• WisPolitics

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 11:44 AM 

New Walker ad proclaims 'Wisconsin is back on'

Scott Walker’s latest TV ad declares “Wisconsin is back on” thanks to the guv.

The spot, which went up on the air the same day Walker formally launched his re-election campaign, opens with a narrator saying “it had gotten pretty bad four years ago,” citing more than 130,000 jobs lost, a more than $3 billion deficit and taxes going on.

“Wisconsin’s future looked dark,” the narrator said. “But it’s different now. Wisconsin has turned around. The deficit is gone. Taxes are lower. And more people have gone back to work.”

The spot goes on to proclaim things like kids are going to college, families are planning vacations and “more are going to sleep knowing they have access to health care.” It says the state is investing in worker training with a goal that “everyone who wants a job, can find a job.”

“That’s progress. That’s what leadership feels like,” the narrator says to close the 60-second spot. “And thanks to Gov. Walker, Wisconsin is back on.”

Sources tell WisPolitics.com Walker's latest buy runs today through April 24.

-- By JR Ross

 9:24 AM 

Walker officially announces re-election bid

DANE -- Gov. Scott Walker officially kicked off his re-election campaign this morning, contrasting his work to turn around the state budget with the $3.6 billion deficit he inherited.

The governor, appearing with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch at the first stop of a statewide tour today, touted the nearly $1 billion projected budget surplus, some $2 billion in tax relief and 100,000 jobs created during his tenure.

"That's the most exciting news of the day," Walker said of the job gains during an appearance at Dane Manufacturing.

Walker also said under his Medicaid changes, every family living in poverty has access to health care, while also touting his call last week for another two-year tuition freeze at University of Wisconsin System schools.

The governor said he and Kleefisch are running again because "we know there's more work that needs to be done," saying his vision for the next four years involves reducing dependency on government in favor of "hard work and personal pride."

"Wisconsin's back," Walker said. "Wisconsin is on the right track again."

Walker and Kleefisch were also set to appear in La Crosse, Chippewa Falls, Schofield, Green Bay and Milwaukee.

The governor did not mention presumptive Dem opponent Mary Burke during his remarks. Burke, who will be in Wausau and Superior today, knocked Walker's job creation efforts in response to his announcement.

"We are in our fourth losing season with this governor and his failed game plan," Burke said. "It's time for a new direction. It's time for Wisconsin to lead, not lag."

-- By Andy Szal

Monday, April 14, 2014

 4:50 PM 

Petri: Time was right to retire

NEENAH -- U.S. Rep. Tom Petri said he decided to retire for a myriad of reasons, but -- above all -- the time was right.

Speaking to a town hall audience in Neenah, the Republican congressman refused to identify a cause for bowing out of his re-election bid, saying he didn’t think it was “fair” to single out just one reason. However, he acknowledge that a challenge in the upcoming election, combined with an already lengthy time in Congress, weighed on his mind as he made the decision.

“Sooner or later, you’re either booted out, die or retire,” Petri joked.

“No time is perfect, but this was pretty good,” Petri added.

-- By Jason Smathers

Saturday, April 12, 2014

 1:02 PM 

Stroebel jumps in 6th CD GOP primary

State Rep. Duey Stroebel announced today he's running for the 6th CD, the second Republican to jump into what could become a crowded primary.

Stroebel's announcement comes one day after U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, announced he would not seek re-election this fall.

Stroebel, who announced last month he was considering a bid, said in a statement he is "committed to running a strong, well-financed campaign based on conservative principles that put power back into the hands of the people.”

“As a small businessman, I cannot sit on the sidelines while Washington continues down a disastrous path of fiscal irresponsibility while working families struggle to make ends meet in the Obama economy," Stroebel said. "I’ve built a business from the ground up and created jobs, and I know what it takes to get the 6th District and America working again."

Stroebel, who owns a real estate management and development company, was elected to the Assembly in a spring 2011 special election.

He joins state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, in the GOP field, while state Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, and John Hiller have said they are considering a bid. Others are expected to look at a run as well.

-- By JR Ross

Friday, April 11, 2014

 3:20 PM 

Petri won't seek re-election

GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, will announce Monday that he will not seek re-election.

Petri's congressional office put out a statement this afternoon that the longtime congressman, facing a primary challenge this fall, will make the announcement at a town hall meeting in Neenah.

The announcement included no additional comment on the decision, which comes after state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, announced plans to challenge Petri.

State Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, issued a statement this afternoon indicating he'll consider a bid to succeed Petri. State Rep. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, and John Hiller were also weighing bids.

UPDATE: Hiller said late Friday afternoon he is forming an exploratory committee for a possible run and will have an announcement soon.

-- By Staff

 11:53 AM 

Ellis: 'I don't fit in anymore'

State Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, said he is retiring because he no longer fits in the environment that has enveloped the Capitol, where compromise is no longer valued.

Ellis' statement announcing his retirement does not directly address his comments that were captured on video and released this week showing him discussing a potentially illegal campaign scheme. But he says his wife has been constantly harassed by those on the left and the right with a "camera shoved in her face" whenever she goes out in public.

In addition to saying he loved his wife too much to "continue this," Ellis bemoaned how "independent thought is attacked in our own backyard." He mentioned fellow retiring senators Tim Cullen, D-Janesville; Bob Jauch, D-Poplar; and Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center; in saying "I see that compromise is not valued in today's Capitol environment, and that means I don't fit in anymore."

"Special interests hold too much sway, instead of the voice of the people," Ellis said. "I'm a senator from a different era, and I value my integrity too much to compromise it any more."

-- By JR Ross

 10:49 AM 

Ellis to retire

Senate President Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, has decided to retire following the release of a videotape showing him discussing a possibly illegal campaign scheme. 

Ellis' office said the longtime lawmaker is not doing interviews today, but planned to release a statement. He called his hometown newspaper today to announce his decision.

Ellis, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1970 and the Senate in 1982, has been a top Dem target in this fall's election, and state Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber, D-Appleton, announced plans last year to challenge him.

He also has been a target of some conservatives, who have openly pined for a primary challenge for the cantankerous lawmaker. 

That talk ramped up after release of a video by the conservative group Project Veritas that showed Ellis -- a longtime campaign finance reform advocate -- at a Madison bar discussing the creation of a PAC and raising tens of thousands of dollars for his re-election campaign. After the tape was released, his campaign treasurer resigned.

-- By JR Ross

 9:23 AM 

Labor poll shows Sheridan 'well-positioned' for Dem primary run in SD 15

A poll conducted in the southern Wisconsin state Senate district being vacated by Dem Tim Cullen shows former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan "well-positioned to make a strong run for the Democratic nomination" in the 15th SD.

The March 29-31 poll, conducted by FM3 Research for labor-trade groups, shows Sheridan in what pollster Paul Maslin called "a virtual dead heat" with declared candidate state Rep. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville.

According to the survey, Ringhand registered 21 percent of those polled while Sheridan garnered 20 percent of respondents. If leaners were included, the total was Ringhand 31 percent, Sheridan 29 percent, and 39 percent undecided.

The poll also showed, according to Maslin, that Sheridan's 2-to-1 favorable rating indicates "that any possible damage to his image from the lobbying controversy in his final term as speaker is minor."

The poll surveyed 305 likely August primary voters in the 15th SD over landlines and cell phones. The margin of error was plus or minus 5.6 percent.

See Maslin's polling memo

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

 9:56 AM 

Pridemore announces retirement

Rep. Don Pridemore today announced he won't seek re-election this fall.

"One criticism of too many elected officials is that they do not know when to move on. Now is my time," said Pridemore, R-Erin, in a statement.

He's the 18th member -- and 12th Republican -- to announce plans to step away at the end of this term.

-- By Staff

Monday, April 7, 2014

 1:19 PM 

SEIU backs Richards in AG race

The Service Employees International Union has endorsed state Rep. Jon Richards for attorney general, Richards' campaign announced today.

SEIU State Council President Dian Palmer called Richards, D-Milwaukee, "the best choice for Democrats in the primary election," where he's set to face Dane Co. DA Ismael Ozanne and Jefferson Co. DA Susan Happ.

"Jon Richards has been a champion for workers during his time in the state Legislature, and he’ll be a champion for working people as attorney general," Palmer said in a statement.

Richards said in the statement he'll "continue to do everything I can to make sure workers are treated fairly and with dignity."

-- By Staff

 11:13 AM 

Severson won't seek re-election

State Rep. Erik Severson today announced he will not run for re-election in the 28th Assembly District.

Severson, R-Osceola, said he'll continue working at the Osceola Medical Center and spend more time with his family after the conclusion of his term.

"I went to Madison to put Wisconsin’s fiscal house back in order and create an environment where businesses can thrive," said Severson, first elected in 2010, in a statement. "Since I started, Wisconsin has passed three different property and income tax cuts, putting money back into the pockets of the taxpayers."

Severson becomes the 17th member of the Assembly -- and the 11th Republican -- to opt against re-election this fall.

-- By Andy Szal

Friday, April 4, 2014

 11:02 AM 

Rep. Pasch not running for re-election

Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Shorewood, says she will not seek re-election to the Assembly.

In a statement released this morning, the assistant minority leader said family health matters and personal circumstances led her to rule out a reelection bid for the 10th Assembly district.

“This decision did not come lightly, as having the honor and privilege to serve the greater Milwaukee area since 2009 has been one of the most humbling and meaningful experiences of my life," Pasch said.

With Pasch's announcement, there are now 16 members of the Assembly who have made clear they're not returning:

Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay
Janet Bewley, D-Ashland
Penny Bernard Schaber, D-Appleton
Fred Clark, D-Baraboo
Mike Endsley, R-Sheboygan
Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah
Steve Kestell, R-Elkhart Lake
John Klenke, R-Green Bay
Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha
Dan LeMahieu, R-Cascade
Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green
Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee
Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville
Pat Strachota, R-West Bend
Mary Williams, R-Medford
Sandy Pasch, D-Shorewood

-- By Staff

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