• WisPolitics

Thursday, June 26, 2014

 8:40 AM 

Burke ad: Walker 'isn't working for you'

Mary Burke's new TV ad says Scott Walker "just isn't working for you" and slams his reaction to negative headlines he received on a John Doe investigation and new job numbers.

The spot opens with "June 19, 2014" on the screen and an announcer saying "It started like this." The ad then features several news clips with anchors discussing allegations by prosecutors that Walker led a "criminal scheme" that broke election laws.

The ad then pivots to last week's job numbers with a TV anchor saying, "Not so good economic news ... Wisconsin ranking 37th in the country for job creation."

The announcer then says Wisconsin is "dead last" in the Midwest for job creation.

"So what does Scott Walker do the next day? He launches more attack ads," the announcer says.

The screen then shows a shot of Walker's spot launched last week tying Burke to former Gov. Jim Doyle.

"Scott Walker just isn't working for you," the announcer says to close the spot.
Burke's campaign said the ad is running in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau and Eau Claire/La Crosse. It is slated to begin airing this evening.

-- By JR Ross

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

 4:16 PM 

Report: Ryan to give $1 million to NRCC

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is one of several high-profile House Republicans who will give at least $1 million to the caucus' campaign arm, according to a report from Politico.

Ryan, R-Janesville and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, will join Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington in giving $1 million from their campaign accounts to the National Republican Congressional Committee ahead of the fall midterm elections. Ryan, who's likely to take over the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the next Congress, had $4 million in his campaign account as of March 31.

House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, will each give $1.5 million to the NRCC. The high-dollar contributions were announced, according to the report, at a closed-door GOP meeting in Washington.

-- By Staff

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

 11:39 AM 

Conservative group files lawsuit over limits on PAC contributions

The conservative CRG Network has filed a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's limits on how much candidates can collectively receive from political action committees.

The suit, filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, argues the PAC contribution limit does not meet the new standards handed down in recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The suit argues those rulings restrict the government's ability to limit campaign contributions "beyond actual financial quid pro quo corruption."

It's the latest challenge to one of the state's campaign contribution limits and follows the state agreeing not to enforce its annual aggregate limit on how much donors can give to multiple candidates after a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a similar restriction.

The CRG Network filed the suit after it donated $250 each to GOP Reps. Dan Knodl of Germantown, Robin Vos of Rochester, John Nygren of Marinette and Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield.

According to the suit, Knodl accepted the contribution. But the other three returned at least part of the money because they had hit the PAC contribution limit of $7,763 for Assembly candidates. Those limits range up to $485,190 for gubernatorial candidates.

The suit notes the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the limits in 1990, but that case was decided before the string of recent federal decisions.

It argues it is unconstitutional to permit one PAC's contribution to be accepted but another's to be denied.

"How can a $500 donation from Committee A be non-corruptive but a $250 donation from CRG Network be corruptive? To ask the question is to answer it. It cannot," the suit argues.

A GAB spokesman noted the 1990 state Supreme Court decision upholding the limit, but referred further comment to the attorney general's office. A DOJ spokesman said the agency would review the suit and respond in court.

-- By Staff

Friday, June 20, 2014

 8:08 AM 

Walker knocks Doyle, Burke in new TV ad

Gov. Scott Walker this morning released a new TV ad.

The spot follows yesterday's release of documents from a second John Doe probe into conservative groups during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections.

The ad, "Bad Hand," links former Gov. Jim Doyle and his Commerce secretary, Mary Burke, Walker's likely fall opponent. It says Doyle and Burke "gambled taxpayer money on dreadful policies" such as middle-class tax hikes, deficit-ridden state budgets and unemployment rates above the national average.

"Wisconsin can't afford to be dealt another bad hand by Mary Burke," the ad concludes.

Two Dem sources said Walker purchased the air time yesterday. One said the buy was for $250,000 for the state's major media markets. The other said it would run through the end of June.

 7:19 AM 

Stroebel releases first TV ad

State Rep. Duey Stroebel has unveiled the first TV ad in his bid for the open 6th CD.

The 30-second spot, titled "Baseball," shows the Saukville Republican's family on a baseball diamond, where he notes his eight children make "the Stroebel family a complete baseball team, plus one."

"We've taught our kids life lessons using baseball: Teamwork, discipline, and always play by the rules -- lessons the career politicians haven't learned," Stroebel said in the ad. "With big debt, more regulation and Obamacare, the career politicians are striking out."

Stroebel's campaign says the spot will air in the Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay markets.

-- By Andy Szal

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

 2:03 PM 

GAB certifies 2014 candidates

With the final candidate challenges and appeals completed, the GAB officially voted to certify the remaining candidates who filed to run this fall.

All but a handful of independent candidates will go on the August primary ballot.

-- By Andy Szal

 1:59 PM 

Third Dem OK'd for 25th SD primary

The GAB has accepted an appeal for ballot access from Poplar Dem Gary Kauther, who’s running in the open 25th Senate District, while rejecting appeals from independent candidate Craig Krueger in the 25th Assembly District and Dem guv candidate Marcia Mercedes Perkins.

The vote in Kauther’s favor sets up a three-person Dem primary with state Rep. Janet Bewley of Ashland and Park Falls Mayor Thomas Ratzlaff. Dane Deutsch is the GOP candidate in the race to succeed longtime Dem Sen. Bob Jauch.

In addition, the final candidate challenge on today’s docket, to GOP Assembly candidate Eric Wimberger, has been denied, placing him on the ballot in the 90th AD.

-- By Andy Szal

 12:40 PM 

Zamarripa on the ballot

The final incumbent lawmaker before the GAB today, state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, has been granted ballot access by the board.

Zamarripa was challenged by primary rival Laura Manriquez, largely over incomplete address information on nomination papers. Fourteen of those challenges were upheld by staff -- only enough to reduce Zamarripa’s signatures to 293 -- but the board decided to toss the complaint entirely, arguing it wasn't a "verified complaint."

The board also OK’d the signatures of 7th AD GOP candidate David Scott Espeseth.

-- By Andy Szal

 12:00 PM 

Hulsey's bid for governor approved

The GAB has approved state Rep. Brett Hulsey's nomination papers, clearing him to continue his challenge of Mary Burke in the Dem guv primary.

Hulsey, of Madison, briefly addressed the board to apologize for one circulator who was ineligible as a convicted felon, saying he "got through my background check." Those circulator's signatures were struck, dropping Hulsey's total to 2,074, but complaints about other circulators were denied.

-- By Andy Szal

 11:56 AM 

GAB grants ballot access to one Assembly candidate, rejects another

The GAB has granted ballot access to Isaac Weix, a GOP candidate in the 92nd AD, and denied access to Michael LaForest, a Green Party candidate in the 47th AD.

GAB staff indicated LaForest had been contacted about resolving a series of issues on his papers but had not responded, drawing the ire of board members.

-- By Andy Szal

 11:20 AM 

Lasee residency OK'd

The GAB has voted to allow GOP Sen. Frank Lasee on the ballot, rejecting outright a complaint over his residency.

The complaint from the state Dem party alleged that Lasee lives in Racine and improperly listed his De Pere residence on his declaration of candidacy.

"Sen. Frank Lasee is perpetrating a fraud on the citizens of Wisconsin and he's making a mockery of the nomination process and of this board," attorney Rebecca Mason told GAB members. She called for the board, if it does not accept the complaint, to conduct in an investigation to determine if "he is living where he says he is."

Lasee's response indicated that his wife owns the Racine property and his residency remains in his northeastern Wisconsin district.

Eric McLeod, an attorney representing Lasee, told the board the complaint is based on "nothing but the worst kind of speculation." And he called the suggestion that the board investigate, for example, where Lasee goes to church to determine where he resides "offensive on its face."

"Calling Sen. Lasee's family circumstances into question to advance a political agenda should be treated as offensive by this board," McLeod said.

Judge Timothy Vocke, just before the vote, suggested that voters are best equipped to determine if candidates live in their districts and can represent their interests.

-- By Andy Szal

 10:45 AM 

Capitol protestor approved for 1st CD race

Jeremy Ryan, who was frequently seen atop a Segway during the 2011 protests over Act 10 and around the Capitol in the years since, has been granted ballot access to run against U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, in a 1st CD GOP primary.

The complaint from the state GOP alleged that Jeremy Ryan collected signatures based on false pretenses -- namely, that he indicated he was circulating a petition calling for the legalization of marijuana.

Ryan conceded he held a sign advocating the legalization of marijuana while circulating papers, but called it "a platform issue" and that signers were clearly aware of what they were signing.

The board accepted the GAB staff recommendation that the GOP had not met "the clear and convincing burden of proof" to toss those signatures.

-- By Andy Szal

 10:19 AM 

Gary George approved for 4th CD primary

The GAB has rejected a challenge to former state Sen. Gary George's nomination papers, clearing the way for the Milwaukee Dem to challenge U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore in the 4th CD Dem primary.

The board denied complaints challenging 1,158 signatures, the bulk of which were based on individuals with felony convictions collecting them. GAB staff said the individuals in question were no longer barred from voting and were eligible to circulate papers. The GAB certified 1,391 signatures.

-- By Andy Szal

 10:14 AM 

Barnes, Bernier candidacies OK'd

The GAB has granted ballot access to incumbent state Reps. Mandela Barnes and Kathy Bernier following complaints from the opposing Assembly campaign committees.

Barnes, D-Milwaukee, was determined to have 204 signatures. Jennifer Toftness of the RACC said more signatures should be struck, bringing him below the 200-signature threshold. She told the board Barnes had not clarified his address on his nomination papers and argued the board should consider striking additional signatures that a circulator indicated were filed after the end of the circulation period.

Attorney Rebecca Mason, representing Barnes, said those signatures were collected in May -- regardless of the date included in the circulator's affidavit -- and that any confusion over his address stemmed from gerrymandered district lines and living on the border between Milwaukee and Glendale.

Mason also said the board should reconsider striking signatures that did not include a legibly printed name -- as required by a new state law -- next to it.

"If we begin conducting handwriting analysis ... I think that raises some serious constitutional questions," Mason said.

The board instead accepted the GAB staff recommendation via voice vote.

ADCC Executive Director Joel Gratz, meanwhile, challenged the legibility of 92 signatures collected by Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls.

Gratz argued Bernier should be held to a particularly high standard as "one of the lead authors" of the printed name requirement.

"If she has some concern about what the definition of cursive is or what legibility is, she should have clarified that for yourselves," Gratz said.

Combined with several other issues, the complaint would have disqualified 114 signatures, but the board instead adopted the staff recommendation rejecting most of the complaint and granting ballot access.

The board also allowed Sara Lee Johann, who's running as a Dem in open 10th AD, to remain on the ballot.

-- By Andy Szal

 9:36 AM 

GAB rejects five candidates for legislative seats

The Government Accountability Board has voted to deny ballot access to the first five candidates reviewed at this morning’s meeting.

GAB staff had recommended rejecting those candidates after their nomination papers fell short of the required signature thresholds. They included:

- Ollie Dombrow, who had filed to challenge Rep. Fred Kessler of Milwaukee in the 12th District Dem primary, and Russell Goodwin, who had filed as a Republican in the 12th. Kessler had challenged Dombrow's papers, while the Assembly Dems had challenged Goodwin;

- Steve Gulasky, who filed to run as a Dem in the 42nd AD and was challenged by the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee;

- Justin Kreuger, who was challenged by the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee after filing as a Dem in the 3rd AD; and

- William C. Thompkins, an independent candidate in the 21st Senate District. Thompkins was challenged by the state GOP.

None of the challenged campaigns spoke in defense of their papers.

-- By Andy Szal

 8:18 AM 

GAB staff recommends ballot access for Hulsey, George, incumbent lawmakers

Government Accountability Board staff is recommending challenges be denied to the nomination papers of guv candidate Brett Hulsey, former state Sen. Gary George, state Sen. Frank Lasee, and three state reps.

Opponents challenged their nomination papers on a series of grounds, but the staff recommended ahead of today's hearing that all be allowed on the ballot. That includes state Reps. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee; Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls; and JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee.

Barnes ended up with 204 valid signatures under the staff review, just above the 200 needed to qualify. Staff originally certified 209 signatures for him, but his supplemental papers gave him 234, which made up for the ones the staff believes should be thrown out.

Staff verified 2,074 signatures for Hulsey after the challenge, just more than the 2,000 needed to qualify for the ballot.

Meanwhile, Dems challenged Lasee's residency, alleging that he actually lives in Racine rather than his northeastern Wisconsin district. But the Republican filed affidavits that his wife owns a Racine home that predates their marriage and lives there with her children. They also own rental property in Racine, but Lasee maintained his permanent address has been in De Pere since 2011.

The staff also recommended accepting the appeal of Gary Kauther, a Dem candidate for the 25th Senate District.

The staff originally ruled he fell short of the signatures needed to qualify, but now agrees with his argument he should be allowed on the ballot.

It recommended rejecting the appeals of two others originally denied ballot access, including Dem guv candidate Marcia Mercedes Perkins.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, June 2, 2014

 5:59 PM 

Hulsey turns in nomination papers, former state Sen. George running for 4th CD

Dem Brett Hulsey today turned in an estimated 2,300 signatures in his bid for guv, while former state Sen. Gary George filed to challenge U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore in the Dem primary for the 4th CD.

George, D-Milwaukee, was recalled from his state Senate seat and then pleaded guilty in a federal kickback scheme. He contended the prosecution was politically motivated, but was sentenced to four years in prison.

He said late this afternoon he respects Moore, but "but we need greater urgency and savvy in returning jobs and hope to every corner of Milwaukee County."   

State law prohibits felons from running for office. But a GAB spokesman said the agency was researching whether that state law applies to federal offices and accepted George's nomination papers.

Hulsey turned in 242 pages of nominating signatures about 15 minutes before today's 5 p.m. deadline. Hulsey said he was still collecting signatures about an hour before he turned them in because "I expect Mary Burke's political hitmen to go after every one of them."

A Burke spokesman declined comment. Burke turned in 3,778 signatures on Friday.

Candidates for statewide office need 2,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. The deadline for any challenges to nomination papers is 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

On the GOP side, Gov. Scott Walker turned in his signatures today, as did Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

The GAB accepts a maximum of 4,000 signatures, but Walker's campaign says he collected 15,000 and Kleefisch's says she had 10,000.

-- By JR Ross

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