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Thursday, April 28, 2016

 7:51 PM 

Feingold says 'no big hurry' for Sanders to drop out of Dem primary

Dem U.S. Senate candidate Russ Feingold said today there's "no big hurry" for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the 2016 Dem primaries.

Feingold told reporters after a WisPolitics.com luncheon in Madison that Sanders will "do the right thing when the time is right." But the Middleton Dem declined to say whether Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee, saying "the people will decide."

He once again refused to say who he voted for in the primaries this month, saying he didn't even tell his wife. And he said he's still holding off on an endorsement because he wants the "process to play out."

"I think it's harmful to do something that would cause divisions when I could try to bring people together," Feingold said.

But he credited Sanders for the amount of enthusiasm his campaign has seen, especially from young people who are getting involved in politics.

"What he's doing is great," Feingold said. "He helped make Hillary Clinton a better candidate, and what he did on his own, raised issues that frankly I've been raising for decades that needed to be raised about the power of big money in politics and the predominance of Wall Street."

At the luncheon, Feingold also slammed Donald Trump's foreign policy speech, saying it often "didn't make sense."

Yet given his standing as the GOP front-runner, Feingold said, the public has to start "really listening to what he's saying, even though it can be confusing at times."

Trump yesterday laid out his foreign policy planks in a Washington address, providing few details but saying he would put "America First." One example, Trump said, is calling together a NATO summit so the U.S. allies can start paying more toward the alliance.

If that doesn't happen, Trump said, the U.S. "must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves."

But Feingold said NATO has been a "valuable bulwark" against the Soviet Union and Russia. Though there might be room for changes, Feingold said, Trump can't go around saying America needs to show the world "that we have their back" and then threaten to leave alliances.

"That doesn't really work," Feingold said. "So we're going to be listening carefully to what he has to say."

Listen to the luncheon

Listen to the Q&A with reporters

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

 3:10 PM 

Split GAB votes to request $250,000 from JFC to cover voter ID education campaign

A split GAB today voted 4-2 to request $250,000 from the Joint Finance Committee to cover a voter ID education campaign ahead of the fall elections.

The request would account for almost all of the $267,000 JFC has in its reserves, and members of the board questioned how effective an ad campaign would be in educating voters about the requirement, which was in place for this spring’s elections.

Judge Gerald Nichol made the motion, saying it would allow the Elections Commission, which will succeed the GAB July 1, to determine how best to use the money.

But Judge Harold Froehlich said the board was just “spinning its wheels” seeking the money.

“I think this whole effort to get more money for advertising is not going to go anywhere,” he said.

See more in today's PM Update.

-- By JR Ross

 8:19 AM 

State GOP names national convention delegates

Gov. Scott Walker, first lady Tonette Walker, Lt. Guv. Rebecca Kleefisch and AG Brad Schimel are among the 18 at-large Wisconsin delegates who will be pledged to Ted Cruz at the national convention.

Others on the list include state Chair Brad Courtney, RNC members Steve King and Mary Buestrin, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, of Rochester, state Sen. Duey Stroebel, of Saukville, state Rep. Dean Knudson, of Hudson, and former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Walker campaigned for Cruz in the days leading up to the Wisconsin primary, while Vos was one of several lawmakers who flipped from Marco Rubio to Cruz. Thompson chaired John Kasich’s campaign in Wisconsin.

Cruz won the 18 delegates after finishing first in the statewide results of Wisconsin’s April 5 primary. He won another 18 delegates for winning six of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts. Donald Trump won the other two, and those delegates were selected at congressional district party events earlier this month.

The Wisconsin GOP Executive Committee met over the weekend to select the 18 at-large delegates and 18 alternates. Under the constitution, the party consults with the candidate who won the at-large delegates -- in this election, Cruz -- in selecting the people who fill those roles as well as the alternate. The constitution also states delegates are bound to their candidates unless they release them or receive less than one-third of the vote during any round on the convention floor.

The at-large alternates include: Sen. Alberta Darling, of River Hills; Sen. Mary Lazich, of New Berlin; Rep. John Nygren, of Marinette; Rep. Jim Steineke, of Kaukauna; Rep. Tyler August, of Lake Geneva; former Gov. Scott McCallum; and former U.S. Rep. Mark Green.

Three of the guv’s current or past aides also were named alternates: Keith Gilkes and Stephan Thompson, who head Walker’s state campaign; and Jim Villa, who was Walker’s chief of staff while he was Milwaukee County exec and is now vice president for university relations for UW System.

See the full list.

Friday, April 22, 2016

 3:15 PM 

Walker presidential campaign cuts debt, still owes $952,000

Gov. Scott Walker shaved $141,000 off his presidential campaign’s debt last month as he continued to pull in money from renting to other campaigns his extensive list of supporters.

Walker still had $952,256 left to pay off from his presidential bid, which ended in September. He’s been gradually paying down his outstanding debts since finishing 2015 with $1.2 million in debts and $153,460 cash on hand. 

He had $25,515 in the bank at the end of March.

See more in today's REPORT.
-- By David Wise

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 8:43 AM 

Walker 'without a doubt' inclined to run in 2018

Gov. Scott Walker continues to signal his intentions for a re-election bid, telling a conservative media outlet he's inclined to run in 2018 "without a doubt."

Walker has ramped up the re-election talk in recent months. Following Ted Cruz's primary win in Wisconsin, he told WisPolitics.com others had encouraged him to seek re-election and "I said I'd love to run again in 2018."

Walker was asked by TownHall.com if he's inclined seek re-election to a third term.

"Yeah. I am, without a doubt. I love what I do," the site quoted Walker sas saying. "We get good things done. It's a benefit to the people of Wisconsin, but I think it also has a positive impact on people across the country if we can show other Republican governors and Republican lawmakers that even in a blue state like Wisconsin, we can get positive reforms done. And in turn, not only get elected, but see those reforms work for our people. I think that's a good thing."

Walker said he would not officially make a final decision until next year.

-- By Staff

 8:38 AM 

More than 250 state Dems seeking delegate slots at national convention

More than 250 people are vying to be delegates at the Democratic National Convention representing Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, according to a list the state Democratic Party released Tuesday.

Sanders won 48 of Wisconsin's pledged delegates, while Clinton took 38. That includes 31 for Sanders at the congressional district level and 26 for Clinton.

Those congressional district delegates will be selected May 1. The list released by the Dem Party includes the more than 250 people who have filed a statement of intent and pledge to support one of the candidates if elected. That makes them eligible to be picked as a delegate for the national convention.

The list also includes those who intend to attend the congressional district meetings to advocate for one of the more than 250 vying to be picked for the national convention.

Some of those vying to be a delegate for Sanders include: Kelly Westlund, who ran unsuccessfully for the 7th CD in 2014; Maureen May Grimm, who ran unsuccessfully for the 51st AD in 2012; and Milwaukee County Supv. Supreme Moore Omokunde, son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee.

Those vying to represent Clinton include: state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine; Diane Odeen, who is running for the 10th SD this fall; and Melissa Schroeder, a longtime party activist and former DNC member.

The party's Administrative Committee will meet June 3 to select the other pledged delegates based off the statewide results.

See the list:

 8:34 AM 

Spokeswoman: NRSC starting to reserve almost $2 million in TV, digital this fall in Wisconsin

The NRSC is starting to reserve almost $2 million in TV and digital time to run this fall in Wisconsin as U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, tries to fend off Dem Russ Feingold, a spokeswoman says.

Andrea Bozek said the National Republican Senatorial Committee is not releasing yet what markets it is targeting.

The $2 million in Wisconsin is a piece of the almost $28 million the NRSC is reserving in five states, according to Politico. That includes: $6.8 million to help Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire; $6.7 million backing Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania; $5.9 million to aid Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio; and $6.3 million in the Nevada seat being vacated by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Politico also reported the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reserved $38 million, though Wisconsin was not one of the states targeted. 

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 7:30 AM 

New Feingold TV ad says he has 'tough, realistic plan to protect America'

Russ Feingold is out with a new TV ad featuring a Vietnam veteran who says the Dem Senate candidate has a “tough, realistic plan to protect America.”

The campaign released the spot as Feingold is getting hit on the air by a super PAC backing GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. Let America Work’s spot seeks to link Feingold to the “weakness” of President Obama’s foreign policy.

In the new Feingold ad, Dan Krehbiel opens the spot by saying, “We don’t need politicians playing games with attack ads” and there’s “a better way.”

Krehbiel says he read Feingold’s plan, and the Middleton Dem wants to: go “after the terrorists’ oil money and arms supplies,” combine targeted military force with better intelligence, and “work with Middle Eastern states to take on the terrorists in their own backyard.”

“Russ Feingold offers a tough, realistic plan to protect America,” Krehbiel says to close the spot.

Feingold’s campaign said it is a six-figure guy that is running statewide.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, April 18, 2016

 4:59 PM 

Lasee revises up fundraising total for 8th CD bid

State Sen. Frank Lasee now says he’s raised more than $161,000 for his 8th CD race and finished the period with $154,000 cash on hand.

Lasee, R-De Pere, initially announced late Friday he had raised $115,000, well behind the $520,332 pulled in by GOP rival Michael Gallagher.

Lasee’s campaign said he is filing an amended report to reflect the higher total. 

-- By JR Ross

 4:58 PM 

Feingold has cash-on-hand advantage over Johnson

Russ Feingold had about a $900,000 cash-on-hand advantage over U.S. Sen Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, at the end of the last quarter, according to their campaigns.

Their full reports covering January through March have not yet been posted to the FEC site as Monday afternoon. But Feingold’s campaign said last week he finished the period with $6.4 million in the bank after raising just more than $3.3 million.

Johnson’s campaign said today he had $5.5 million cash on hand after pulling in $2.1 million.
-- By JR Ross

Friday, April 15, 2016

 11:46 PM 

Lasee raised over $115,000 during first quarter

GOP state Sen. Frank Lasee announced late Friday he raised more than $115,000 during the first months of his campaign for the 8th CD.

His campaign said he finished the three-month period with more than $108,000 cash on hand.

GOP rival Michael Gallagher announced a week ago he raised $520,000 in his first quarter.

In his release, Lasee said he faced several obstacles in fundraising. That includes the final days of the legislative session, which ended in mid-March. Lasee also said he had hip replacement surgery shortly after announcing his congressional bid in mid-February.

-- By JR Ross

 4:17 PM 

Kapanke files to run against Shilling for old state Senate seat

Former GOP state Sen. Dan Kanpanke, of LaCrosse, filed with the GAB this week to challenge Dem Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling for his old Senate seat. 

Kapanke declined comment this week when contacted by WisPolitics.com, saying he would likely have an announcement later. 

Shilling knocked off Kapanke with 55.4 percent of the vote in a 2011 recall election sparked by the the Republican's support of Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining changes for public employees.

Kapanke, owner the college summer league baseball team the LaCrosse Loggers, first won the La Crosse-area seat in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008 with 51.4 percent of the vote even as Barack Obama won Wisconsin statewide by almost 14 percentage points. He later lost a 2010 bid for Congress against U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-LaCrosse. 

Shilling, meanwhile, was re-elected in 2012 with 58.3 percent of the vote.

Candidates for state office could begin circulating nomination papers today. They are due back to the GAB June 1.

-- By JR Ross

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