Falk running 2 statewide campaigns in the last 10 years, the second successful enough to knock off the sitting attorney general in the Democrat primary.

Even the supposed bright spot for Democrats, a 46%-43% advantage in who should control the state Senate, is illusionary upon further examination. Independents favor Republican control of the state’s upper legislative chamber 41%-35%, reflecting a growing Republican trend first noted in the wake of the August recall elections.

October 14, 2011

Recall Madness – 2012 Edition promises to be even zanier

by @ 14:32. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

If the Democrats’ pending attempt to recall governor Scott Walker isn’t crazy enough, Democrat Party of Wisconsin chair Mike Tate promised to use the recall process to make a second attempt to seize control of the state Senate between the regularly-scheduled 2010 and 2012 elections. For his part, Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he hasn’t ruled out recalling Democrats, including those who had efforts against them last year fizzle out due to lack of sufficient signatures.

There is an interesting tidbit at the end of the linked Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story that puts into question which version of the legislative districts would be used to conduct the recall process; the districts put into place by a federal judge after the 2000 census or the districts that were redrawn last month. That stems from the last section of 2011 Act 43, which redrew the districts following the 2010 census. Specifically, it reads:

Section 10. Initial applicability.
(1) This act first applies, with respect to regular elections, to offices filled at the 2012 general election.
(2) This act first applies, with respect to special or recall elections, to offices filled or contested concurrently with the 2012 general election.

The Government Accountability Board did not have an immediate answer to the question of which set of maps would be used. That leaves the door open for me to explore the possibilities.

Before I do, however, I need to outline (once again) the statutory timeline of the recall process as it relates to the Legislature:

  • Once a recall committee registers with the GAB, it has up to 60 days to collect and submit for filing a petition for recall with a number of signatures equal to at least 1/4th of those who voted in the most-recent gubernatorial election in that district.
  • The GAB has up to 31 days after that submission to determine the petition is sufficient. If the GAB determines it is not sufficient, the recall committee has up to an additional 5 days to correct the identified deficiencies, with the GAB taking up to an additional 2 days after correction to determine sufficiency.
  • If the recall petition is deemed to be sufficient, a recall election is scheduled for the 6th Tuesday after the day the recall petition is deemed sufficient, and candidates may begin circulating nomination papers in a rather truncated timeframe.
  • If there is only one candidate per “recognized” party (i.e. a party with a candidate who received 1% of the vote in a statewide election in the most-recent election cycle with a gubernatorial election), that scheduled date is recall general election. If there is more than one candidate in a “recognized” party, that party has a recall primary on that date and the recall general election is 4 Tuesdays after that point.

Do note that this is the second (and only second) time the Legislature addressed the recall process when they conducted redistricting; the exact same initial applicability section (with the exception of the date, 2002 was substituted for 2012, and a different section number) appeared in 2001 Act 46, which redrew the Congressional districts after the 2000 census. The other legislative redistricting acts, both before and after a 1982 opinion from Democrat Attorney General Bronson La Follette addressing potential recalls, did not mention recall elections. That opinion, interpreting a court-ordered redistricting that was later superceded by Democrats when they seized complete control of the lawmaking process, said that the court ruling, issued in the middle of the 1982 ballot-access process, immediately applied to any potential recall process, including those Senators who were not up for re-election in 1982.

The normal partisan election ballot-access process, at least under current law, begins on June 1 of the election year when candidates can start collecting signatures, which must be back to the GAB (or, for county partisan offices other than district attorney, the county clerk) by the end of business on the second Tuesday in July (this time around, July 10, 2012). While the 2012 primary date is still in flux as the current second-Tuesday-in-September date, with respect to federal elections, is not in compliance with federal law, the 2012 general election will be November 6.

There were no recalls launched in 2002, but the former State Elections Board used the redrawn Congressional districts to conduct the entire 2002 election process, beginning with the circulation and submission of nomination papers on June 1, 2002, extending through the September partisan primary, and culminating with the 2002 partisan general election.

With all that background out of the way, we can explore the meaning of “concurrently with the 2012 general election”. There are 5 major possible definitions; I’ll present them in reverse chronological order and assume in all cases the full 60 days are used to collect signatures, the full 38 days (including the 7 days allowed to correct any deficiencies) are used to determine sufficiency of the petitions, and the minimum of 36 days between the finding of sufficiency and the scheduling of the recall election occur:

“Concurrently” means the date of the regularly-scheduled general election and the scheduled recall election are the same: If this definition is operative, that would put the latest date this time around a recall could start using the old distrcts at 6/18/2012. That is clearly in conflict with both the 1982 AG opinion and subsequent precedent set by the former State Elections Board establishing the start of the election season as June 1.

It also would, if the last-Tuesday-in-October date set for the recall turns out to be a primary, push the recall general election past the regularly-scheduled 2012 election. Just as an example, if Van Wanggaard (Republican Senator in the 21st District) were to face a recall (the Democrats have said they will be targeting him), a resident of Racine would be voting for Senator in the freshly-redrawn 22nd District in the beginning of November and voting on Waangard’s recall in the 21st at the end of November.

“Concurrently” means the date of the regularly-scheduled general election and a possible recall general election after a recall primary are the same: The latest a recall could start using the old districts under this definition is, this time around, 5/21/2012. It would still put the scheduled recall election date (this time around, 10/2/2012) later than the regularly-scheduled September primary (not to mention later than any potential August date). Also, it would put the start of the circulation of nomination papers for the recall election well after those for the succeeding general election are due and likely past any regularly-scheduled August primary (specifically this time around, 8/27/2012).

“Concurrently” means the date of the beginning of nomination papers for the regularly-scheduled election and the recall election are the same: Using this definition, the latest a recall could be initiated using the old districts is, this time around 2/23/2012. While, in most cases, any potential recall general election following a recall primary would happen prior to any potential regularly-scheduled August primary (this time 8/7/2012 versus the earliest-talked-about date of 8/14/2012 as the second Tuesday in August), the circulators of the two sets of nomination papers would be out and about at the same time. Given one can only sign one canidate’s nomination papers per election, this could prove confusing.

“Concurrently” means the time periods of the circulation of nomination papers overlap: Using this definition, the latest a recall could be initiated using the old districts is, this time around, 2/7/2012. As nomination papers are always due on a Tuesday, that means the papers for the recall election would have to be in by the last Tuesday in May (5/29/2012) to avoid conflict.

“Concurrently” means any part of the recall process and any part of the regularly-scheduled election process overlap: Under the earliest of the definitions, the latest a recall could be initiated using the old districts is, this time around, 12/19/2011. Recall elections are held on Tuesdays (excepting holidays), so the same 5/29/2012 final date holds.

Revisions/extensions (3:19 pm 10/14/2011) – I somehow misspelled Van Wanggaard’s name. Sorry about that.

October 11, 2011

The obligatory “Rats to start Walker recall 11/15” post

by @ 14:54. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

The DemocRAT Party of Wisconsin seems to think it has the timing, the GAB, and the “pre-planned signatures” all in its back pocket; last night, they announced that they’re going to attempt to cause a minimum of 5 elections in Wisconsin in 2012 and kick off the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker on November 15. Of course, it got off to a rocky start as the announcement went up against the Brewers. I guess Mike Tate is a Cubs fan.

November 15 is not an “accidental” date. On November 9, the GAB is expected to take up several proposed changes in the circulation of recall petitions, from “single-signature” petitions (not witnessed by anybody) to online petitions as part of the process to “pre-populated” petitions, where all that’s needed is the signature. This comes after the GAB tried to force all three via unchallengable opinions but temporarily backed off after the Legislature threatened to force the GAB to adopt rules which could be reviewed and reversed by the Legislature. Given that former Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle appointed 5 of the 6 members of the board, the original 6 Doyle appointees hired the staff that attempted to “nudge” the board to do just this, and if Walker serves a full term, another 3 of the 5 Doyle appointees will come off the board to reduce the Doyle-appointee contingent to minority status come June 2014, I wouldn’t put it past the board to do what they originally intended on doing and to dare the Legislature to try to stop them in the less-than-a-week before the Rats start a “stacked-deck” recall effort.

Revisions/extensions (3:06 pm 10/11/2011) – Corrected the GAB meeting date.

October 3, 2011

At least a 4-way dance for the GOP US Senate nomination

by @ 9:59. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

After the creation of an exploratory committee for former governor/HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and the creation of a campaign committee by former Congressman Mark Neumann scared off former state Senator Ted Kanavas, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) and state Senator Frank Lasee (R-DePere) have both formed exploratory committees. Assuming the exploratory committees all turn into campaign committees, it sets up a old-versus-“new” both in southeast Wisconsin and outstate.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Madison/DC investor Eric Hovde is looking at trying to duplicate Sen. Ron Johnson’s path. Considering both the Madison and real estate aspects (but mostly the Madison ones), I’d have to rank him closer to Terrence Wall than Johnson.

There is a reason why Thompson ally Brian Schimming is all-but-salivating over a crowded field – there is far less anti-Thompson sentiment outstate than there is anti-Neumann sentiment in southeast Wisconsin.

September 29, 2011

In Abrahamson’s world, 1 > 4

(H/T – Kevin Binversie)

Wisconsin Supreme Court “Chief” Justice (only because she’s been around the longest) Shirley Abrahamson tried to seize total control of the Supreme Court Wednesday by declaring a majority of four justices not a quorum unless they’re meeting on a schedule set by her. Fortunately, the motion was tabled without a vote.

Justices Annette Ziegler and Patience Roggensack were far more “diplomatic” in their reactions to this power grab than I am (it helps that, unlike the two justices I don’t have to work with Abrahamson), but Roggensack said she was “blindsided” by it.

Kanavas out, Thompson sucking money back into donors’ wallets

Former state Senator Ted Kanavas announced he won’t be entering the race to be the GOP nominee for the soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat currently held by Herb “Nobody’s Senator” Kohl (who apparently decided owning an NBA team during a lockout that may well last the entire season before the election might be a political liability). I can say the decision is mildly disappointing, and the reason for the decision is more than mildly disappointing. Quoting from the linked press release (via WisPolitics):

It is evident that if former Governor Thompson enters the race, his entry would tie up many resources. Privately, many donors stated that they would refrain from supporting anyone out of respect for Thompson’s 45 year political legacy. Those factors ultimately led me to my decision.

News flash to those donors; the Democrats won’t reciprocate.

September 6, 2011

An Open Letter to National Conservative Groups from Wisconsin’s Conservative Bloggers

by @ 6:00. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

This morning, several bloggers released a letter to the heads of the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund asking them to reconsider their early endorsement of former Congressman Mark Neumann in the Republican primary for the US Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl:

To: Chris Chocola, Club for Growth
The Honorable Jim DeMint, junior Senator from the Great State of South Carolina

It is with great disappointment that we have learned of the efforts of some conservatives on the national level to try to dictate to Wisconsin conservatives their choice for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl. This is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsinites to elect a second conservative senator worthy of holding the office, and one that Wisconsin conservatives will take very seriously. This is not only a choice of ideology but of character, and it is our responsibility to bring Mark Neumann’s lack of character to your attention.

While we do not question Neumann’s past contributions to conservatism while he was a Congressman, his actions during last year’s campaign are completely unbecoming of a conservative candidate.

We respectfully request the national conservative groups and individuals to take a second look at their endorsement of Neumann. We ask that since many of them missed the opportunity to come to Wisconsin during the recent battles over collective bargaining for state employees and the recall elections, they come to Wisconsin now to talk to true Wisconsin conservatives to find out what they think of Neumann before attempting to foist their choice upon Wisconsin.

We do not write this under direction or duress from any candidate, potential candidate, or candidate’s campaign. We write this under the knowledge that as the primary for United State Senate commences in earnest, we will likely go our separate ways and support any number of candidates. That is our right as Americans.

If the past election in Wisconsin has shown national conservatives anything, it is to trust in the faith of Badger State conservative activists. We had the foresight to supply the movement with current leaders and rock stars like Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan, Ashland Congressman Sean Duffy, Green Bay Congressman Reid Ribble, Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, and even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
That is just in the past two years, and we assure you, there are plenty more where they came from.

Thank you,

Owen Robinson
Blogger, Boots and Sabers, since 2003
West Bend, WI

Kevin Binversie
Blogger, Lakeshore Laments, since 2003
St. Francis, WI

James Wigderson,
Blogger, Wigderson Library & Pub, since 2005
Waukesha, WI

Steve Eggleston
Blogger, No Runny Eggs, since 2005
Oak Creek, WI

Patrick Dorwin
Blogger, Badger Blogger, since 2004
Milwaukee, WI

Tim Gray
Blogger,, since 2010
La Crosse, WI

Ben Froland
Blogger,, since 2009
Neenah, WI

In my case, my beef with Neumann is strictly about the conduct of his gubernatorial campaign, and specifcally with respect to CFG and SCF, his repudiation of the First Amendment while campaigning outside the Democrat Party of Wisconsin convention in 2010. Meanwhile, my beef with CFG and SCF is their early endorsement, especially with the likelyhood of several other candidates besides Neumann and Thompson that would be deserving of at least a look by those groups.

August 29, 2011

Violent Wisconsin political women – Manitowoc edition

by @ 15:17. Filed under Law and order, Politics - Wisconsin.

(H/T – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter carried the story of a Manitowoc woman arrested last week for hitting her husband three times during an argument involving Gov. Scott Walker and financial burdens left behind by the woman’s deceased mother. While the story does not note the political affiliation of the woman, it does cite the police report in noting her alcohol-blood level was 0.265, more than 3 times the legal limit for motor vehicle operation.

Why do I get the feeling she voted for Justice Ann Walsh Bradley?

August 16, 2011

Recall Mania, Last Call – liveblog

by @ 19:32. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

In case you got here early, there’s a few good takes on what is happening today (besides mine) to tide you over until things start moving along from Kevin Binversie, Randy Melchert (focusing on the 12th) and Christian Schneider. Also worth reading is WisPolitics’ Election Blog, with a treasure trove of stories and links.

For those of you stepping in late, today’s recall elections of Democrats Jim Holperin (12th District) and Robert Wirch (22nd District) against, respectively, Kim Simac and Jonathan Steitz, are the last of the series of recalls that originally stemmed from the budget repair battle that saw all 14 Democrat Senators flee the state in an ultimately-futile attempt to keep all of the exhaustive and expensive collective bargaining privileges public unions had in Wisconsin. The Democrats were initially more energized once recall efforts began, and forced 6 of 8 Republican Senators to face recall elections, while Republicans were only able to force 3 of 8 Democrat Senators to face recall elections. Last month, the first of the Democrats, Dave Hansen, easily survived his recall after the better of the two potential challengers was tossed off the ballot. Last week, Republicans held onto 4 of 6 seats up for election to keep a 17-16 majority in elections that approached the turnout of November’s gubernatorial election (and in one case, exceeded the turnout).

The early reports suggest that, despite control of the Senate not being at stake, turnout in both the 12th and 22nd Districts are very high. While the claims that the turnout will approach Presidential elections will, like last week, almost certainly fall short, they appear to be close to the gubernatorial election last year, and greater than the Supreme Court election back in April.

Just a quick note before I direct you to the Cover It Live window (direct link/mobile link if for some reason your browser doesn’t suport iframes), which will open for business about 8 pm when the polls close – this is a “news” liveblog, so keep it clean.

Recall Mania, Last Call – What to look for

by @ 2:24. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

Today is the last round of recalls in Wisconsin for at least a little while. This time, it’s the Democrats that have seats to lose, as the 12th District’s Jim Holperin (Conover) and the 22nd District’s Robert Wirch (Pleasant Prairie) face, respectively, Kim Simac and Jonathan Steitz. Since, unlike last week, I’m in town and will be able to better track the results, and also because Michelle Malkin linked to last week’s analysis, I’ll put down what trends I’m looking for once the polls close at 8 pm.

12th District

There are a pair of dueling polls, one from Public Policy Polling for their biggest partisan client, Daily Kos, and one from We Are America for the right-advocating Red Racing Horses (crosstabs of the latter courtesy WisPolitics). Even though both polled roughly the same number of people over the weekend and have an effectively-identical 2.6% margin of error, the top line can’t possibly be more different. While PPP/DKos has Holperin up 55%-41% overall, and 51%-43% among “independents”, WAA/RRH has Holperin up 51%-49% (actually a few tenths less) overall, and Simac up 52%-48% among “independents”.

The big difference is, as is often the case, the partisan weighting. PPP/DKos has the Democrat/Republican/”independent” ratio at 35%/26%/39%, while WAA/RRH has it at 28%/28%/43% (with 1% refused, and the Dems with a statistically-insignificant advantage). As followers of Wisconsin politics know, there is no such thing as partisan registration in Wisconsin, so one has to dig into the results to figure out which is right and which is BS. My “generic R-v-D” calculation, averaging out the 2008 Presidential and 2010 gubernatorial results, gives the generic Republican a 5.0 percentage point advantage. The high-water mark for the Democrats in competitive races this past decade was, ignoring minor-party and write-in candidates, a 7.0 percentage-point margin, gained by long-time incumbent state Senator Roger Breske in 2004 (who departed for a state job in 2008, opening the door for Holperin), US Senator Russ Feingold in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008. Holperin, against the same opponent as Breske, managed only a 2.4 percentage point margin in 2008.

I could almost argue that both polls overweight Democrats, especially since Red Racing Horses cited Republican internal polls that have Simac up by at least 4 percentage points, and last week, incumbency was worth an average of roughly 3 percentage points over “generic”. However, the race is all about turnout, and despite both campaigns pouring everything into it (story via WisPolitics), nobody really knows what the turnout is going to be.

The problem is nobody is going to have fully-collated reporting-unit-level results, partly because not every county clerk will have them available on their websites. If those numbers are available, I’ll be looking at the following places for the trend:

Strong Republican areas – Towns of Minocqua (R+17) and Three Lakes (R+19) in Oneida County, towns of Boulder Junction (R+24), Lincoln (R+15, and Simac’s home) and St. Germain (R+25) in Vilas County
Strong Democrat areas – City of Tomahawk (D+8) in Lincoln County, Menominee County (D+60), city of Rhinelander (average of D+24 in the various wards) in Oneida County, town of Lac du Flambeau (D+17) in Vilas County

22nd District

There haven’t been nearly as much focus on this district, though WTMJ-AM’s Charlie Sykes got an interview with Steitz (go to the 39:00 mark), and WISN-TV’s Mike Gousha did a joint interview with both candidates. I haven’t seen any TV ads the past week (though I don’t watch much TV) and what little music radio I catch (including a Kenosha-licensed station) has been essentially ad-free, though Steitz’s ads have been on conservative talk radio stations.

The only recently-released poll is a PPP/DailyKos poll from the weekend that had Wirch up 55%-42%. While the partisan split is 39% D/28% R/34% I, given the generic Democrat has a 4.8 percentage point advantage, and up until last year, the only Republican to win a district-wide election the past decade was Congressman Paul Ryan, that split is actually closer to reality.

It’s basically the city of Kenosha (and to a lesser extent, the town of Somers) versus the rest of the district. If Steitz can get to 41% in the city of Kenosha (what current RNC chair Reince Priebus did in his unsuccessful run at Wirch in 2004 and a couple points less than what Scott Walker did in the 2010 gubernatorial election) and 64% in the city/town of Burlington (again, a couple points less than what Walker did, though several points more than what Priebus did), he may well pull off the upset.

August 11, 2011

Recall Mania – Round 3 post-mortem

by @ 2:06. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Now that the initial euphoria of the Republicans hanging onto control of the Wisconsin State Senate has worn off, it’s time to start digging through the numbers. I’ll let the political pros like Kevin Binversie, Lance Burri, Christian Schneider and the semi-anonymous Recess Supervisor handle the various main political aspects since, up until Tuesday afternoon, I had been on vacation for a week.

“Polls And Votes”‘ Charles Franklin, WTMJ-AM’s Charlie Sykes, and Randy Melchert all at least touched on elements of a numerical analysis. Franklin focused more on the comparisons to the 2010 gubernatorial election, especially in a Twitter follow-up that specifically dealt with how the Republican Senators compared to Governor Scott Walker. Sykes noted that far fewer people voted for the winners on Tuesday than they did for the winners in 2008. Melchert compared the Republicans’ vote percentage to that of Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in his April 2011 re-election.

Even though Wisconsin has historically seen far less party loyalty by its voters than other states, and the recent election that is closest in structure and general energy to the recall elections was the Supreme Court election, I am a bit wary of using that as the main point of comparison. After all, the office of Supreme Court Justice is officially a non-partisan office, while the office of State Senate is a partisan office. Moreover, in all six districts, there were significantly more people voting on Tuesday than voted in April and in one (the 2nd), more people voting on Tuesday than voted in November 2010, which is something that, honestly, surprised me. Still, as Melchert noted, the Republicans as a group did rouglhy a percentage point better than Prosser in those districts.

Focusing solely on either the 2010 gubernatorial election or the 2008 elections is a bit problematic. 2008 was, despite the fact that all six Republicans were elected/re-elected that year, the second half of the Democrat wave. After two extremely-close Presidential elections, Barack Obama beat John McCain by 14.1 percentage points (ignoring the minor-party candidates and write-ins as the Associated Press did not report that on Tuesday’s elections) statewide, and by a cumulative 7.4 percentage points in the 6 districts that had elections Tuesday. Moreover, two of the six Republicans, Robert Cowles and Luther Olsen, did not have a Democrat challenger in 2008.

2010, on the other hand, was a Republican wave, as Scott Walker beat Tom Barrett by 5.8 percentage points (again ignoring the minor-party candidates and write-ins) statewide and 12.7 percentage points in the 6 districts. Since both Walker and Barrett are from the Milwaukee area, there is no real “hometown” factor for which to adjust.

The simplest way to take out the effects of the two opposing waves is to average the top of each ticket. That gives the Democrats a 4.2 percentage point edge statewide before any other effects such as incumbency or “waves” get added in, while it gives the Republicans a 2.7 percentage point edge in the 6 districts.

The overall “What Happened?”

The Democrats took only two of the minimum of three seats they needed to gain control of the Senate. In a shift from what earlier polling had suggested, it was far closer to being only a 1-seat gain for them than a 3-seat gain. The two races that were closest were Sen. Luther Olsen’s 4.2 percentage point win over Fred Clark and Jessica King’s 2.2 percentage point win over Sen. Randy Hopper. Indeed, the Democrat Party of Wisconsin “crown jewel” of the 8th Senate District turned out not to be all that close as Sen. Alberta Darling beat Sandy Pasch by 7.3 percentage points.

Moreover, the six Republicans outpaced the Democrats by a cumulative 5.5 percentage points, almost 3 full points better than the “baseline”. That was weighted down by the underperformances by Olsen and Hopper.

Various sources have placed the total amount of money spent on these 6 recalls, the failed recall of Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), and the two still-pending recalls of Sens. Jim Holperin (D-Conover) and Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) at somewhere between $30 million and $40 million, with the vast majority of that in support of the Democrats. It is hard to put that in perspective, as the normal Senate elections have been “undercards” to either gubernatorial or Presidential elections. It is far greater than what has been spent on any other set of Legislative elections or any “stand-alone” statewide election, and it at least approaches the estimated $37 million spent on the 2010 gubernatorial election.

2nd District – Robert Cowles beat Nancy Nusbaum 60.4%-39.6%

By any measure, this was an unmitigated disaster for the Democrats. Up until this summer, Cowles hadn’t faced a Democrat since at least 2000. However, his 20.8 percentage point win, the largest margin of the night, easily outpaced any numerical measure of comparison. It was over 15 percentage points greater than the “baseline”, almost 5 percentage points greater than Walker’s 16.3 percentage point win in November, and roughly 3 percentage points greater than Prosser’s win in April.

On the turnout front, the district saw the lowest turnout relative to the three recent major elections. Turnout barely beat that of the April Supreme Court race, was not even 3/4ths that of the 2010 turnout, and barely half that of the 2008 turnout.

8th District – Alberta Darling beat Sandy Pasch 53.7%-46.3%

As noted above, this was the “jewel too far” for the Democrats. They thought that Darling’s 1.0 percentage point win over then-Assemblyman Sheldon Wasserman in 2008, lower than the 2.5 percentage point advantage the “generic” Republican holds over the “generic” Democrat, actually meant something significant. All it meant was that her 7.3 percentage point win on Tuesday over Pasch, who succeeded Wasserman in the Assembly, was nearly 3 percentage points less than Walker’s win and roughly 3 percentage points worse than Prosser’s win.

This district will become more Republican when the redistricting law takes effect; it will lose Shorewood and some other very-Democratic areas in Milwaukee County and gain some more area in the suburban counties, which as a whole are the most-Republican in the state.

While turnout was “only” a few tenths higher than 90% of the 2010 turnout, that is more of a case of the residents voting in just about every election – the 73% of 2008 turnout was the greatest of the 6 districts.

10th District – Shelia Harsdorf beat Shelly Moore 57.7%-42.3%

If the 2nd was a bitter pill for “establishment” Democrats, this was that same pill for both the unions and the online left. Moore, a teacher, was the very embodiment of the public unions that were so upset with the budget repair bill. Netroots Nation organized field trips into the district during their conference in nearby Minneapolis. None of that helped, as the 15.3 percentage point win was greater than the 13.0 percentage point win Harsdorf scored against Alison Page in 2008, nearly double the 8.2 percentage point advantage the Republicans start with in the district, and roughly 10 percentage points greater than Prosser’s margin of defeat in the district. Indeed, the Democrats as a whole didn’t even bother mentioning the budget repair bill and its limitations on collective bargaining once the actual campaigns got rolling.

While turnout was only about 64% that of the 2008 election, it was actually higher than that of the 2010 election.

14th District – Luther Olsen beat Fred Clark 52.1%-47.9%

Much like Cowles in the 2nd, Olsen has not had to actually run a general election campaign in quite a while. Indeed, in his victory speech, he mentioned that it was the first time he had to run against a Democrat. Unlike Cowles, however, he underperformed against someone who represents the western third of the district in the Assembly – his 4.3 percentage point win over Clark was significantly weaker than the 5.8 percentage point advantage the “generic” Republican should enjoy, and almost a quarter the 16.7 percentage point win Walker had in the district.

Like the 8th, the 14th will be reshaped significantly through redistricting, losing Baraboo (Clark’s home, though all that appears to mean for Clark is he will need to change the district number on his business cards as there are no other incumbents in the redrawn district) and gaining more rural areas of Columbia and Dodge Counties. Since I am not that familiar with central Wisconsin, I don’t know what effect that will have on the relative partisan balance of the district, though it would seem to benefit Olsen personally as his major constituency is the farming community, especially soybean farmers.

18th District – Jessica King beat Randy Hopper 51.1%-48.9%

The old adage that affairs are political career killers (just ask Jack Ryan, who was on track to be Illinois’ junior Senator in 2004 before his, ah, “rejection of assimilation” became public) was proven true once again. After barely surviving round 1 in 2008 with a recount-verified 0.2 percentage point win over King, Hopper fell by 2.2 percentage points in the early rematch. That margin of loss represents the biggest drops of any of the 6 districts from the +5.9% Republican “baseline”, the approximate 2 percentage point Prosser win, and the nearly-16 percentage point Walker win.

Speaking of that “baseline”, King may want to just make the commute from Oshkosh rather than getting a place in Madison. If the Republicans put up a halfway-decent candidate next year, then the streak of not sending a Democrat for a full Senate term since 1932 will remain intact.

32nd District – Jennifer Shilling beat Dan Kapanke 55.4%-44.6%

This was to be expected. Walker carried the district by less than a percentage point, Prosser lost by about 14 percentage points, Obama carried the district by over 23 percentage points, and the Democrat starts with a over-11 percentage point advantage. Throw in the fact that Shilling is popular in her Assembly district and she wisely was about the only Democrat official who condemned the vandalism of Kapanke’s property when the budget repair battle was white-hot, and it became nearly inevitable that Kapanke’s personal popularity stemming from his ownership of the Northwoods League La Crosse Loggers wouldn’t be enough to carry him to victory.

What now?

First things first, there won’t be any recounts. The closest race, once the write-ins are added in, won’t be within the 2 percentage points that gives the campaign a reduced rate on picking up the cost of actually conducting a recount, much less the 0.5 percentage point threshold that shifts the cost of conducting a recount to the counties.

There are two recall elections of sitting Democrats next week – Jim Holperin in the 12th District (northeast Wisconsin) and Robert Wirch in the 22nd District (Kenosha County). The conventional wisdom (such as it is in this unprecedented season of recalls) is that Kim Simac is poised to beat Holperin, while Jonathan Steitz will fall short. That’s likely based on older assumptions, as the same set of polls that showed the Republican tightening in this past Tuesday’s elections showed the Steitz/Wirch race tightening. Moreover, the Republican Party of Wisconsin is actively organizing GOTV efforts in both districts.

The unspoken wild card is the fact that the 22nd District will become a safe-Democrat seat next year as it sheds western Kenosha County in favor of the city of Racine, and neither Wirch nor Steitz currently live within the soon-to-be-new boundaries.

Going further out, the Democrats are still promising a recall attempt against Scott Walker. I usually don’t offer free advice to the Democrats, but I will make an exception in this case – be careful of what you wish for. Walker has not forgotten how to campaign (like Olsen), nor does he have personal baggage (like Hopper). Besides, I don’t think the unions will be as generous with the money this time.

Revisions/extensions (8:18 am 8/11/2011) – I highly recommend reading Craig Gilbert’s analysis of the turnout on JSOnline. Also corrected a typo caught in the comments of the Greenroom version.

R&E part 2 (4:53 pm 8/11/2011) – WisPolitics has a rather exhaustive list of links from just about everybody on both sides of the aisle, from the pols to the bloggers, and the media in between. My thanks to them, as well as William Jacobson and Tom Blumer, for linking here.

July 26, 2011

Interview with Kim Simac

by @ 7:33. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Over the weekend, I traveled up to Lincoln County and caught up with Kim Simac, the Republican candidate in the recall election of Democrat Senator Jim Holperin in the 12th Senate District on August 16. Unlike the Democrat challengers to the 6 Republicans up for recall on August 9, Simac is still focused on the “trigger” of all the recalls – the budget repair law and the initial Democrat Senate response of fleeing the state for three weeks.

Simac is running her campaign as though it will decide which party controls the Senate for the next 17 months. Indeed, even before we got to the interview, a small business owner came up, and he and Simac had a rather lengthy discussion of how many barriers Wisconsin puts up to those who create their own paychecks. During that, he showed her (and me) all the licenses he has to maintain to be in business.

We finally got to the interview, which you can listen to by clicking here.

I’ll expand a bit on the taxes issue. Due to the nature of the Simacs’ businesses, much of their income arrives between spring and fall. With respect to property taxes, that means they avail themselves of the installment plan Vilas County and the town of Lincoln offer. With respect to income, as both personal and business income are reported on the same individual income tax forms, when money gets reinvested or there just isn’t that much money coming in, that means there isn’t a tax liability.

There is one more item from a mailer put out by “We Are Wisconsin”. I had thought that it would be nigh impossible to take 140 characters out of context, but that union front group managed to do it. Let’s review the entire tweet (with the part “We Are Wisconsin” chose to take in italics, though they did correct the typo in the original):

Stop the fraud and fix Medicare first! If we cannot do that then why should we invest more into a corrupt, loosing venture?

News flash – Medicare Part A, the Hospital Insurance part, is burning through its “Trust Fund” at a rate that puts exhaustion by 2024, or probably earlier if one believes the chief actuary. In 2010, CBS pegged Medicare fraud at $60 billion per year and termed it “…one of, if not the most profitable, crimes in America.”

July 20, 2011

Wisconsin Senate Recall Elections – Round 2 post-mortem

by @ 17:50. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

Yesterday over at Hot Air, I ruminated on what to look for out of the results from yesterday’s round of elections. There’s one bit of good and a whole boatload of ugly that came out of last night, including something I didn’t quite foresee that should shake my side to its core.

The one bit of good came from the 12th Senate district, where the number of votes for winner Kim Simac (11,301 votes according to the Associated Press) and Robert Lussow (7,767 votes) came very close to the 19,255 signatures that Simac and her group gathered to force the recall election of incumbent Democrat Jim Holperin. Among what can be fairly described as the “anybody but the incumbent” crowd, that 99% “retention” rate from the recall to the election is the second-best of any effort.

The percentages were not nearly as good in the 22nd Senate district, where the votes for winner Jonathan Steitz (5,981 votes, again according to the Associated Press) and Fred Ekornaas (3,369 votes) totaled under 55% of the 17,138 signatures gathered by the recall group. That is the worst “retention” effort of the bunch, even worse than Democrat Nancy Nusbaum’s 59% “retention” rate last week or David VanderLeest’s utter failure against Sen. Dave Hansen in the 30th last night, with a 71% “retention” rate.

That leads me to the 30th Senate District. The 66% (once write-ins are considered, something the Associated Press did not track) of the vote Hansen received went above the 65% “trouble” level I set based on a DailyKos/PPP poll that had Hansen beating VanderLeest 62%-34%.

More troubling than the percentage is the raw number of votes Hansen received. Special elections, which is what a recall election is, are “turnout” elections. The 22,052 votes Hansen received is nearly 88% of the 25,192 votes fellow Democrat Tom Barrett received in the gubernatorial election last November. It is also greater than the number of votes either Supreme Court Justice David Prosser (20,536) or challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg (18,706) received in April, and far greater than the 15,540 signatures VanderLeest’s group gathered to force the recall election.

I toyed with the idea of titling this “Big Trouble in Little Suamico” because the results from that town in Oconto County and the 30th Senate District perfectly illustrates the current enthusiasm gap. In November, now-Governor Scott Walker beat Barrett 1,115 to 554. In April, Prosser beat Kloppenburg 549-348. Yesterday, Hansen beat VanderLeest 520-385.

That is not, to say, all is lost. The two challengers to the incumbent Democrats still under election threat who I consider to be stronger won last night. As we found in both November 2010 and April, a “max effort” from the Left can be beaten; however it takes a “max effort” on our part. We also know, thanks to the Supreme Court election, even a belated “max effort” can carry the day. In this regard, I am (almost) thankful John Nygren screwed up on his nomination papers – we know there is an enthusiasm gap and there is just under three weeks to counter it.

Revisions/extensions (9:34 am 7/21/2011) – Craig Gilbert took a different tack on turnout, looking at total turnout versus “opposition” turnout. While he noted that none of these races were expected to be competitive, he also noted the one serious precedent, the recall of George Petak down in Racine County after he flipped on the Miller Park tax vote, saw a turnout of estimated 37% of voting-age-population.

Assuming the Democrats actually had a “max effort/near-max turnout” in the 30th, Hansen would have been in trouble had turnout been 34% instead of 25%, may well have lost had turnout been the 37% it was in Racine in 1996, and would have lost had turnout been the 42% it was in November.

June 28, 2011

Filling in the blanks on Taiwan Politics – WI Supreme Court Style

by @ 13:36. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

It may be short on actual names attached to the attributed version, but Christian Schneider put up the most-complete timeline yet of a version of the events surrounding the incident between Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley, extending from before the incident itself to the leak of the news to Soros-funded “media”, over at National Review. Let’s see if I can do the Cliff Notes’ version:

– The week prior to the incident, three of the justices were prepared to issue an order on the case of Act 10. Prosser wanted to delay some to avoid the appearance of rushing as oral arguments occured on 6/6, and apparently reached a deal with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson that the order would be issued on 6/14.

– On 6/13, no notice that an order would be forthcoming had been made, so at 5:30 pm, Prosser and the other conservative Justices went looking for Abrahamson to get an explanation. They found her in Bradley’s office.

– Prosser remained outside the office and got into a heated discussion with Abrahamson over the issue of timing of the release of the order.

– Bradley rushed out to confront Prosser, with one source saying she was shaking a fist in his face and another saying they were “nose to nose”.

– Prosser pushed Bradley about the shoulders to get her out of his face, and in the course of that, contacted her neck. At the same time, another Justice was attempting to pull Bradley back from Prosser.

– On 6/15, 2 days after he had been notified of the incident by Bradley, Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs talked to all 7 Justices, including the not-present Justice Patrick Crooks, about violence in the workplace. No further action appears to have been made by the Capitol Police, which has jurisdiction in the Capitol building and thus the Supreme Court offices, and to date, nobody has pressed criminal charges.

I do recommend, as always, reading the entire piece. There are a bunch of details I left out of the above summary.

Revisions/extensions (10:10 pm 6/28/2011) – Two people who have been following the ins and outs of the Supreme Court longer than I have weighed in on just how long the Court has been dysfunctional, and who the constant in the dysfunctionality is.

John Mercure of WTMJ-AM interviewed former Supreme Court Justice William Callow (he served between 1977 and 1992 and still is an active reserve judge) on his show this afternoon, and Callow fingered Abrahamson as the chief troublemaker.

Meanwhile, Rick Esenberg, in a comment on his Sunday morning take, remembered that the majority of the court had endorsed Abrahamson’s opponent…in 1999.

I note two things – the second-longest serving Justice (Bradley) joined the Court in 1995, and three current Justices were not on the Court in 1999.

Also, welcome Memeorandum readers.

Tuesday Hot Read – Kevin Binversie’s “‘Supreme’ idiocy all around”

by @ 6:36. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Over at his new gig at the Wisconsin Reporter, Kevin Binversie put up the most-exhaustive take yet on the Supreme Rumble. I’ll give you the last three paragraphs to whet your whistle:

There are a lot of factors here, all of which are along the lines of stupid and petty. So stupid and petty, you’d think we were dealing with toddlers and not some of the most respected legal minds in the state of Wisconsin.

Yes, Prosser has a temper and a short fuse. This is a well-known and documented fact since his Assembly days. However, what’s lost in a lot of the coverage is the apparent sycophantic defense Walsh Bradley has for Chief Justice Abrahamson if the “she charged him version” of the events is true.

The battle of factions within the Wisconsin Supreme Court is well-known in both the state’s legal and political circles; but now it’s to a point that public back-stabbing and reports of physical altercations only help feed growing concern the court is teetering into professional dysfunction. Somewhere, someone has to be the adult in the room; but from the look of things, we’re a long way from that with the justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The battle of the factions really started to boil over when Justice Michael Gabelman defeated appointed Justice Louis Butler in 2008. Since then, Abrahamson, Bradley and Patrick Crooks have done everything they could to remove Gabelman from the Court, going so far as to ignore the recommendation of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission that an allegation of false political advertising against Gabelman in that campaign did not warrant action by the Court, which prompted the “intemperate” remark from Prosser behind closed doors and leaked from a Bradley e-mail.

June 27, 2011

Taiwan politics – WI Supreme Court style

by @ 13:37. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

In case you’ve been in a cave all weekend, there was a physical altercation between Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley a week and a half ago as all but one of the Supreme Court justices were in Bradley’s chambers discussing the timing of the release of the order affecting Act 10, the budget repair/collective bargaining law. What is known is Prosser made some remarks directed at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson after she suggested that the release would be delayed until after the end of June (this despite a majority ready to issue an order), Bradley demanded Prosser leave her chambers, and contact about Bradley’s neck ensued. The under-reported version of the events from anonymous sources (as far as I can tell, the only media reports that include that version come from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and that version is “mysteriously” missing from the AP coverage widely reported nationwide) claim Bradley charged Prosser with fists raised and that the contact was defensive on Prosser’s part, while Bradley is belatedly publicly claiming Prosser put her in a “chokehold”, matching the first “anonymous” claims.

I’ll send you over to Althouse for a steady stream of updates, including the less-than-fully-acknowledged wholesale ReWrite™ of the original Soros-funded Wisconsin Watch piece after the MJS turned up the version that included a charging Bradley. I do have a heap of questions on this:

– Why was this discussion happening in Bradley’s chambers? Bradley is neither the Chief Justice (Abrahamson, who was present, is) nor an author of any part of the set of orders/concurrences/dissents. I don’t claim to know standard operating procedure at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but it would be logical that, especially when the Chief Justice is involved in discussions, the discussions would happen in the Chief Justice’s chambers.

– Why did Bradley choose to intervene in a verbal dispute between Prosser and Abrahamson? The last time I checked, Abrahamson was able to handle herself in the verbal arena. If Bradley felt the need to intervene, both Prosser and Abrahamson should have been asked to depart the room.

– If it was a “chokehold”, why has the only action by the Capitol Police been, as of this morning, been to have the chief, Charles Tubbs, meet with all 7 justices (including the not-present Patrick Crooks)? I know we’re talking about the Capitol Police and Chief Wiggu…er, Tubbs here, but how long does it take to interview 6 Justices and perhaps an equal number of staff (note; I have not seen anything that states that anybody other than the Justices were present)?

WITI-TV has reported that the Capitol Police anticipates releasing a statement today, though that has not come as of yet. The Journal Sentinel is quoting anonymous sources that the Capitol Police will be handing over the investigation to the Dane County Sheriff’s office.

The $64 million question from Darleen Glick – (D)o you think that a woman like Bradley, who seriously considered calling the cops because Prosser used a profanity about another justice would not call the cops if she was the victim of an unprovoked, physical assault in front of witnesses? More properly, that question would be one of pressing charges as at some point the Capitol Police was notified of the incident.

On the other hand, Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway has physically assaulted fellow board members on multiple occassions, and no police report was filed.

Revisions/extensions (1:48 pm 6/27/2011) – Almost immediately after I posted, Tubbs turned over the investigation to the Dane County Sheriff’s office (same link).

June 21, 2011

Recall Mania dates (all-but-)locked

by @ 19:09. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

With the passage of the 5 pm deadline today to file to run in the recalls of Democrat Senators Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch, the timeline for elections has been set, assuming none of the 9 challenges by the incumbents are successful in voiding the recall election. Barring that, here’s the timeline for Recall Mania, with the note that the three “placeholder” candidates advanced by the Democrat Party of Wisconsin in districts currently held by Republicans to ensure primaries did not file economic interest statements and thus won’t be on the ballot):

July 12 – Recall Democrat “primaries” (DPW-endorsed candidate listed first, RPW protest caniddate second) in the 2nd Senate District (Nancy Nusbaum vs. Otto Junkerman), 8th Senate District (Sandy Pasch vs Gladys Huber), 10th Senate District of Shelia Harsdorf (Shelly Moore vs Issax Weix), 14th Senate District (Fred Clark vs Rol Church), 18th Senate District (Jessica King vs John Buckstaff) and 32nd Senate District (Jennifer Shilling vs James Smith).

July 19 – Recall Republican primaries (pending filing of economic interest statements by all involved) in the 12th Senate District (Kim Simac vs Robert Lussow), 22nd Senate District (Fred Ekornaas vs Jonathan Steitz) and 30th Senate District (John Nygren vs David VanderLeest). The potential Democrat primary in the 30th between incumbent Dave Hansen and Josh O’Harrow evaporated when O’Harrow failed to file signatures by today Also, if one or more of these candidates fail to file statements of economic interest by Friday, the July 19th date will become a general election against the incumbent(s) in the affected districts, Democrats Jim Holperin in the 12th, Robert Wirch in the 22nd and Dave Hansen in the 30th, all with no third-party/independent candidates on the ballot.

August 9 – Recall general elections in the Senate districts currently held by Republicans – Robert Cowles in the 2nd, Alberta Darling in the 8th, Shelia Harsdorf in the 10th, Luther Olsen in the 14th, Randy Hopper in the 18th and Dan Kapanke in the 32nd. There are no third-party/independent candidates on the ballot.

August 16 – Recall general elections in the Senate districts currently held by the Democrats (assuming there were primaries held on July 19th).

WisPolitics also reports that the Government Accountabillty Board will file a motion with Dane County Judge Richard Niess, already set to hear challenges from Hopper and Kapanke, and also the judge that allowed the attempted consolidation of all the elections, to consolidate all the challenges to the recall election orders into a single case. While the RPW attorney welcomed the move, the DPW attorney was skeptical of including the challenge of the three Democrats in the consolidation. I wonder how much of that skepticism was because it would likely take that case out of Maryann Sumi’s courtroom.

Revisions/extensions (7:51 pm 6/21/2011) – To answer PaulM’s question in another post, unless an incumbent is certified as having been defeated, he or she continues to serve as a state senator until the expiration of the term at the beginning of January, 2013. Of course, the Senate, once it ends its current session at the end of this month, isn’t in session again until September.

June 15, 2011

The obligatory “If the majority opinion were a movie clip” clip

by @ 7:13. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

If you’re looking for learned, legal-scholarly opinion on the majority opinion that restored Act 10 to law, I’ll send you over to William Jacobson at the soon-to-be-off-Blogger Legal Insurrection. Of course, there is some football-spiking involved.

I’ll provide the obligatory clip from “Billy Madison”, which sums up what the majority told Maryann Sumi yesterday quite well…


Is Act 10 effective right now?

by @ 2:20. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Disclosure – I am not a lawyer. Further, I do not have access to the records of the Goodland case from 1943, so I cannot answer how the Supreme Court, and if memory serves, the appeals court before it, dealt with the timing issues related to the striking down of the circuit court’s attempt to block publication of an act. Therefore, there is a possibility this analysis could be in error.

In case you missed the news, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as part of taking the case of Wisconsin Act 10 on original jurisdiction, vacated and voided ab initio all orders and judgements issued by Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi in the original case that had blocked implementation of the act as Sumi exceeded her authority set by both the state constitution and the Supreme Court by enjoining publication of the act.

Predictably, Democrat Secretary of State Doug La Follette thinks he can delay for at least a bit longer its enforcement because, based solely on the first of Sumi’s orders, he changed the designated publication date from March 25 to a date uncertain. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), speaking on Mark Belling’s show on WISN-AM shortly after the ruling, and Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) believe Act 10 is now law. For his part Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch says his office will begin implementing the act “when appropriate”. Let’s see if I can sort some of this out.

While the order from the Supreme Court does not directly address the date of publication, from which, in normal circumstances, the effectiveness of an act stems, it can be inferred from both the order and the statutes that the act is considered by the Court to have been published on March 25, and by Wis. Stat. §991.11, which states, “Every act and every portion of an act enacted by the legislature over the governor’s partial veto which does not expressly prescribe the time when it takes effect shall take effect on the day after its date of publication as designated under s. 35.095 (3) (b),” and by the order yesterday voiding all of Sumi’s blocking orders, it is currently in effect.

I’ll leave the distinction between the three possible effective dates (March 26, June 14 or June 15) to the professionals as that can and probably will have legal consequences for those local units of government who cut deals with public unions on and after March 26. I will, however, push on with the publication date.

Paragraph 10 of the order comes closest to addressing whether the act is already published, and indeed is the only paragraph of the order itself that mentions either the office of the Secretary of State or the person who holds it:

10 Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution vests the legislature with the constitutional power to “provide by law” for publication. The legislature has set the requirements for publication. However, the Secretary of State has not yet fulfilled his statutory duty to publish a notice of publication of the Act in the official state newspaper, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 14.38(10)(c). Due to the vacation of the circuit court’s orders, there remain no impediments to the Secretary of State fulfilling his obligations under § 14.38(10)(c).

Let’s review what that section, which covers the duties of the Secretary of State says:

Publish in the official state newspaper within 10 days after the date of publication of an act a notice certifying the number of each act, the number of the bill from which it originated, the date of publication and the relating clause. Each certificate shall also contain a notice of where the full text of each act can be obtained. Costs under this paragraph shall be charged to the appropriation under s. 20.765 (1) (d).

Do note the “after the date of publication” part of the time limit to publish the notice, and the requirement to include the “date of publication” in the notice, in § 14.38(10)(c). Also, do notice the specific language in the order saying that La Follette had “…not yet fulfilled his statutory duty to publish a notice of publication of the Act…”. The inclusion of that specific language, and not any language that refers to the publication of the act itself, strongly suggests that the majority believes that the act was already published by state law.

The Supreme Court, as stated above, voided ab initio all of Sumi’s orders, including her first temporary restraining order on March 18 enjoining La Follette (and only La Follette) from any further action in the process of publication and implementation of Act 10. To put it in English, that means that in the eyes of the Court, none of Sumi’s orders ever were valid.

La Follette, who on March 14 had designated March 25 as the publication date, subsequently sent notice to the Legislative Reference Bureau informing them that, pursuant to that TRO he rescinded the publication date and would not issue a new one until a later date.

Since the TRO no longer has, and indeed never did have, any legal standing, the question is whether La Follette had any statutory authority to change the publication date days after designating one. A quick review of the timeline is in order:

  • On March 11, Governor Scott Walker signed Act 10, thus enacting it, and deposited it in the Secretary of State’s office for publication.
  • On March 14, La Follette, pursuant to § 35.095(3)(b), designated to the Legislative Reference Bureau March 25, the last date allowed by statute, as the date of publication of the act.
  • On March 18, Sumi issued her first TRO enjoining La Follette from publishing the act. Also on that date, La Follette used that TRO as the justification in an attempt to change the March 25 date of publication to a date uncertain.
  • On March 25, the Legislative Reference Bureau, pursuant to § 35.095(3)(a), published the act on the last date allowed by statute with a note that, due to the TRO, La Follette was enjoined from publshing the act.

There is a further limitation to the Secretary of State’s ability to designate a date of publication beyond the 10 working day requirement in § 35.095(3)(b). § 14.38(10)(a) reads, “No later than the next working day following the deposit of an act in his or her office, provide written notice to the legislative reference bureau of the act number and date of enactment, and the designated date of publication of the act under s. 35.095.”

There is, as far as I can tell, no statutory language that gives the Secretary of State any authority to, after the working day following the deposit of an act in his office, change the designated date of publication, much less to a date beyond 10 working days after the date of enactment.

In this case, since La Follette designated March 25 as the date of publication on March 14, the working day after the act was deposited in his office, and the Supreme Court voided the judicial justification for a date-of-publication change after March 14, La Follette’s attempt to change the date of publication on March 18 is without any legal basis.

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