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Thursday, January 31, 2013

 7:53 PM 

Walker transfers another $40,000 to legal defense fund

Gov. Scott Walker transferred $40,000 from his campaign account to his legal defense fund on the last day of 2012, according to his latest finance report. 
The transfer to the Scott Walker Trust raises new questions about the status of the long-running John Doe investigation in Milwaukee that has ensnared former aides from the guv’s days as county exec.

"The transfer covers work done to cooperate with authorities over the past year," said Walker spokeswoman Nicole Tieman.

Walker has steadfastly insisted he is not a target of the probe. But he announced in March the creation of the legal defense fund to pay two criminal defense attorneys help him review documents and assist in cooperating with the secret probe.

Walker had previously transferred $160,000 from his campaign account to the defense fund, meaning he has now put at least $200,000 into the Scott Walker Trust.

"While Governor Walker is not the subject of investigation, he continues to fully cooperate with authorities as the process comes to conclusion," Tieman said. 

Three former Walker aides have been sentenced in recent months for the charges brought against them stemming from the John Doe probe. That includes Tim Russell, who was sentenced last week to two years in jail and three years supervised release. 

Dems have raised a series of questions about Walker's involvement in the probe.

"Where there is smoke, there is fire," state Dem spokesman Graeme Zielinski said when asked for comment on the transfer.

 -- By Staff

 4:51 PM 

Walker raised $473,719 in last half of 2012

Gov. Scott Walker raised $473,719 during the last half of 2012 and will report $793,861 cash on hand when he files his latest campaign finance report with the GAB later today.

A cover sheet showed Walker also spent $1.3 million during the six-month period. The cover sheet did not detail how the money was raised or spent, which will be reported to the GAB by day’s end.

-- By JR Ross

Friday, January 25, 2013

 1:02 PM 

Priebus, former Wisconsin state chair, re-elected head of RNC

Reince Priebus was re-elected today to his post as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The former Wisconsin GOP chair was unopposed after Mark Willis of Maine tried to challenge him, but could not muster the needed backing of three states to get on the ballot.

Priebus was first elected to the post two years ago, deposing former Chair Michael Steele. Priebus originally helped Steele win the post, but challenged him amid complaints from many party faithful that Steele had mismanaged the party's finances.

Gov. Scott Walker congratulated Priebus for assuming "the responsibility of coalescing Republicans and moving our party forward with one, unified voice" amid a time of uncertainty.

"He brought the party out of debt, secured a significant surplus and has helped secure a brighter future for all Republicans," Walker said.

State GOP Chair Brad Courtney credited Priebus with putting the RNC back on track.

"His leadership is, without question, a major reason for the successes of the Party over the last two years and his bold style of management will lead us to further success in the years to come,” Courtney said.

Priebus locked up support from the vast majority of RNC members ahead of the election despite complaints about the GOP's performance in the November elections, when they fell short of winning the White House and lost seats in both the House and Senate.

State Dem Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski tweaked Priebus on Twitter hoping "may he enjoy more of the kind of success we saw in November!"

Read Priebus' speech to the RNC.

UPDATE: Read an op-ed by Priebus on the future of the Republican Party

-- By JR Ross

Monday, January 14, 2013

 4:17 PM 

Supreme Court again refuses to directly take voter ID suit

The Supreme Court today again refused to directly take up the state's appeal of a decision tossing out Wisconsin's voter ID requirement.

The brief order did not detail the court's rationale in denying the petition to bypass the appeals court. The court also rejected a motion to consolidate the two Dane County decisions invalidating the requirement.

 -- By JR Ross

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

 3:44 PM 

Walker and Baldwin dominate 2012 Rising Stock Awards

Gov. Scott Walker and newly elected U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who both gained national prominence through election wins in 2012, dominated the 3rd edition of the WisPolitics Rising Stock Awards.

After submissions from WisPolitics subscribers were used to develop a ballot, hundreds of subscribers and site visitors weighed in on the year's top story, the most important politicians and best political ads.

Walker's historic recall win in June was picked as the story of the year by 46 percent of voters, making it the top vote-getter. Baldwin's Senate win was next, with 21 percent of the vote. The only other story to reach double-digits, getting 10 percent of the vote, was President Barack Obama's victory over Mitt Romney in Wisconsin.

Walker and Baldwin were also picked as the top Republican and Democratic politicos, respectively.

Nearly two-thirds of voters picked Walker as the top Republican, making it three years in a row for the first-term governor. Next on the list was Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's vice presidential pick. He received 24 percent of the vote.

On the Democratic side, Baldwin was picked by 62 percent of voters. Next on the list was a collective award for Obama's state organization, which got 27 percent of the vote.

The top ads of the year also came from the Walker and Baldwin campaigns.

Half of the voters picked the Baldwin ad "Boy did he" as the top liberal ad of the year. That ad knocked GOP rival Tommy Thompson's ties to Washington, D.C., and his lobbying work. The next ad on the list, picked by 31 percent of respondents, was the Obama campaign's "537," which noted at the difference 537 votes made in Florida in the 2000 election in motivating supporters to vote.

On the conservative side, the top pick -- with 38 percent of the vote -- was Walker's recall ad titled "Jobs," where he talked about the jobs Wisconsin gained during his first year in office. Ryan's ad "America has a choice" finished second with 25 percent of the vote.

See the press release for full results from the voting

Thursday, January 3, 2013

 3:17 PM 

Thompson to lead Walker campaign, other staffers announced

Gov. Scott Walker's campaign announced today Stephan Thompson, the deputy for his 2010 bid, will run his re-election effort.

Thompson, currently the state GOP executive director, will take over March 1.

Other staffers Walker announced include: Jonathan Wetzel, deputy campaign manager; Colleen Coyle, finance director; and Nicole Tieman, press secretary.

-- By JR Ross

 2:48 PM 

Fadness appointed as new executive director of Republican Party of Wisconsin

The Republican Party of Wisconsin has named its current political director, Joe Fadness, as its new executive director.

Outgoing chair Stephen Thompson is leaving to serve as campaign manager of the Friends of Scott Walker Campaign Committee.

Fadness, who was appointed RPW’s political director in August 2012, previously served as campaign manager for Eric Hovde’s failed bid for U.S. Senate. Prior to that, he was director of external relations for Gov. Scott Walker and also worked on his campaign for governor in 2010 and campaign for re-election as Milwaukee county exec. in 2008.

-- By Jason Smathers

 8:22 AM 

Spring candidates file nomination papers

State Superintendent Tony Evers and Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack had drawn challengers in their re-election bids this spring.

Evers and GOP state Rep. Don Pridemore filed their nomination papers for the spring election for state superintendent.

In the state Supreme Court race, Marquette Law Professor Edward Fallone and lemon law lawyer Vince Megna have filed their nomination papers for the seat, as has Roggensack. If the signatures are accepted, a primary would be held Feb. 19 with the top two vote getters advancing to the April 2 general election.

Neither of the Court of Appeals incumbents – Mark Gundrum in District 2 or Paul Lundsten in District 4 – drew challengers. Eau Claire County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Stark is the only person to file for the vacant District 3 Court of Appeals seat.

Meanwhile, the special election for Waukesha County’s heavily Republican 98th AD seat looks to be crowded, as five GOP candidates have filed nomination papers. They are: Jeanne Tarantino, former chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch; Pewaukee Police Chief Ed Baumann; small business owner Adam Neylon; Marquette University student Matt Morzy; and Pewaukee resident Todd Greenwald.

The winner would succeed Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee. He was recently elected to the state Senate to fill the vacancy created when Rich Zipperer resigned to join Gov. Scott Walker’s staff.

See the GAB list of all candidates registered for the spring races here.

 -- By Jason Smathers

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