• WisPolitics

Friday, February 22, 2013

 5:27 PM 

Neylon looks likely to hold AD 98 lead

The number of outstanding absentee ballots returned in the 98th Assembly District Republican primary do not appear to be enough to overturn the 30-vote lead held by former legislative aide Adam Neylon.

Out of the 159 outstanding absentee ballots left after election night, calls to municipal clerks in the district indicate only 30 were returned by today's 4 p.m. deadline.

Further, city of Waukesha officials say several of the 22 ballots returned to that municipality are expected to be rejected due to lack of proper signatures, meaning retiring Pewaukee Police Chief Ed Baumann would be unable to overturn or tie Neylon's lead.

The villages of Pewaukee and Sussex and the city of Pewaukee had a combined eight ballots returned.

That would mean, short of a favorable recount, Baumann could not tie or overtake Neylon's 30-vote lead in the race.

-- By Jason Smathers

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

 5:09 PM 

Waukesha county clerk says 159 absentee ballots outstanding in close 98th AD race

The Republican primary in the 98th Assembly District will be decided by the absentee count.
Waukesha County Clerk Kathleen Novack says 159 absentee ballots currently are outstanding in the primary. Those ballots had to be postmarked by yesterday and received by Friday to be counted. 

Former legislative aide Adam Neylon emerged last night with a 30-vote lead over former Pewaukee Police Chief Ed Baumann. 

Novack also said that the county has revised its unofficial total for the Supreme Court candidates after one of the municipalities accidentally flipped the totals for Ed Fallone and Vince Megna on a spreadsheet. As a result, Vince Megna received 573 fewer votes, which should have been counted toward Fallone.

-- Jason Smathers

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

 11:00 PM 

Neylon confident, but not declaring victory just yet

Adam Neylon said he was confident his 30-vote lead will hold up in the 98th AD GOP primary, but he was holding off on officially declaring victory.

With all precincts in, Neylon had 2,003 votes to 1,973 for Ed Baumann. The Waukesha County Clerk's office said some absentee ballots remained out, though it was unsure late Tuesday how many there were. There's a Friday deadline for those ballots to be returned so they can be counted.

"I’m pretty confident," Neylon said. "We did a good job on absentee ballots. I don’t think there was any way anyone was able to get more than 30 absentee ballots than us."

Baumann said he called Neylon to congratulate him. But he had not made any decisions about a possible recount.

"Based on what we saw, I congratulated him, and if something comes, we'll address that in the future," Baumann said.

Neylon said he received a congratulatory call from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who invited him to Wednesday's budget address. He will be unopposed in the April general election, if his lead holds up after absentee ballots are counted and the canvass is completed.

He said his attention will now turn to the budget.

"I think we need to first focus on the budget and at that point I’m going to look at ways we an create jobs and grow our economy," Neylon said.

-- By JR Ross

 10:05 PM 

Roggensack to focus on her credentials, Fallone says voters want a change

Incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack says her primary lead over Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone is indicative of the voters' preference for a seasoned veteran on the state's top court.

"The size of the margin shows that experience makes a difference," Roggensack said.

With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Roggensack led Fallone by a wide margin, 64 percent to 30 percent, respectively.


Fallone admits that he's an "underdog" in the race, but says that voters are certainly looking for a change from the court's recent history of disputes and rancor.

"I'll never have the financial resources of her campaign," Fallone said "But as more people listen to my message, they're going to understand what candidate is going to best move the court forward."

Fallone has repeatedly said that Roggensack has not done enough to ease the tension on the Supreme Court and that a "different personality" is needed to restore order. Roggensack, however, said she has attempted to improve the court's efficiency, especially through the court's finance committee. She also dismisses criticism about her role in the court's high-profile disputes.

"I think we've been there and done that," Roggensack said. "I was not the one behaving inappropriately. That was Justice Bradley and Justice Prosser."

As such, Roggensack said she plans to "take things as they come" in the coming weeks and to continue running a positive campaign that highlights her experience on the bench, something she says defines her from Fallone.

Fallone argues that his 25-year legal career and time as a scholar on constitutional issues will stand up to Roggensack's record. Fallone says that he's moving into the general election "energized."

"What the voters want is to change personalities and that's what I think people are going to focus on," Fallone said.


-- Jason Smathers

 9:59 PM 

Neylon 2,003, Baumann 1,973 with all precincts reporting, but some absentee ballots still out

Adam Neylon had a 30-vote lead over Ed Baumann with all precincts reporting, though the Waukesha County Clerk's office said a handful of absentee ballots remained.

Those voters have until Friday to have those ballots reach the clerk's office to be counted. The office was unsure how many remained to be sent back.

Jeanne Tarantino was a distant third with 773 votes, while Matt Morzy had 253 and Todd Greenwald had 215. There were 11 write ins, according to the clerk's office.

-- By JR Ross

 9:19 PM 

AP calls primary for Roggensack

The Associated Press has called the Supreme Court primary for current Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack. She will advance to the general election.

With 43 percent of precincts, Roggensack leads the field with 61 percent of the vote. Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone has 33 percent of the vote to lemon law lawyer Vince Megna's 6 percent.

 -- By Staff

 9:09 PM 

Roggensack maintains large lead over Fallone, Megna

With one quarter of precincts reporting, Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack still has a wide lead over her two challengers.

Roggensack has 68 percent of the vote, or 52,511 votes, while Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone has 26 percent, or 20,362 votes. Lemon law lawyer Vince Megna has six percent, or 4,514 votes.

-- By Staff

 9:03 PM 

Baumann and Neylon neck-and-neck in 98th AD primary

Ed Baumann and Adam Neylon were neck-and-neck with 60 percent of the vote in.

According to results posted at the Waukesha County Clerk's website, Baumann had 849 votes to 842 for Neylon.

Jeanne Tarantino was a distant third with 308 votes.

-- By JR Ross

 8:43 PM 

Earliest numbers show Roggensack leading Supreme Court field

The first returns trickling in are showing incumbent Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack leading her two competitors by a wide margin.

With only 5 percent of precincts reporting, Roggensack has 7,697 votes, or 70 percent of the vote, to Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone's 2,615, or 24 percent of the vote. Lemon law lawyer Vince Megna has 607 votes, or 6 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, early returns in the 98th AD race show Adam Neylon, a former aide to GOP U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, leading the field of Assembly hopefuls with 397  votes, or just under 42 percent. Former Pewaukee Police Chief Ed Baumann is trailing Neylon with 314 votes, or 33 percent. Jeanne Tarantino, former chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, has only 148 votes, or 15 percent.

 -- By Jason Smathers

 1:07 PM 

Weather hampering turnout in spring primary

The wintry conditions that swept across Wisconsin this morning weren't helping turnout for the spring primary, clerks said.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathleen Novack said turnout was low at the polling sites she checked this morning, but noted the blowing snow had eased up by late morning. There is a five-way GOP primary in the 98th AD there to fill an open Assembly seat.

"It may pick up," Novack said. 

Turnout in the city of Madison was 2.5 percent by late morning. Traditionally, that number doubles by 4 p.m. and then doubles again by the time the polls close, suggesting turnout will be around 10 percent.

In Green Bay, where it was still snowing after noon, turnout was 1 percent by late morning.

Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Neil Albrecht  said voting was picking up by late morning after the weather subsided and he still believed the city would fall in the 5 percent to 10 percent range for turnout.

"It’s no November," Albrecht said.

The GAB predicted ahead of Tuesday that turnout would be less than 10 percent.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, February 18, 2013

 10:09 AM 

GAB report: Ending same-day registration projected to cost at least $13M

Eliminating voter registration at the polls would cost the state between $13.1 million and $14.5 million, according to a final report on the issue released today by the Government Accountability Board.

The board initially estimated the cost of eliminating the practice at $5.2 million in December, after some Republicans had floated the idea of switching to a "motor-voter" system as required under federal law.

That estimate, however, did not include the cost to other state agencies that would be affected by such a change. The final report revised the GAB's projected costs down to nearly $4 million, but added between $9.2 million and $10.5 million for costs to four other state agencies -- Transportation, Health Services, Children and Families, and Workforce Development -- that would be required to offer voter registration services if same-day registration were to be eliminated.

Gov. Scott Walker said after the GAB's preliminary estimate he would not support a bill with a $5.2 million price tag.

-- By Andy Szal

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

 11:30 AM 

Neylon starts radio ad in 98th AD primary

Adam Neylon is airing a new radio ad as the crowded race in the 98th AD GOP primary Tuesday comes down to its closing days.

A narrator opens the spot by saying if listeners take time to get to know Neylon, they’ll find out he’s a “hard-working businessman dedicated to improving Waukesha County.”

She goes on to say he created a window cleaning business in 2010 and knows “how big government can restrict business growth.”

Neylon then tells listeners he’s a small business owner from Pewaukee and touts the endorsements of GOP Reps. Bill Kramer, Mike Kuglitsch and Tyler August.

“On Feb. 19, vote me for me, Adam Neylon, conservative leadership you can trust,” he says to close the spot.

Neylon and four others on the GOP side are seeking to replace now-Sen. Paul Farrow.

-- By JR Ross

 9:38 AM 

Fallone announces first ad

Marquette Law professor Ed Fallone says in the first ad of his Supreme Court campaign that working families aren't "getting a fair shake when powerful interest groups are able to get their message heard, but working families are not."

An announcer says Fallone has spent his career "fighting for fairness," before Fallone adds that everyone in Wisconsin "should expect a court that follows the law without favoring special interests."

"Closed door meetings, big businesses getting their way -- it needs to stop," Fallone says. "People want to see a justice who has the courage to follow the law and stand up for the working families of Wisconsin. That's the kind of justice I'll be."

UPDATE: A spokesman says the spot is now airing solely on the internet as pre-roll to various video content on the web. The campaign plans to go up on TV later in the campaign, but a decision on when has not been made.

-- By Andy Szal

 9:28 AM 

GAB projects less than 10 percent primary turnout

The Government Accountability Board is predicting turnout of less than 10 percent for next week’s spring primary.

The only statewide race on the ballot is the Supreme Court primary, where the top two finishers among Justice Pat Roggensack, Marquette Law professor Ed Fallone and lemon law attorney Vince Megna will advance to the April general election.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy noted turnout for the last three spring primaries featuring a Supreme Court race was 6.8 percent in 2003, 6.7 percent in 2007 and 9.6 percent in 2011.

“We expect this year’s turnout to be in that range,” he said.

In addition to local races on the Feb. 19 primary ballot, five GOP candidates are competing for an open Assembly seat. No Dem has filed to run in the heavily Republican district representing an area in Waukesha County, meaning the primary winner will virtually be assured of taking the seat.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

 7:18 AM 

98th AD GOP candidates debate immigration, qualifications

Jeanne Tarantino took some moderate stances on immigration, schools and helping the unemployed in Monday's 98th Assembly GOP primary forum, while Adam Neylon often took the most conservative line.

Tarantino, Ed Baumann, Todd Greenwald and Matt Morzy said they favored creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants now in the country.

Neylon said while he supports a path to citizenship, current immigration laws need to be better enforced.

"We should not just grant amnesty, because that sets a bad example," he said.

Tarantino, whose mother emigrated to the U.S. from Italy, said if the federal government is going to create paths to citizenship, Wisconsin should find a way to make that work for the state as well.

"We need to come together as a nation and decide that immigrants have contributed a lot to our economy and they have a role in each and every local area in filling jobs -- sometimes lower skill jobs that go unfilled," she said.

Baumann agreed.

"I think Waukesha has one of the per capita largest Hispanic populations in the United States, all of which are vibrant, hard-working individuals who add a lot to our community,” he said. “I would support some kind of amnesty for immigrants to get them within the country and have them here as productive, tax-paying individuals."

Greenwald and Morzy agreed on working to create a path to legal citizenship for immigrants. Morzy, who graduated from Carroll University, noted that he shared classes "with a large population of students who came over here in order to get degrees. I think we need to make sure that when those students come over here that we keep them here."

About 60 people attended the forum, sponsored by Patch.com at a Carroll University facility. Questions were submitted by the audience.

The GOP candidates are vying for a seat vacated by Republican Paul Farrow, who successfully ran for the state Senate in a special election late last year. No Democrats are running in the race for the heavily Republican 98th District, which covers the Waukesha, Pewaukee and Sussex areas.

Neylon, who has worked for state Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, and GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, said he understands the concerns of small business owners and job creators because he started a window-cleaning company that hires college students, among others. He also touted his experience working in the Legislature when the Walker administration took over and erased the budget deficit.

Tarantino, a former chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, said she is the best candidate because she has also worked in the Department of Workforce Development and with other past legislators, including former GOP state Sen. Joanne Huelsman.

"I can hit the ground running," she said. Tarantino made recent news because she had testified in her divorce proceedings that she had lost her job with Kleefisch because of what she perceived to be gender and age discrimination. Tarantino has since apologized for the remarks and has retained the support of Kleefisch.

Baumann, who has been police chief for the Village of Pewaukee for 38 years, said he received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in the race and said he is running for office for the same reason he became a police officer -- to help people. He said he has the experience of presenting 29 budgets for approval.

Morzy, an MBA student at Marquette University who previously managed a Scottrade brokerage office in Brookfield , said he wants to use his background in finance to help the state create a better economy that will attract jobs.

Greenwald, a project manager in the architectural and construction field who’s been unemployed twice in recent years amid the struggles of the housing industry, said he reflects the district, calling himself "a middle-class guy who wants to go to Madison and do the right thing." He said he understands the importance of unemployment compensation to help people get by, but also said he would work to ensure better education and job training for residents.

All five candidates said they supported voter ID and background checks for firearms purchasers, and they all agreed with Walker's recent announcement to direct funds toward mental health issues.

But Baumann said as a police officer, he's learned that mental illness is complicated and it's not possible to make a quick decision on whether someone with mental health is dangerous or not.

Neylon also backed the guv’s recent proposal to require childless adults to enroll in state job training programs to receive food stamps, saying unemployment insurance “is one of the things that never made sense to me, how we just hand out benefits to people instead of requiring them to work or be looking for a job.”

But Tarantino questioned the idea of tying benefits to food, "because that's a basic necessity for life."

Tarantino talked about giving more support to schools and teachers, pointing out that she is the only candidate with school-age children.

Asked if they supported changes in the state Government Accountability Board's functions, Neylon was adamant: "The GAB needs to recognize that they have failed." He said poll workers need to be better trained and rules better enforced.

But the others all said the GAB is doing a good job and that elections in the state run smoothly.

The issue of mining legislation was not raised during the forum, but afterward, each of the candidates told WisPolitics.com that he or she is satisfied with the currently proposed bill and would vote for it.

Tarantino told WisPolitics that she thought some of her opponents "were awfully hard line up there." She said she does not think most issues should be considered on a partisan basis.

"Everyone knows I've also worked for Democrats," she said, adding that job creation, education and helping people struggling in the economic downturn are neither Republican nor Democratic issues.

Neylon said he isn't ashamed to take a strong conservative stance and said he wouldn't be surprised if Tarantino proved to be somewhat moderate. He said he would likely vote along party lines, if elected.

Greenwald said his job would be to represent “the values and concerns of district residents,” but said he'd probably vote along party lines for the most part.

Morzy said he would strive to listen to both sides, and Baumann said he objects to the idea that "you're either for the governor or you're against him."

"I would hope that I could offer ideas and that he would also listen to me," Baumann said.

-- By Kay Nolan

Monday, February 11, 2013

 2:40 PM 

Roggensack raises $201,561, Fallone $74,852, Megna $0

Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack raised $201,561 in the first five weeks of the year, while challengers Ed Fallone raised $74,852 and Vince Megna reported no contributions in the pre-primary period.

Roggensack spent $37,792 and had $219,154 cash on hand, according to her pre-primary report posted at the GAB site.

Fallone's campaign released his cover sheet showing $16,544 spent and $63,713 cash on hand.

In addition to collection no donations during the period, Megna spent $1,590 and had $5,340 cash on hand. He listed $10,000 in loans on his report, which covers Jan. 1 through Feb. 4.

-- By JR Ross

 11:11 AM 

Evers raises $48,518 pre-primary, Pridemore $2,412

State Superintendent Tony Evers raised $48,518 over the first five weeks of the year, dwarfing the $2,412 raised by challenger Don Pridemore.

Evers' campaign released the cover page for his pre-primary report showing he also spent $23,037 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 4 and had $100,281 cash on hand. He also listed $24,000 in loans.

Pridemore, a GOP state rep from Hartford, filed a report with the GAB that showed he spent $18,944 during the pre-primary period and had $33,429 left in his campaign account. Pridemore also listed $56,506 in loans.

-- By JR Ross

Thursday, February 7, 2013

 5:19 PM 

Supreme Court candidates square off in primary forum

From left: Ed Fallone, Vince Megna, Pat Roggensack
Two candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court -- incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack and Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone -- took repeated swipes at each other at a forum today in Milwaukee.

The third candidate -- lemon law attorney Vince Megna -- stressed he would be a much-needed advocate for the average working person and someone who would break up a perceived 4-3 conservative majority on the court.

The forum, sponsored by the MIlwaukee Bar Association and moderated by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge John DiMotto, is the only one preceding the Feb. 19 primary, which will narrow the field to two. More forums are planned between the primary and the general election on April 2, DiMotto said.

Fallone accused Roggensack of contributing to a "completely dysfunctional" court that is dominated by "instability" and "personal sniping" and that has lost the public's confidence, he says, because of its inability to get along. He cited an altercation between Justice David Prosser and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in June 2011, during which Prosser allegedly grabbed Bradley's neck. Fallone assailed Roggensack for recusing herself from the resulting disciplinary proceeding involving Prosser.

Roggensack said she was required to recuse herself, citing a state statute that says a material witness must recuse his or herself from a civil or criminal case. She said the incident involving Prosser "breaks my heart" and promised she and her colleagues "are continuing to work on it."

"The court has the inherent authority to take up the matter and deal with it," Roggensack said. She said she's urging the justices to come to an agreement on the Prosser matter and issue a joint, public statement, but she admitted that so far, her colleagues "are not in consensus" and have yet to buy her suggestion.

Still, Roggensack told forum attendees, "All this stuff about (lack of) collegiality on the court is just a bunch of gossip. It's gossip at its worst. If we were really at each other constantly, screaming and yelling at each other constantly, do you think I would be seeking another 10-year term? "

But Fallone shot back: "Justice Roggensack, I appreciate that you read from the statute, because it clearly states that the material witness provisions apply in civil or criminal matters and disciplinary matters fall within the regulatory jurisdiction of the court. They are not civil; they are not criminal. There was no requirement to recuse in that case. The court should have heard the case; the court should have resolved it."

Fallone said the Prosser matter should be promptly brought before the state Judicial Commission.

"I think her response to this question demonstrates some very clear philosophical differences between myself and Mrs. Roggensack," said Fallone. "She is asserting there is some inherent power of the court to discipline its own members, without any statutory or constitutional authority. She would adopt some vague standard, the contours of which are unknown, in order to resolve this case. I would prefer to stick to procedures we already have. It is the responsibility of the state Supreme Court to police the entire legal profession; it is the only body with the authority to sanction a sitting Supreme Court judge. "

Megna agreed with Fallone that the Prosser case has dragged on too long. "If that happened to us on the street, that matter would come before to a justice system and it's going to be resolved, either through a finding of guilt or innocence or a plea bargain or something, but it's going to be resolved," said Megna. "This case has not been resolved in two years and may never be resolved. Something has to happen. If the Supreme Court cannot police itself, some other entity is going to have to come in and do the policing."

Roggensack stressed her experience as a sitting member of the court and as a former appellate judge.

"I have, by far, the best experience of the three of us, to be a Supreme Court justice," she said. "Probably 80 percent of my job is judging other judges to see if they got it right."

Roggensack insisted she has bipartisan support and said she didn't like labels when DiMotto asked if she considered herself a "judicial activist."

Megna said he openly discloses his views of political issues and calls himself a "nonpartisan Democrat." He said the public constantly asks judges for their personal views and has a right to know them, but at the same time, he said his personal views would not influence his handling of Supreme Court matters.

Megna said Wisconsin's Supreme Court needs new blood and needs to "lighten up," not be "at each other's throats," and work as a team. "We don't have just one king judge or queen judge -- we have seven justices that need to work together," said Megna.

He also said the court has lost its ability to represent average working people and is instead controlled by big-money special interests. He has challenged his opponents to decline out-of-state campaign contributions.

"I am absolutely opposed to big money coming into the state from people with no ties to this state and who only care about their agenda," Megna said.

But Fallone said campaign contributions are a fact of life until the state Legislature changes the law; however, he called for more transparency regarding contributions.

Roggensack said during her last election, she asked supporters not to pay for ads, but found she could not control outside groups. "You can't make folks who make independent expenditures do anything," she said.

-- By Kay Nolan
For WisPolitics.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

 1:10 PM 

Roggensack touts experience in first TV ad

Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack plays up her judicial experience in the first TV ad of her re-election campaign, touting the more than 2,950 cases she’s heard.

The spot opens with the narrator saying “everybody needs to start some place” as a pilot, surgeon and football referee are shown. A box in the corner of the screen notes their experience with two airliners landed, one surgery performed and three NFL games refereed.

“But certain professions are best done by someone with lots of prior experience,” the narrator says.

The spot then flips to a shot of Roggensack as the counter shows she has more than 2,950 cases heard.

“Luckily when it comes to our state Supreme Court, there’s a very experienced, independent and a hardworking candidate already on the job,” the narrator says.

Roggensack then introduces herself.

“I have nearly 17 years of judicial experience that’s critical to doing my job,” Roggensack says. “I hope I’ve earned your vote on Feb. 19.”

Roggensack and her allies are expected to make her experience a central theme in the race. Challengers Ed Fallone, a Marquette University Law professor, and Vince Megna, a lemon law attorney, have not served on the bench.

-- By JR Ross

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