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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

 11:28 PM 

Blanchard credits campaign's tone, pledge on PAC money for win

Dane County DA Brian Blanchard said he believes his promise to refuse PAC donations and his decision to voluntarily limit the size of his individual contributions helped carry him to a spot on the 4th District Court of Appeals.

"From the start, we decided to run a completely positive campaign. There's certainly been a lot of concern about the tone of judicial campaigns in Wisconsin," Blanchard said. "I got a good reaction in terms of sticking with the issues, staying positive, and that's something we did throughout the campaign."

With almost 89 percent of the vote in, Blanchard had 63 percent of the vote in his race with Richland County Judge Ed Leineweber.

Leineweber said he hadn't had time to fully digest the numbers, but it appeared that Blanchard beat him soundly in most counties in the 24-county district. He said he wasn't sure if that was a matter of Blanchard having better name ID, a larger presence on TV or other factors.

Leineweber tried to make the argument during the campaign that the 4th District Court of Appeals could use more geographic balance, complaining it's dominated by members from Dane County. He also tried to play up his experience as a circuit court judge, something Blanchard lacks.

"Whether I was able to get that message out or not is not entirely clear to me at this point," Leineweber said. "Whether voters got the message and didn't agree with the message or it just wasn't effectively communicated through the district and was drowned out by substantially more TV and higher name recognition, I guess I'd just be surmising like the rest of us."

Blanchard will be sworn in Aug. 1. He said he will resign his position as Dane County DA at the end of July, clearing the way for Gov. Jim Doyle to appoint someone to serve out the remaining two years of Blanchard's four-year term.

Blanchard said he planned to make a recommendation to Doyle on his replacement, but said he wanted to keep that to himself for now. Capitol observers will be watching to see who takes over for Blanchard because that person may oversee the re-trial of former GOP Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen. His appeal to have his re-trial moved to Waukesha County is now pending before the state Supreme Court.

Blanchard said he expects whoever replaces him will oversee the re-trial.

-- By Staff


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