• WisPolitics

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

 10:56 PM 

Pence stands firm with Trump in Waukesha speech

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, in his first solo speech as Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate, pushed repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.

That amendment prevents tax-exempt organizations, primarily religious, from supporting or opposing political candidates.

"I want to commend Reince Priebus because repealing the Johnson amendment is in the Republican party platform," Pence said.  "Donald Trump says we need to change this law. Donald Trump will restore freedom of speech to people of faith across this country."

Pence, during the speech in Waukesha, linked Democrats to world unrest, saying, "History teaches us that weakness arouses evil."

Referencing the killing of a Catholic priest by ISIS and the recent attempted coup in Turkey, Pence said, "I believe that Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's foreign policy of leading from behind, moving red lines, feigning resets with Russia and the rise, rule and reign of ISIS is a testament to this truth of history."

Pence spoke to a lukewarm crowd of about 400 at the Waukesha County Expo Center on Wednesday night, drawing only smatterings of applause. He got the most applause and cheers when he expressed support for law enforcement and the military, but even then, many members of the crowd kept their hands in their pockets or their arms crossed instead of clapping or waving signs.

Pence tried hard to appeal to Wisconsinites, telling them Gov. Scott Walker "is the best governor in the U.S." and saying he's proud to be "a Scott Walker Republican."

He gave a shout-out to U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, all of whom took the stage earlier to promote the Trump-Pence ticket.

"This is a great,” Pence said, “great state Legislature that has put Wisconsin on the map with the great leadership of Scott Walker and I appreciate the folks that are here."

Pence painted Trump as a strong leader, adding, "What's been most missing in Washington, D.C., is leadership."

He repeated many of the same phrases from his July 20 speech at the Republican National Convention, such as "Donald Trump gets it" and "He's the genuine article."

Pence said he respects Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, of Virginia, but said the "contrast is pretty dramatic."

Pence said Kaine imposed tax increases in Virginia, whereas Pence said he enacted tax relief in Indiana.

"Kaine took a run at getting funding for roads and bridges but never quite got that done,” he said. “But as governor of the state of Indiana, we have invested more than $2.5 billion in roads and bridges."

Pence did not speak to reporters afterward; nor did Gov. Scott Walker, who introduced Pence as one of the "most honorable" people he knows in politics and said he'd long "admired him from afar."

Walker mostly recounted his own successes when he took the stage, reminding attendees that "Conservative reforms work."

Walker called Pence a "Reagan conservative" but bragged that "as brave as (Pence) is," New York Sen. Charles Schumer once tweeted that Pence was a "Scott Walker Republican."

"Mike Pence is one of us," Walker said. "He is a proud, full-spectrum conservative."

But like earlier speakers in the night -- including Sensenbrenner, Fitzgerald and Vos -- Walker instead emphasized the need to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

"My conscience says I'm not going to let Hillary Clinton dominate the Supreme Court for the next 20 or 30 years," said Walker, adding when people ask him how he can trust Trump to choose future justices from a conservative list, he responds, "Look at his first pick (for vice president).

Earlier speakers also said little about Pence, focusing their remarks on Democrats and Clinton.

 "Americans have had enough," said RNC Chair Reince Priebus.

"We know that Donald Trump and Mike Pence will get ISIS under control," Priebus said, adding "Kill them before they kill us."  

Priebus tried to stir some of the same fervor that Walker had enjoyed at the same Expo Center site when he announced his presidential run last summer to thousands of boisterous supporters who filled the hall to overflowing,

"In Wisconsin, you have done it time and time again," Priebus said.

But when introducing Walker, Priebus faltered. He started to say, "We don't have a better governor" then hesitated, remembering the night's key speaker, and added, "Although we've got two great governors -- I have to careful about this introduction."

-- By Kay Nolan

 7:28 PM 

State GOP leaders prep crowd for Pence in Waukesha

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner opened the Pence event in Waukesha by praising him for his right-to-life stance, especially when he served in Congress from 2001 to 2013.

Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, noted Pence was "an integral part of passing the partial birth abortion ban bill" and called him a family man, Christian and conservative.

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald got the crowd to chant "Trump, Trump, Trump, Pence, Pence," likening the chant to the sound of a train.

"This is what the Trump train sounds like when it's coming down the tracks," said Fitzgerald, who then mentioned Hillary Clinton, prompting the crowd to chant, "Lock her up, lock her up."

Fitzgerald said almost nothing about Pence except to call him a "wonderful governor, who as we know as Midwesterners, is a different type of governor."

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he's "not going to do the Trump train chant,” but added, "I'm definitely on the Trump train." The Rochester Republican said Wisconsin has been the epicenter of conservative politics, and he implored the crowd to "make sure we have candidates for president and vice president who are going to shake up Washington."

Vos praised Pence for eliminating Common Core in Indiana and embracing school choice.

"Hillary Clinton can never occupy the White House," he said.
  -- By Kay Nolan

 7:22 PM 

Crowd preps for Pence speech

At 6 p.m., an hour before a Mike Pence rally was to begin at the Waukesha County Expo Center, barely 100 supporters had trickled in.

They stood quietly around the stage, as music blared, including the Rolling Stones' “You Can't Always Get What You Want."

Those interviewed said Trump had not been their first choice for president, but that they were now ready to support him.

Jim and Debbie Gorichanaz, of Greenfield, said they both had voted for Ted Cruz in Wisconsin's GOP primary this spring.

"We're here to see what Mike Pence has to say,” said Jim Gorichanaz, who works in sales. "I will vote for Trump because we have to stop Hillary Clinton, period."

Debbie Gorichanaz said she remains a big Scott Walker fan and also likes Paul Ryan and has noticed Ryan "speaks very highly of Pence." She said she is most put off by Clinton's "email scandals."

Asked if she was troubled by Walker's own email allegations, she replied, "No, because that was not a real email scandal."

Susan Ziegler, a Waukesha small-business owner, said she's alarmed at the trend of U.S. manufacturers moving jobs overseas.

"We manufacture wheels for the construction, over-the-road, military and mining industry," said Ziegler of her business, Wheels Now Inc. "Manufacturing in the U.S. has gone down tremendously and support for us has gone down tremendously. All my suppliers have gone out of the U.S. to manufacture their products and the products are a little inferior."

Ziegler, who said she is a Republican but is keeping an open mind and paying attention to the Democratic National Convention, said she thinks Hillary Clinton owes support "to a generation that would like to be the first in history to have a woman as a president, but they're not looking at the issues or what's going on."

"We would like a business owner in there," she said of Trump.

Originally hoping for Gov. Scott Walker to be nominated for president, Ziegler said she and her husband took a step back to re-evaluate the remaining candidates.

Brad Wilkins, of Waukesha, says he's been a Trump supporter for 20, 30 years.

"We need somebody who can manage money," he said.

But Wilkins said he soured on Trump during the debates after witnessing what he called "childish comments" by the Republican nominee.

"You know, how ugly your wife is and 'little Rubio' and 'crooked Hillary,'" Wilkins said. "He didn't win the debates on substance, he won on rhetoric. We don't want to hear that."

Wilkins voted for Cruz in Wisconsin's primary, but said he believes all Republicans need to come together to support Trump -- even Cruz, whose wife Trump had criticized.

"Absolutely, he should have endorsed Trump,” Wilkins said. “They all made a promise."

-- By Kay Nolan

 4:32 PM 

America Speaks PAC to spend up to $75,000 on anti-Ryan ads before primary

The America Speaks PAC expects to spend between $60,000 and $75,000 on ads opposing House Speaker Paul Ryan leading up to the Aug. 9 primary.

The PAC’s treasurer, Bill Cooley, said two TV ads that ran earlier this month cost a little more than $10,000 each. The first 30-second ad, which ran through July 4 in the 1st CD, says Ryan, R-Janesville, “won’t even slow down Muslim immigration and enables Obama’s agenda every chance he gets.” The spot then calls challenger Paul Nehlen the “conservative change we need now.”

The second 30-second TV spot, which Cooley said ran during the Republican National Convention last week, hits Ryan for opposing “a temporary Muslim ban and a border wall, how Ryan’s always supported illegal alien amnesty and has given Obama everything he wanted.”

A narrator in the ad, which also ran in the 1st CD, says, “Now it gets even worse. When cops are being shot down in the streets, Ryan talks about healing instead of stopping the Obama policies causing these murders.”

The ad closes calling for Nehlen for Congress, “For the people, not the DC crowd.”

Cooley said America Speaks also spent about $7,000 on a radio spot earlier this month. In that 60-second ad, a narrator again hits Ryan for supporting “open borders and illegal alien amnesty, but not Trump’s border wall or his temporary ban on Muslims.”

The narrator also calls out Ryan for supporting “bad trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will destroy even more Wisconsin jobs.”

“Now Ryan’s announced he won’t support Donald Trump,” the narrator says. “Just whose side is Ryan on? Paul Ryan’s been in Congress nearly 20 years, and he’s lost touch. Ryan needs a wake-up call.”

The narrator then talks about Nehlen as a “conservative businessman who will stop bad trade deals, build the wall, fight amnesty and cut spending now.” It closes with the slogan: “Paul Nehlen for Congress. He’s on our side.”

Cooley said there are no America Speaks ads running now, but the PAC is developing more.

Filings so far with the FEC show the PAC spent $24,987 since late May on radio and TV opposing Ryan.

-- By Chris Thompson

 8:28 AM 

Nehlen targets Ryan over immigration in new ad

A new ad from 1st CD candidate Paul Nehlen slams House Speaker Paul Ryan for not being tough enough on immigration.

The ad, titled “Lost Son,” was shot outside a fence surrounding Ryan’s home and features Julie Golvach, whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant who’d been deported four times. She’s one of the “angel moms” who have endorsed Nehlen’s GOP primary bid against Ryan, R-Janesville.

Golvach talks about her 25-year-old son Spencer for much of the one-minute spot, saying she “deserved to have him at the end of my life sitting next to me.”

She said “Paul Ryan and other politicians” haven’t protected the U.S. border and that she hopes other parents “don’t have the same experience.”

“Paul Ryan’s home behind me has a fence,” she says. “He has security, he has everything to make sure that his three children are safe. I deserve the same thing. I deserved the same thing and so do all of you. This should not happen.”

See the spot in AdWatch:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

 12:00 AM 

New Ryan TV ad calls him man of integrity

House Speaker Paul Ryan is out with a new TV ad today in which a Janesville resident calls the GOP lawmaker a man of integrity.

The ad features Richard Clarke, whom the Ryan campaign identified as a Janesville retiree and longtime supporter. The spot features Clarke speaking into the camera, interspersed with shots of Ryan speaking with others in a fair setting and praying.

“We want a man who’s got integrity,” Clarke says in the ad. “We want someone who’s going to back the causes that integrity brings: truth, honesty, the rarest thing in Washington.”

Clarke goes on to call Ryan a “unifying leader,” who is going to do the right thing, while being cautious and careful with decisions.

He then calls Ryan, “Somebody I know, somebody I trust, a local family man, a good man of God. That’s the guy I want to vote for, a man of integrity.”

Ryan’s campaign said the spot will run on Milwaukee and Madison network and cable TV through Aug. 2. The buy is $192,000 with another $25,000 going toward a radio ad featuring similar themes.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, July 25, 2016

 7:35 PM 

Source: Pence to campaign in Waukesha Wednesday

Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will campaign in the Republican stronghold of Waukesha on Wednesday, according to a GOP source with knowledge of the plans.

The event is planned to the Waukesha County Expo Center, the same place where Gov. Scott Walker launched his presidential bid last year. The source said the expected start time is 7 p.m.

-- By JR Ross

 4:36 PM 

New Gallagher TV ad urges voters to 'shake things up'

Republican Mike Gallagher released a new TV ad today urging voters to “shake things up” and send him to Congress.

Gallagher faces state Sen. Frank Lasee, of De Pere, and Terry McNulty in the GOP primary Aug. 9 for the open 8th CD.

The narrator opens the spot saying career politicians “milk the system” year after year, funding “grade A perks” while “leaving us behind.” The ad shows a dairy operation in the opening scenes.

The narrator then describes Gallagher as a “Marine, not a politician. A conservative, not a spender.” The narrator says Gallagher wants to “trim the fat, cut the waste, balance the budget.”

“Career politicians have spent too much money for way too long,” Gallagher says to close the spot. “I’m Mike Gallagher, and I approve this message because it’s time to stop the spending.”

Gallagher’s campaign said the spot is running on local cable.
-- By JR Ross

 9:04 AM 

LCV, EDF start $1 million buy targeting Johnson

The LCV Victory Fund and EDF Action launched a $1 million TV and digital buy today targeting U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, on climate change.

The League of Conservation Voters last month named Johnson to its “Dirty Dozen” list. The spot opens with the narrator saying NASA, the Department of Defense and 97 percent of scientists agree climate change is real.

“So where can you find climate change science deniers? At oil companies and Sen. Ron Johnson’s office,” the narrator says.

The spot then plays a clip of Johnson saying, “I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate change is proven." 

The narrator then says oil companies gave Johnson more than $300,000 in contributions.

“Johnson supports their agenda,” the narrator says to close the spot. “We pay the price.”

-- By JR Ross

Friday, July 22, 2016

 5:25 PM 

State DOJ appeals voter ID decision

The state DOJ today appealed a federal judge's decision allowing those without an ID and have trouble getting one to cast ballots at the polls by filling out an affidavit attesting to their identify.

The state Department of Justice also filed a motion seeking to say the order and expedite a decision on that request.

See the motions.

-- By JR Ross

 8:26 AM 

Walker’s Our American Revival filing shows Q2 spending 10 times higher than amount raised

Scott Walker's 527 organization spent 10 times more money in the second quarter of 2016 than it brought in, according to the group's latest filing.

The group has steadily been spending more money than it's been taking in over the past year, according to a check of past reports.

The latest Our American Revival filing, which covers April 1 through June 30, shows it raised $24,305 and spent $265,363. The report, filed with the IRS, does not detail how much money the group has in the bank. But a check of past filings shows it has raised almost $7.5 million since its creation last year while Walker was making moves toward a presidential bid. It has now spent almost $7.36 million.

The group listed two donors during the most recent reporting period. John Rood, chairman of the Vestcor Companies Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., contributed $20,000. Meanwhile George Gialamas, director of the Gialamas Co. Inc., Madison, made in-kind donations totaling $4,305.

The group's spending included $52,000 on fundraising consulting, more than twice what it took in for the period.

There were also $29,629 in travel expenses listed, not including one charge for $4,672 listed as travel and office supplies and another for $15,732 for media consulting and travel.

Walker created OAR early last year as he was laying the foundation for his presidential bid. Several staffers who went on to work for his presidential campaign started with the organization, which had a mission of communicating a vision of "a more free and prosperous America by restoring power to the states." It also helped cover the travel and security costs Walker racked up last year while traveling the country.

See the filing:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

 10:32 AM 

Walker continues whittling down presidential debt

Gov. Scott Walker continued last month to whittle away at the remaining debt from his failed presidential bid, though he still owed $734,676 at the end of June, according to his latest filing with the FEC.

Walker collected $147,896 during the month and spent $97,849. Of that, $80,898 went to paying off debts and $6,475 was returned to donors.

The bulk of Walker's receipts came through the $96,107 he received from Granite Lists, a New Hampshire firm that rents fundraising lists. Walker also reported $16,285 in receipts from Connectivist Media in Milwaukee for the sale of equipment and $35,504 in receipts from individuals.

The guv finished the period with $78,952 in the bank.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

 3:40 PM 

DOJ weighing options after judge orders affidavit option for voters without photo ID

The state Department of Justice is weighing its options after a federal judge ruled today those who do not have an ID and have trouble getting one must be allowed to vote in November by filling out an affidavit swearing to their identity.

Sean Young, an attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, meanwhile, hailed the decision.

“Wisconsin’s voter ID law has been a mistake from day one,” Young said. “This ruling is a strong rebuke of the state’s efforts to limit access to the ballot box. It means that a failsafe will be in place in November for voters who have had difficulty obtaining ID.”

Judge Lynn Adelman’s order will not apply to the Aug. 9 primary. But he ordered the state to have the process in place for the Nov. 8 general election.

“We are disappointed with the court's decision,” AG Brad Schimel said. “We will decide the next course of action after Wisconsin Department of Justice attorneys have had time to fully review and analyze the court's decision.”

Read the decision.

-- By JR Ross

 9:39 AM 

Bowen amends campaign finance report to add more donations spurred by Sanders appeal

State Rep. David Bowen has amended his campaign finance report to add more donations spurred by an appeal from Bernie Sanders that were left off his original report.

Bowen, D-Milwaukee, said his campaign had a problem when uploading the information and some donations were left off.

His new numbers show $76,497 raised, $3,520 spent and $75,398 cash on hand.

Bowen, the only Wisconsin superdelegate to back Sanders, benefited from an appeal the Dem presidential candidate sent out in May on behalf of eight legislative candidates around the country.

Bowen's original report listed 14,216 individual donations with an average contribution of just less than $4.50. The new report now lists 16,858 individual donations, though the size of the average contribution was largely unchanged.
-- By JR Ross

 7:54 AM 

Nelson plays up ties to 8th CD in his first TV ad

Dem Tom Nelson today released the first TV ad of his bid for the 8th CD, stressing his connections to the northeastern Wisconsin district.

Potential GOP rivals Mike Gallagher and Frank Lasee have both been hit with questions about how deep their ties are to the area. Gallagher grew up in California, spent his summers in Green Bay and then moved back to Wisconsin last year to work for Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign. Lasee, a state lawmaker, has faced questions about whether he lives full-time in the district, where he has an apartment, or in Racine, where his wife has a house.

Nelson narrates the ad, which opens with a picture of the church in Combined Locks his father founded, where the Outagamie County exec says he still worships.

It then shows the mill in Kaukauna where he worked to help pay for college and the home “where Maria and I are raising our children.” 

The spot then switches to the outside of the Outagamie County government building.

“This is where I lead our county, doing what government is supposed to do: Work together, protect seniors, balance our budget,” Nelson says.

He closes the spot by adding, “We need leaders with experience bringing people together, being effective, governing with Wisconsin commonsense.”

-- By JR Ross

 7:37 AM 

Ryan says not enough to talk about national security in first TV ad of re-election campaign

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, released the first TV ad of his re-election campaign this morning, saying it’s not enough to talk about national security.

Ryan says “Americans are right to be worried about ISIS plotting more attacks” following Orlando, Fla., and San Bernardino, Calif. Ryan adds he’s passed legislation to “stop radical Islamic terrorists from entering the U.S.” and is working with national security experts to “change practices so we can prevent future attacks.”

The ad switches from Ryan speaking directly into the camera to scenes from memorials at the sites of attacks as well as men in head scarves carrying guns.

“Just talking about national security is not enough. We need new laws and action by the administration to protect Americans,” Ryan says as a bell dings and a “Vote August 9” red, white and blue logo pops up on the screen.

-- By JR Ross

 4:30 AM 

In new TV ad, Johnson calls Feingold 'too dangerous' for fourth term

GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is out with a new TV ad today in which he calls Dem rival Russ Feingold “too dangerous” for a fourth term in the Senate.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, originally planned to air the ad late last week. But he sought to pull it back after the attack in Nice, France, though some stations aired it briefly. The spot was revised to have Johnson read the script rather than a narrator.

The spot features news footage from attacks in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, San Bernardino, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Nice. After reading off the place of each attack, Johnson says, “Islamic terrorists slaughtering innocents.”

Johnson then says Feingold was the only senator to vote no when “Congress gave law enforcement the tools to help stop international terror” and he voted against “authorizing our military” 11 times.

“Now, he’s asking you for a fourth term. The world is simply too dangerous for that,” Johnson says to close the spot.

The campaign said the TV and digital spot is part of a seven-figure buy running statewide.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, July 18, 2016

 8:00 AM 

Feingold lays out national security plan in new TV ad

Dem Russ Feingold is going up with a new TV ad today that says “we need to be strategic and tough” to defeat ISIS.

The spot comes on the heels of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, last week pulling back an ad that featured news footage from attacks in the U.S. and abroad while slamming Feingold as "too dangerous" for a fourth term in the Senate. Johnson intended to hold off on airing the ad following the attack in France, but several stations aired it briefly.

Feingold walks through a military museum in his spot, saying his plan is to “cut off their oil, arms supplies and cash.” He adds the use of special forces and targeted military strikes, along with better human intelligence is needed. 

He also calls for more resources “here at home” to track down and break up terrorist cells and for the U.S. to put pressure on Middle Eastern nations to “confront jihadist extremists.

“That’s what it takes to combat terrorism and protect America,” Feingold says to close the spot.

-- By JR Ross

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