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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

 4:16 PM 

Conservative groups launch ad touting Walker's budget moves

The conservative Americans for Prosperity and MacIver Institute this morning announced their launch of the “It’s Working” campaign to tout the guv’s budget accomplishments.

The effort includes a website and a 60-second TV ad the groups say will air on cable and in markets around the state.

The spot opens with black-and-white footage of protesters who said the sky would fall, but the narrator says Wisconsin is stronger than ever thanks to budget reform. The narrator goes on to say the state cut spending by asking public employees to pay more for their benefits and reining in the “abuse of collective bargaining to put taxpayers back in control.”

The spot then highlights stories of local governments saving money and not cutting programs.

“Wisconsin budget reform. It’s working,” the spot concludes, promoting the new website http://www.itsworkingwisconsin.com

Watch the ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lD9HiwRKTE

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

 4:51 PM 

GAB: New district boundaries don't apply to recalls held before Nov. 2012

The new legislative district lines lawmakers drew this summer will not apply to any recall or special elections held before the Nov. 6, 2012, general election, the GAB staff opined today.

Agency Director Kevin Kennedy sent a memo to the chief clerks of both houses laying out the staff's opinion that the language in the legislation lawmakers approved is "very clear" when it comes to when the lines take effect for elections. The act states that it "first applies, with respect to regular elections, to offices filled at the 2012 general election." Kennedy also noted the legislation states the law "first applies, with respect to special or recall elections, to offices filled or contested concurrently with the 2012 general election."

What lines possible recall elections will be held under could have significant impacts on those races, particularly for targets like Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine. His district becomes significantly more Republican under the new lines than its current composition.

While those new district lines aren't in place for elections until November 2012, the GAB staff found lawmakers are allowed to expend state resources to send mail to constituents in their newly drawn districts and to travel within the boundaries that will be in place for the 2012 elections for legislative business.

Kennedy noted the memo represented staff opinion and not a formal opinion from the Government Accountability Board. The staff's conclusions will be presented to the board in the "form of recommended guidance to share with legislators and the public," Kennedy wrote.

-- By Staff

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

 9:20 PM 

Billings wins 95th AD primary

With all precincts reporting, La Crosse County Supervisor Jill Billings has won the Dem primary in the 95th AD. Billings captured just under 52 percent of the vote while her nearest challenger, La Crosse School Board President Christine Claironly took in about 32 percent of the vote.

The other two Democratic candidates, David Krump and Nick Charles, split the rest of the vote, with Charles garnering 8.1 percent of the vote and Krump taking 7.8 percent.

In an interview with WisPolitics.com, Billings credited her experience on the county board and ability to hit doors across the district as the reason that voters chose her over her competitors. She cited La Crosse County's bond rating and relatively low tax rate in comparison to other counties as examples of the progress she's capable of bringing to a statewide office.

She's certainly looking ahead to her potential role in the Assembly, which she said would emphasize civil debate that she feels has missing from state government recently. She's encouraged by a few recent bipartisan efforts, but called the recall efforts in the Senate "unfortunate."

"Sen. Shilling was able to have a conversation with the governor once she took office," Billings said. "I also appreciated that he called our election early on. He could have sat on it and left us without a voice. I see some signs that there are some attempts to reach out."

While Billings eyes are still on the work of the Assembly, she said she isn't taking the general election for granted, despite the Dem tilt of the district.

"I’m going to do what I have done throughout the primary: I’m going to work hard and knock on doors and keep working my campaign," Billings said.

Billings will face GOP candidate David Drewes in the general election Nov. 8.

Editor's Note: Jill Billings clarified later in the week that she was referring to the Senate recall efforts, not the Walker recall effort. The post has been changed to reflect that.
-- By Jason Smathers


 9:02 PM 

Billings likely to win 95th AD

Unless the last two precincts swing wildly toward Christine Clair, it appears that Jill Billings will win the Democratic primary for the 95th AD. With 17 out of 19 precincts reporting, Billings still holds 51.56 percent of the vote, while Clair has only 31.8 percent.

The remaining votes were split between conservative Democrat Nick Charles and arts administrator David Krump.

-- By Jason Smathers


 8:40 PM 

Billings out to an early lead in 95th AD

With 11 of 19 precincts reporting, La Crosse County Board Supervisor Jill Billings is out to a substantial lead in the 95th District. Billings holds just under 52 percent of the vote. Her nearest competitor, La Crosse School Board President Christine Clair, is trailing Billings with 31.47 percent of the vote.

Conservative Democrat Nick Charles and arts administrator David Krump, who were seen as long shots, have 7.12 percent and 9.44 percent respectively.

-- By Jason Smathers


 1:01 PM 

Low turnout so far in 95th AD Dem. primary

It looks like low turnout for the 95th Assembly district primary being held today. La Crosse City Clerk Teri Lehrke said that after visiting about six of the 17 polls across the district today, things are "pretty quiet."

Voters are deciding who will be the Democratic contender for the Assembly seat vacated by now-state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse.

Lehrke also said that the new voter ID provisions haven't been much of a problem, though some voters have protested the move by refusing to show ID. Lehrke noted that after three elections and a visible public awareness campaign, most voters now know what to expect.

-- By Jason Smathers


 6:29 AM 

Focus on two in today's Dem primary for the 95th AD

Today's Dem primary for the 95th AD is looking like a two-person race between La Crosse County Supv. Jill Billings and La Crosse School Board President Christine Clair, according to observers.

And whoever emerges from the primary will be favored to win the Dem-leaning seat in next month’s special election to replace Jennifer Shilling, who resigned after she won a recall election this summer and joined the state Senate.

Billings and Clair have been the most active in terms of fundraising and appear to have the most support from the Dem base, according to observers. They’re also competing with David Krump, a playwright and administrator for The Pump House Regional Arts Center, and Nick Charles, who ran for the seat last year as a Republican.

The winner will face GOP candidate David Drewes Nov. 8.

The focus leading up to today has been on Billings and Clair. Billings raised $23,970 through Sept. 26, including a $10,000 loan she gave her campaign. She spent $12,976 and had $10,994 cash on hand.

Her donors include state Rep. Steve Doyle, who won a special election earlier this year for a La Crosse-area Assembly seat, and she’s expected to have support from Dem members of the county board. Doyle, who gave her $50, is a former chair. One Dem said Billings is the favorite for some in the progressive community, and she lists donations from people like Heather Colburn, who’s run a number of Dem campaigns and is now the Women Vote director for Obama’s campaign, and Michelle McGrorty, director of the Greater Wisconsin Committee.

Shilling is not endorsing in the race, but she’s donated to both campaigns. She gave Billings $100 and donated $50 to Clair, who also received a $50 donation from Shilling’s husband.

Clair, a former public defender who now teaches at Viterbo University, raised $8,983, including a $510 loan, spent $4,421 and had $4,562 cash on hand. She’s expected to have the backing of some in the education community, and her donors also include La Crosse School District Principal Laura Huber, who donated $250.

Charles listed $520 raised, $232 spent and $320 cash on hand. He also had a debt of $23,190 left over from last bid. Krump had not filed a report with the GAB as of this morning.

Drewes raised $6,865, including a loan of $6,275, spent $924 and had $5,941 cash on hand.

See Billings’ website.

See Clair’s website.

See Drewes’ website.

See Krump’s website.

-- By JR Ross


Monday, October 10, 2011

 7:55 PM 

Dems say effort to recall Walker will kick off Nov. 15

State Dem Chair Mike Tate says efforts to recall Gov. Scott Walker will begin on Nov. 15.

In an email to supporters, Tate said he planned to make a 9 p.m. announcement on the Ed Schultz Show about the recall effort, which will be a collaboration with the group United Wisconsin.

The note includes a fundraising pitch that says organizers are looking to raise $540,206 by Nov. 15 -- that's $1 for each valid signature needed to finalize the recall.

See the email

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