• WisPolitics

Friday, August 29, 2014

 10:26 AM 

Recount results in 17th SD Dem primary put Bomhack up 33 votes

With all counties now reporting, Pat Bomhack had a 33-vote lead over Dem rival Ernie Wittwer in the 17th SD primary, according to the GAB.

The recount left Bomhack with 3,837 votes to 3,804 for Wittwer.

That margin was due at least in part to missing ballots in Green County, where Wittwer lost 40 votes and Bomhack lost 12 after election officials could not find the votes to be included in the recount. Wittwer emerged from the canvass with a seven-vote lead, 3,847-3,840.

The GAB said Judge Gerald Nichol from the board will certify the canvass statements for the recount in the 17th SD and in the 87th AD at 5 p.m. today. Once the canvass is certified, Wittwer will have five business days starting Tuesday to challenge the results in circuit court.

-- By JR Ross

 9:51 AM 

New Burke ad features Madison high school student

A new TV ad from Mary Burke highlights her work on an educational program for Madison high schoolers that aims to reduce achievement gaps and prepare low-income students for college.

The 30-second spot, titled "Annie," focuses on the AVID/TOPS program, which is a partnership between Madison Schools and the Boys & Girls Club of Madison that Burke helped create. The spot says 90 percent of program participants go on to two- or four-year college.

The ad features a young woman from Madison, Annie Pendl, who says she is working three jobs and 60 hours each week, but that doing so is worth it because she gets to go to college in the fall.

The ad starts by showing Pendl walking to her car then driving as she explains her situation. The video cuts to Burke working with students as a voiceover explains the program. The video then shows Pendl walking with her family and sitting with Burke, as Pendl says, "What Mary Burke started opened up opportunities I couldn't even imagine; Mary Burke changed my life."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

 2:55 PM 

Greater Wisconsin TV ad says Walker cut school funding, gave money to friends

The Greater Wisconsin PAC is up with a new TV ad that slams Walker for cutting school funding and accuses him of giving the money to his friends.

The spot opens with three children asking, “Why?” 

“Why did Scott Walker cut school funding more per student than any governor in America?” the narrator then says.

Two children then ask, “Where?” 

“Where did the money go” To Scott Walker’s friends,” the narrator says.

“Who?” two children ask.

The narrator says Walker gave his friends half a billion in giveaways.

“Why?” a girl asks.

“That's how things work in Scott Walker's Wisconsin: less for our schools, more for his friends,” the narrator says to close the ad.

-- By JR Ross

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

 3:11 PM 

Lost ballots drop Wittwer's total by 40 votes, Bomhack's by 12

The lost ballots in Green County swung the totals in the 17th SD Dem primary by a net of 28 votes in favor of Pat Bomhack, who finished the original count seven votes behind Ernie Wittwer.

Green County discovered it was missing 110 ballots from the city of Monroe that were included in the county canvass but could not be found for the recount that was ordered in the race.

Wittwer's total dropped 40 votes with the missing ballots not included in the recount, while Bomhack lost 12. While the content of the missing ballots is impossible to determine, it appears a significant number of them did not include a vote in the Dem Senate primary.

Clerk Michael Doyle said the board of canvass this afternoon certified its results without the missing ballots.

The results will now be sent to the Government Accountability Board, and some observers are already predicting the race will end up in court to resolve how to handle the missing ballots.

-- By JR Ross

 12:47 PM 

Marquette poll: Burke, Walker again neck-and-neck; Happ with early edge on Schimel

The latest Marquette University Law School poll again found Gov. Scott Walker and Dem rival Mary Burke locked in a tight race.

The poll, conducted Thursday through Sunday, found 47.5 percent of registered voters backed Walker, while 44.1 percent favored Burke. Among likely voters, it was 48.6 percent for Burke and 46.5 percent for Walker.

Poll director Charles Franklin said the differences were well within the margin of error, and the changes over the last two polls statistically insignificant.

In July, registered voters backed Walker 46-45, while likely voters supported Burke 47-46. In May, it was tied among registered voters at 46, while likely voters backed Walker 48-45.

The poll also asked about the race for the open attorney general's office. It found both Dem candidate Susan Happ and Republican Brad Schimel were largely still unknown to the electorate. In the head-to-head match up, their party affiliations were added in when the question was posed to respondents.

That found 40 percent of registered voters favored Happ, who won the Dem primary a little more than a week before the poll went into the field. Thirty-three percent backed Schimel, while 24 percent were undecided or didn't know.

Among likely voters, 42 percent backed Happ, while 32 percent supported Schimel.

The survey interviewed 815 registered voters both through land lines and cell phones. That sample size had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The poll included 609 likely voters, and that margin of error was plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

The partisan breakdown of registered voters included 27 percent Republicans, 31 percent Dems and 38 percent registered voters. That's in line with the average of the 23 statewide polls Marquette has conducted.

Among likely voters, it was 28 percent Republican, 34 percent Dem.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

 7:57 PM 

Green County can't find 110 ballots, may swing race in Bomhack's favor

Green County Clerk Michael Doyle said election officials have been unable to track down 110 missing ballots in the 17th SD Dem primary and he will have to certify final results for the county without them.

That could swing the race in favor of Pat Bomhack, who finished the county canvass seven votes behind Ernie Wittwer for the party nomination.

The missing ballots are from Monroe, where the county canvass had Wittwer beating Bomhack 523-337. Doyle said he did not have exact numbers from the recount available tonight. But the missing 110 ballots favored Wittwer by a similar proportion and he will be impacted more by losing them from the final count, Doyle said.

Doyle said the Monroe Police chief and a detective helped him search City Hall today and interview poll workers, but no signs of the missing ballots were found.

"I can't count them. I don't have them, so I don't know what to do," he said. "We counted the ballots we did have, and we'll certify the results we did obtain with the ballots we have."

Doyle said the Board of Canvass will convene at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to certify the recount results.

-- By JR Ross

 12:44 PM 

More than 100 ballots missing in 17th SD Dem primary recount

Green County officials told the GAB they were short more than 100 ballots the city of Monroe counted on its canvass compared to what was in the ballot bag when it was opened for the recount in the 17th SD Dem primary, which was decided by just seven votes.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney said Green County was trying to reconcile the discrepancy, and the agency is advising local election officials.

Pat Bomhack requested the recount after the county canvass had him seven votes behind Ernie Wittwer for the Dem nomination.

"At this point, we’re advising them on making a proper record on how to do a thorough investigation of what happened," Magney said.

Green County Clerk Michael Doyle issued a statement today that the Board of Canvass had not yet certified the final results because 110 ballots from Monroe were "not available to the Board of Canvass for tabulation."

“The board is currently working with the Government Accountability Board for direction as to how to proceed with the certification," he said.

It was unclear early this afternoon when the Green County Board of Canvass would reconvene, according to the clerk's office.

UPDATE: The clerk's office sent out a notice that the Board of Canvass was to reconvene at 2:30 p.m. The agenda included reconvening "for the purpose of interviewing poll workers and city staff regarding the partisan primary."

-- By JR Ross

 12:40 PM 

Recount confirms Edming win in 87th AD

A recount has confirmed James Edming's win in the 87th AD GOP primary, according to the GAB.

The recount put Edming at 1,452 votes, while Michael Bub, who requested the recount, finsihed with 1,433 votes. Edming picked up one vote in the recount, while Bub lost one, putting Edming's final margin of victory at 19 votes.

The Government Accountability Board will certify the results in five business days unless there is a court appeal.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, August 25, 2014

 10:53 AM 

Walker again talks up job numbers in latest TV ad

In his latest TV ad, Gov. Scott Walker touts new monthly job numbers he says show Wisconsin is third in the Midwest in jobs growth over the last year.

The ad features Walker speaking directly into the camera in an office-like setting as he rattles off the list of Midwest states Wisconsin is ahead of job growth on, according to the July 2014 BLS Current Economic Survey.

Dem rival Mary Burke and other Walker opponents have been knocking the guv for another set of BLS numbers that show the state last in the Midwest for job growth.

“Our opponent can try and mislead you and criticize the 'Wisconsin comeback,' but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re moving Wisconsin forward,” Walker says. “We won’t stop until everyone who wants a job, can find a job.”

The spot is the second new ad Walker has released in as many days and he's put out three new ones over the past week.

-- By David Wise

Sunday, August 24, 2014

 12:46 PM 

Walker says in new TV ad he made jobs pledge because state 'can do great things'

Gov. Scott Walker, who’s been regularly criticized by Dems for falling short of his pledge to create 250,000 new jobs in his first term, says in his new TV ad he made the promise “because I know Wisconsin can do great things.”

Most of the 60-second spot features Walker talking directly into the camera. He opens by noting the state lost 133,000 jobs before he took office and now “even Lambeau Field couldn’t hold the more than 100,000 people who have gotten” one since.

He says the state is No. 1 in the Midwest for personal income growth and has the lowest unemployment rate since 2008.

“We set big goals. We met most of them. And we’re not done yet,” Walker says.

He says he eliminated a $3.6 billion budget deficit, lowered property and income taxes, and froze UW tuition “to make college more affordable for students and working families.”

“Now, our opponent can criticize Wisconsin’s comeback, but that won’t change the fact that we’re moving Wisconsin forward,” Walker says to close the spot. “And we won’t stop until everyone who wants a job, can find a job.”

-- By JR Ross

Friday, August 22, 2014

 3:27 PM 

Bomhack requests recount in the 17th SD

Pat Bomhack has requested a recount in the 17th SD Dem primary after coming up seven votes short of Ernie Wittwer.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney said Bomhack contacted the GAB this afternoon to request the recount.

GAB officials have said if Bomhack requested a recount by today's 5 p.m. deadline, it would begin Monday and would have to be completed within 13 days of the order.

UPDATE: Bomhack said in a statement, "“In the recent primary election for State Senate District 17, the county canvass results show a margin of seven votes, making this one of the closest state senate elections in decades. To ensure that each person who voted has their vote counted properly, I have submitted a request for a recount. Based upon conversations with the county clerks and Government Accountability Board, I am hopeful that this process will be concluded shortly and produce a final result in a matter of days.”

Wittwer responded to Bomhack's request, "The election was very close. The loser has every right to a recount. I fully expect the final recount to support the conclusion of the certified vote. I also hope that the process is completed quickly so that it does not detract from the larger task of defeating my Tea Party opponent. In the meantime, I am continuing my campaign as though I had won by a thousand votes."

-- By JR Ross

 2:33 PM 

Leibham won't seek recount in 6th CD GOP race

Joe Leibham announced this afternoon he will not seek a recount in the 6th CD GOP primary.

The county canvass gave Glenn Grothman a 219-vote lead, and Leibham said he has contacted Grothman to wish him well.

“I am humbled to have been a candidate for the 6th District and I am proud of the positive campaign we conducted,” Leibham said. “I value the confidence expressed in me by so many voters and truly appreciate the tremendous support offered by so many dedicated volunteers and friends over the past four months.”

UPDATE: Grothman said he is grateful that Leibham did not request a recount. "As I said last week, I think all of the candidates in this race ran campaigns to be proud of. We discussed pressing, important issues that our country is facing right now and the need for urgent action in Congress." 

-- By JR Ross

Thursday, August 21, 2014

 10:38 AM 

6th CD recount wouldn’t start until next week

The earliest a potential recount would begin in the 6th CD is Monday should Sen. Joe Leibham file for a recount today, according to the GAB.

The GAB said if a petition was filed this week it would issue an order Saturday for the recount to begin Monday. Election officials would then have 13 days after the Saturday order, including weekends, to complete the recount.

While the recount wouldn't start until next week, during a webinar today the GAB told election officials that they could gather staff this weekend to review poll books if they chose.

Leibham has until 5 p.m. Monday to request a recount.

-- By David Wise

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

 8:05 PM 

Final numbers in, Leibham promises quick decision on next step in 6th CD

State Sen. Joe Leibham this evening promised a quick decision on his next step in the 6th CD GOP primary after the final county canvass came in, giving Glenn Grothman a lead of 219 votes.

"We appreciate the efforts of local clerks and canvass board members reviewing the vote totals," Leibham said in a short statement. "My team and I will be reviewing the official results and deciding quickly how to move forward."

Sheboygan County was the last one to report tonight. With all counties now in, Grothman picked up six votes on his unofficial totals while Leibham picked up one. 

That put the final total at 23,247 votes for Grothman and 23,028 for Leibham.

Duey Stroebel's final number was 15,873, five higher than his unofficial number, while Tom Denow finished with 2,117, two more votes than the unofficial count. 

See the final numbers.

-- By JR Ross

 3:19 PM 

Greater Wisconsin TV ad slams Walker for job growth, giving money to 'his cronies'

A new Greater Wisconsin PAC TV ad slams Gov. Scott Walker for the state’s job growth and giving “Wisconsin job creation money to his cronies.”

The ad opens with clips from newscasts on Wisconsin lagging behind others for job growth.

The narrator then says Wisconsin’s job growth is dead last in the Midwest and asks, “What’s Scott Walker doing wrong?”

The narrator then says Walker gave job creation money to corporate friends who contributed to his campaign with $570 million of “our jobs money” going to Walker’s friends.

“That’s how things work in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin,” the narrator says to close the spot. “His friends come first. We come in dead last.”

-- By JR Ross

 12:24 PM 

Bub seeks recount in 87th AD

Michael Bub filed a petition today seeking a recount in the 87th AD GOP primary.

The official canvass showed Bub trailing James "Jimmy Boy" Edming by 17 votes, with the two garnering 1,434 votes and 1,451, respectively.

The GAB is to hold a webinar on on recount procedures in the 87th AD and the 17th SD from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The recount is to start Friday.

A recount petition has not yet been filed in the 17th SD, but in a note on its webpage, the GAB indicated one was expected. In that race, Ernie Wittwer edged Pat Bomhack by seven votes in the Dem primary.

-- By David Wise 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

 9:21 PM 

Grothman lead increases slightly in 6th CD over Leibham following canvasses

Glenn Grothman's lead over Joe Leibham in the 6th CD GOP primary edge up slightly following the county canvasses, according to a WisPolitics.com tally.

Sheboygan County finished its tally tonight, but will not certify the results until tomorrow. While those results have not been posted to the county or GAB sites, three sources tracking the county told WisPolitics.com Leibham picked up five votes there, while Grothman added one.

That puts Grothman's lead at 219 votes when added in with the results of other county canvasses that have been posted to the GAB site. Grothman had a 214-vote lead following the unofficial tally from The Associated Press. But once the counties posted their own unofficial results, changes in the Milwaukee County vote dropped Grothman's lead to 213 before the county canvasses began.

The Grothman and Leibham campaigns had no comment tonight on the tentative tally.

The GAB will certify the results later this week after all the counties have officially submitted their canvasses.

-- By JR Ross

 8:26 PM 

Final numbers in, Wittwer declares victory in 17th SD Dem primary

Ernie Wittwer is declaring victory in the 17th SD Dem primary after the canvass from counties in the southwestern Wisconsin district left him up seven votes on Pat Bomhack.

The county returns submitted to the GAB tonight put Wittwer at 3,847 votes to 3,840 to Bomhack. Wittwer emerged from Election Night with a two-vote edge.

The numbers, which have been posted to the GAB’s site, are expected to be certified later this week.

“The results are in and we are thrilled that we can declare victory in the 17th State Senate District race," Wittwer said. "Pat fought the good fight because the results were close, but it’s time for all Democrats to unite with a single objective. We must spend the next 77 days focused on beating our Republican opponent. We simply do not have any time to waste.”

Bomhack did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone seeking comment. The seven-vote margin is well within the difference required that would allow Bomhack to request a recount without having the foot the bill.

-- By JR Ross

Friday, August 15, 2014

 10:09 AM 

Burke's latest TV ad again slams Walker for falling short on jobs promise

Mary Burke’s latest TV ad against takes Gov. Scott Walker to task for falling short of his pledge to create 250,000 new jobs in his first term.

The spot opens with “July 2014” on the screen before showing three TV news clips highlighting layoffs.

The narrator then notes Walker’s jobs promise.

“Instead Wisconsin fell to dead last in Midwest job growth with over a thousand layoffs announced in July alone,” the narrator says. “When it comes to jobs, Scott Walker’s top down approach just isn’t working.”

Burke’s campaign said the spot will start tomorrow in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau and the Eau Claire/La Crosse market.

-- By JR Ross

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

 3:00 PM 

Grothman confident lead 'will hold strong"

State Sen. Glenn Grothman this afternoon expressed confidence the narrow lead he has over state Sen. Joe Leibham in the GOP 6th CD primary will hold.

“I’m honored that the voters chose me as the Republican nominee for the 6th Congressional District," he said. "I’m confident that the lead we have today will hold strong and I look forward to a speedy certification of the results, a robust general election campaign and another victory on November 4.”

-- By Staff

 2:22 PM 

Adelman refuses to lift injunction in voter ID case

U.S. Judge Lynn Adelman today refused a request to lift his injunction holding up enforcement of Wisconsin's voter ID law.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had asked Adelman to stay his permanent injunction while the case is before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But Adelman rejected that request today. 

Read the decision.

-- By Staff

 12:19 PM 

AP takes back Grothman call in 6th CD

The Associated Press has pulled back its declaration that state Sen. Glenn Grothman has won the 6th CD, noting a recount is now likely in the race.

AP supervisory correspondent M.L. Johnson tweeted, "Grothman's victory in #WI06 now uncertain. A recount likely.@AP has uncalled the race until votes finalized. #wipolitics."

The AP's unofficial tally in the race is now a 214-vote margin for Grothman over state Sen. Joe Leibham. That's a drop of one vote compared to earlier tallies in the race.

Meanwhile, neither side is saying anything about their plans in the interim. Grothman's campaign did not respond to questions about the tight race and a potential recall. Leibham's campaign manager, when asked if there were any polling places or irregularities that might change the result, only repeated the statement from Leibham last night: "Out of respect to the voters of the 6th Congressional District, I believe we need to allow the election officials to finish counting and double-checking all of the votes cast in Tuesday's election."

-- By Staff

 11:52 AM 

87th AD swings in Edming's favor

The GOP race for the 87th AD has now swung in the favor of James "Jimmy Boy" Edming.

The latest unofficial results collected by The Associated Press put Edming at 1,451 votes to 1,434 for Michael Bub in the four-way primary. Late last night, Bub had a three-vote advantage.

According to Rusk County, 20 votes were mistakenly attributed to Scott Noble in the AP's original tally. They should have gone to Edming, which accounts for his now 17-vote lead.

The AP has not called the race.

-- By JR Ross

 11:31 AM 

Turnout at least 10 percent, but final numbers won't be known for a while

Yesterday's turnout will fall short of the 15 percent the GAB predicted heading into Tuesday, but it make take a while before that finally tally is known.

By one measure, at least 10 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the primary, though GAB spokesman Reid Magney said that final number will likely be higher.

The state treasurer's office was the only statewide race in which both major parties had contested races. Combined, 446,435 votes were cast in those primaries, according to unofficial returns.

That amounts to just more than 10 percent of the state's 4.4 million eligible voters; 15 percent turnout would be about 660,000 votes.

Still, Magney pointed it out there are likely a number of voters who went to the polls yesterday, but didn't cast ballots in the primaries for treasurer while voting in higher-profile races like the Milwaukee Court sheriff primary.

A final tally won't be known until after the county canvasses are completed. Those are due to the GAB Aug. 22.

-- By JR Ross

 9:00 AM 

In new Walker ad, people thank him for their jobs

Scott Walker's campaign is out with a new TV ad that features people who say they got a job. Some thank the guv, who also appears in the spot.

The spot opens with a man in a factory setting saying he was out of work for two years, got some training and "now I'm back at work."

Three people said they got a job before Walker adds Wisconsin's unemployment rate is down.

"I got a job," a man says.

"Job growth is up," Walker says before a woman adds "I got more money for the kids."

"Thanks, Scott," a man says.

"We're not going to stop until everyone who wants a job can find a job," Walker says before a man adds "It's working" and another says "thanks, guv."

The narrator then closes the spot, "That’s why Governor Walker invested over $100 million into worker training so people can land the jobs that will keep Wisconsin moving forward."

Though the campaign released the ad today, two Dem sources said the spot first ran over the weekend. Walker's campaign earlier this week declined to release the ad until today.

-- By JR Ross

 2:41 AM 

Leibham not taking any action until votes double checked

Joe Leibham's campaign issued a statement early this morning indicating he had no plans to make any decisions until the vote is double checked.

"Out of respect to the voters of the 6th Congressional District, I believe we need to allow the election officials to finish counting and double checking all of the votes cast in Tuesday’s election," he said in the short statement.

-- By JR Ross

 2:39 AM 

Grothman spox: Lawmaker excited to be GOP nominee

A spokesman for state Sen. Glenn Grothman proclaimed this morning the lawmaker is excited to the GOP nominee for the 6th CD even as the final results showed a narrow lead over fellow Republican Joe Leibham.

"Sen. Grothman is excited to be the Republican nominee, and we're looking forward to November," Brandon VerVelde said shortly after the last results were posted to the Sheboygan County Clerk's website.

VerVelde said Grothman had not yet heard from the Leibham campaign and declined to comment on what may come next, including the possibility of a recount. He noted a canvass will be conducted to finalize the vote, as happens with every election "and we'll see how that moves the dial."

-- By JR Ross

 2:26 AM 

Final Sheboygan County numbers now up

The final Sheboygan County numbers have now been posted to the clerk's website.

With all precincts reporting, Joe Leibham took 8,970 votes in the county to 4,403 for Glenn Grothman.

Various counts have the unofficial tally at 23,241 for Grothman to 23,026 for Leibham.

See the posted Sheboygan County results.

-- By JR Ross

 1:38 AM 

Here's what's left in the 6th CD

The Grothman and Leibham campaigns are now keeping a close eye on 14 precincts in Sheboygan County that could upend the GOP race for the 6th CD.

The Sheboygan County Clerk's website reported 39 of 53 precincts in shortly after 1:30 a.m. and had been stuck on that number for some time. 

The precincts that had not yet been reported were all in townships and villages around the county.

-- By JR Ross

 12:51 AM 

Leibham's campaign waiting for final results as race tightens

Glenn Grothman's edge over Joe Leibham has narrowed considerably, and Leibham's campaign said it is trying to track down final numbers for Sheboygan County to determine the final outcome.

Grothman was projected the winner in the 6th CD GOP race earlier in the night. But with 91 percent of precincts in, Grothman's margin over Leibham was 21,501 votes to 19,987.

Leibham campaign aide Ryan Terrill said the outstanding votes are in Sheboygan County, Leibham's home county.

"Once we have Joe’s home county, the county he grew up in, we’ll be able to make a public statement," he said. "Right now, we can’t make a public statement because we don’t know what Joe’s own home county has delivered."

Terrill said the campaign has had issues pulling numbers from the Sheboygan County Clerk's website and had sent representatives to the office to nail down final results.

Grothman spokesman Brandon VerVelde said the campaign was having issues with the Sheboygan County clerk's website as well, but was still feeling confidence about the results.

"The AP and multiple other outlets all called it, so we’re still confident at this point," he said.

-- By JR Ross

 12:37 AM 

Allen wins GOP nomination in 97th AD

Realtor Scott Allen pulled 34 percent of the vote in the open 97th AD to win the GOP nomination, all but guaranteeing he'll replace Rep. Bill Kramer in the Assembly.

With all precincts reporting, Allen beat Brandon Rosner by 289 votes.

Allen will be unopposed on the November ballot for the Waukesha area seat. He'd replace Kramer, who decided not to seek re-election after a series of allegations were raised against him. He is also now facing sexual assault charges.

-- By JR Ross

 12:31 AM 

Grothman says message sealed GOP nomination for him in 6th CD

State Sen. Glenn Grothman said his message delivered him the GOP nomination in the 6th CD primary, and he has no plans to alter it for a general election audience.

“People know welfare is killing the country, and wherever I talked about the message, be it at debates, be it at local get togethers, it resonated because people know we have to turn it around or the American family is going to be destroyed and the American work ethic is going to be destroyed,” Grothman said.

With 89 percent of precincts in, Grothman had 20,291 votes, or 38 percent. Fellow state Sen. Joe Leibham of Sheboygan was next with 30 percent, while state Rep. Duey Stroebel had 28 percent and MATC instructor Tom Denow had 4 percent. 

At the beginning of the race, Leibham was considered the frontrunner because his Senate seat covered a good chunk of the congressional district, while insiders believed Stroebel would have superior financial resources because of his personal wealth. Grothman, meanwhile, moved into the district and his Senate seat only covered a portion of the southeastern corner.

But Grothman said voters liked the fact “that I tell it like it is.” He said the key to winning the GOP-leaning seat over the next three months will be continuing to meet people in the district. He also said the time he’s already logged on the campaign trail gives him a leg up on Winnebago County Exec Mark Harris, the Dem nominee.

Dems were already seeking to paint Grothman as an extremist with state Chair Mike Tate saying he “makes Michele Bachman and Todd Akin look like reasonable moderates."

Grothman shrugged it off.

“These are the reasons I ran. The reason I ran in the primary is the same reason I ran in the general, so I don’t think I need to change,” Grothman said.

-- By JR Ross

 12:27 AM 

Sartori wins Dem treasurer nomination

The AP has projected David Sartori as the winner of the Dem primary for state treasurer, defeating Dave Leeper.

With 96 percent of the vote in, Sartori had 112,280 votes to Leeper's 105,645, a 52-48 margin. Sartori is set to face GOP nominee Matt Adamczyk.

-- By Staff

 12:26 AM 

Walker predicts close November race, asks volunteers for help

WAUKESHA -- Despite running unopposed in Tuesday's primary, Gov. Scott Walker and his team rallied GOP supporters here after polls closed, predicting a close November race against Dem Mary Burke and pleading for volunteers to step up their work on phone banks and door-to-door campaigning.

Wearing light blue jeans and a red shirt with the sleeves rolled up, Walker declared, "Today, Wisconsin is much, much, much better off than it was four years ago, and with your help, when we're re-elected, Wisconsin will be even better four years from now."

"Remember, Jim Doyle hand-picked Mary Burke to be a part of his cabinet, to be his chief jobs czar, to be his secretary of Commerce because he knew that she supported his causes entirely," Walker said. "That's not just what he said, that's what she said. We don't need a third term of Jim Doyle's failed policies." 

Walker promised, if re-elected, to continue to lower property taxes and would continue to freeze tuition at the UW campuses. 

GOP AG nominee Brad Schimel also attended the rally. Afterward. he told WisPolitics.com his campaign will not change.

"It's going to be the same message we've had all along -- law enforcement experience," he said. "We're certainly going to keep beating that drum that Wisconsin has big public safety challenges and they need a leader at the DOJ who's ready to lead on Day One."

Asked if any issues have evolved for him since he threw his hat in the ring, Schimel replied that he is prepared to fight what he expects to be over-reaching by the federal government in regard to energy rules. 

"On June 2, the EPA announced new energy regulations, and Wisconsin stands to get hit very hard," he said. "The attorney general represents the state against the federal government."

-- By Kay Nolan

 12:20 AM 

Wittwer edging Bomhack by two votes with all precincts in for 17th SD

With all precincts reporting, longtime DOT employee Ernie Wittwer had a two-vote lead over former Feingold aide Pat Bomhack in the race for the Dem nomination for the 17th CD.

If the lead holds up, Wittwer would face GOP state Rep. Howard Marklein for the open southwestern Wisconsin seat. But Dems were already expecting the primary race to remain in limbo at least until the canvass is completed to finalize the results.

-- By Staff

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

 11:53 PM 

Final candidates emerge in key Assembly races

Today's primaries have finalized the field in some of the key Assembly races this fall.

In the 1st AD, large animal vet Joel Kitchens won the GOP nomination with 44 percent of the vote. Dentist Paul Feit was next with 28 percent. Kitchens will now face Joe Majeski in the swing seat representing the Door County area.

In southwestern Wisconsin’s 51st AD, Todd Novak won the GOP primary with 45 percent of the vote and 93 percent of precincts in. Insiders believed Assembly Speaker Robin Vos recruited the openly gay Dodgeville mayor for the seat, believing a moderate candidate would be the GOP’s best chance to hold onto the Dem-leaning seat. Novak will face Dem Dick Cates in November.

In northcentral Wisconsin’s 72nd AD, attorney Dana Duncan won the Dem nomination with 66 percent of the vote and 79 percent of precincts in. Dems view this seat as one of their top pickup opportunities against GOP Rep. Scott Krug. Some Madison Dems were worried Duncan wasn’t doing enough early on, and Tom Rayome was a late entry.

In northern Wisconsin’s 75th, former Rice Lake Mayor Romaine Quinn won the GOP nomination with 68 percent of the vote and 71 percent of precincts in. He will face Dem Rep. Stephen Smith of Shell Lake in one of the GOP’s top targets this fall.

-- By JR Ross

 11:41 PM 

Bub leads Edming with three votes for 87th AD

In what is sure to be a recount, Medford City Councilman Michael Bub leads small business owner James "Jimmy Boy" Edming in the 87th AD with all precincts reporting by only three votes.

Bub has 1,434 votes to Edming's 1,431 votes. The two are vying to replace outgoing Rep. Mary Williams, R-Medford, in a safe GOP district.

-- By Jason Smathers

 11:32 PM 

Happ: Voters simply said they want 'equality' in Wisconsin

Jefferson County DA Susan Happ didn't have the name ID of state Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, when the AG race began and seemed fairly evenly matched with him when it came to their campaign finance numbers as it wore on.

And Richards' campaign touted a statewide campaign his backers said Happ simply couldn't match.

But with the polls closed and the votes almost counted, Happ has a won the primary with a commanding lead over both Richards and Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne.

Happ pushed her electability versus Waukesha County DA Schimel during the campaign, but in a brief interview Tuesday night, she said she felt voters agreed with her message to end the "divisiveness" in Wisconsin politics and the AG's office.

"It's very rewarding that that message was not only heard, but well received," Happ said. "I think that was a key to my success."

But when asked if her win represented a desire for voters who want a female face in state government, Happ started by saying they recognized the "War on Women" in the state. She noted that she's pledged to strive for the right for "a woman to make her own health care decisions" and equal pay for women. She also said that voters probably recognized that women are "underrepresented" in government in general.

"We want equality in our state, and we want to get back to the things that matter," Happ added.

Happ will face an immediate financial disadvantage to Schimel, who amassed a warchest larger than the entire Dem field of candidates for the primary and will start with far more cash on hand than Happ.

But Happ, who has the backing of the influential abortion rights PAC EMILY's List, said she will just do what she's done up to this point: Work hard and "spend smarter."

"I want to protect our values and citizens, not just the powerful," Happ said. "It's clear to me that he's cut from the same 'divide and conquer' cloth, and the people want something better."

Ozanne and Richards weren't available for comment following their concession speeches, but Sachin Chheda, a spokesman for Richards said Happ is proof that the Democrats have a "strong team" to take on Schimel and Gov. Scott Walker in November.

-- By Jason Smathers

 11:29 PM 

Bowen, Brostoff win Milwaukee Assembly primaries

Dems David Bowen and Jonathan Brostoff won their primaries for Assembly seats representing the city of Milwaukee in two of the most high-profile races in the chamber.

Bowen, a Milwaukee County supervisor, will be heavily favored to succeed Assembly Minority Leader Sandy Pasch, D-Shorewood. Pasch, who is caucasian, moved into the district, which has a significant African-American population, following redistricting and that 2010 race featured some racial undertones. Bowen had 55 percent of the vote with 72 percent of precincts in. Tia Torhorst, who previously worked for Milwaukee County Exec Chris Abele, was next with 22 percent.

In the 19th, Brostoff touted his endorsements from progressives, including Pasch, in the lead up to the race. With all precincts in, he best County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic 2,737 votes to 2,547.

A pair of Dem incumbents also beat back primary challenges. Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa won 62 percent of the vote in the 8th AD, while Rep. Leon Young had 63 percent of the vote with 68 percent of precincts in. 

On the GOP sides, Molly McGartland won the party's nomination in the 20th AD on the city's south side. McGartland has already lost twice to Dem Rep. Christine Sinicki, who has been hit with a series of negative headlines in recent months over her finances. Republicans went into Tuesday believing they would have a better chance against Sinicki in the Dem-leaning seat if Mike Pierce emerged. But McGartland edged him 409-381 with all precincts reporting.

-- By JR Ross

 11:16 PM 

Ringhand edges Scieszinski in 15th SD

State Rep. Janis Ringhand has edged Austin Scieszinski in the Dem primary for the open 15th SD.

With all precincts reporting, Ringhand had 6,157 votes, or 40 percent, to 5,883 votes, or 38 percent for Scieszinski.

Former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan was in third with 3,448 votes, or 22 percent.

UPDATE: Ringhand credited her hard work since last fall for delivering the victory. She declared for the race last fall and has been working doors and the phones since, she said.

"No. 1, that's the big thing, being out there amongst the people," she said.

Scieszinski beat Ringhand in Rock County, the district's population center, with 5,422 votes to 4,857, according to unofficial results posted at the county clerk's website. But Ringhand bested him in the other four counties that are in the district.

"When you’re from Janesville, you’re going to get the Janesville vote, I guess," Ringhand said of her opponent's edge in Rock County.

Ringhand will now face Republican Brian Fitzgerald in the strongly Dem seat.

-- By JR Ross

 11:02 PM 

AP: Grothman wins the 6th CD primary

State Sen. Glenn Grothman has won the 6th CD, according to the Associated Press.

Grothman, with 81 percent of precincts reporting, has a 39 percent of the vote. State Sen. Joe Leibham has 29 percent, while Rep. Duey Stroebel has 28 percent.

-- By Jason Smathers

 10:35 PM 

Ringhand, Scieszinski now neck and neck, Bewley wins in the 25th

Austin Scieszinski has closed the gap with state Rep. Janis Ringhand for the Dem nomination in the 15th SD and was narrowly behind with most of the vote in.

According to unofficial returns, Ringhand had 5,986 votes, or 39 percent, with 92 percent of precincts reporting. Scieszinski had 5,810 votes, or 38 percent.

Former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan was in third place with 22 percent.

In the open 25th SD in northern Wisconsin, the AP has called the race for Rep. Janet Bewley. With two-thirds of the precincts in, she had 71 percent of the vote.

 -- By JR Ross

 10:32 PM 

Adamczyk advances in treasurer race

Former legislative aide Matt Adamczyk has defeated attorney Randy Melchert in the GOP primary for state treasurer, the AP has projected.

Adamczyk had campaigned on eliminating the office, which has gradually been stripped of much of its authority by the Legislature.

David Sartori had a narrow lead over Dave Leeper in the Dem treasurer primary with 68 percent of precincts reporting.

-- By Staff

 10:30 PM 

Wanggaard says integrity played role in primary win

Former state Sen. Van Wanggaard said integrity played a key role in his win over fellow Republican Jonathan Steitz.

Wanggaard, R-Racine, lost his Senate seat in a 2012 recall after he voted for Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining reforms. 

“I did the right thing and didn’t compromise my integrity,” Wanggaard said in a phone interview. “I voted for the conservative agenda the governor brought forward knowing there was a pretty good possibility that I would lose my seat. I think that did play a part. The voters saw I did what I said I was going to do.”

Wanggaard won his seat in the Legislature in the 2010 GOP wave before losing it two years later. But the seat has been dramatically redrawn to have a strong Republican advantage rather than a swing district. It went from covering most of Racine County to one that includes western Racine and Kenosha counties, and Wanggaard will be heavily favored in November against Dem Randy Bryce.

Steitz tried to run to Wanggaard’s right in the primary and often criticized him for compromising on key conservative issues.

But Wanggaard said that charge did not stick with voters.

“My constituents, as I talked to them at the doors, don’t want someone to be just lockstep, but to use common sense and think about the legislation as presented,” he said.

-- By JR Ross

 10:19 PM 

Bradley to face La Follette for secretary of state

Julian Bradley has defeated state Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, in the GOP primary for secretary of state, according to AP projections.

With 58 percent of precincts reporting, Bradley had 63 percent of the vote to Bies' 37 percent. Bradley would face longtime Dem incumbent Doug La Follette.

-- By Staff

 10:11 PM 

AP calls AG race for Happ

With 54 percent of the vote in and 55 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press has called the attorney general Dem primary for Jefferson County DA Susan Happ.

Perhaps a note: As soon as the AP called the race, a press release was sent out by EMILY's List, a prominent PAC supporting pro-choice women running for public office, congratulating Happ. The group donated $10,000 to her primary campaign, but didn't do any independent expenditures on her behalf. The group's support was touted highly by Happ.

  -- By Jason Smathers

 10:03 PM 

Moore defeats George in 4th CD primary

The AP has called the 4th Congressional District Dem primary for incumbent U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore.

With 30 percent of the vote in, Moore, of Milwaukee, led former state Sen. Gary George 71-29.

-- By Staff

 10:01 PM 

Subeck beats Clear in 78th AD

Technically, there's no precincts reporting yet from the district, but sources say Madison Ald. Mark Clear has conceded to fellow Madison Ald. Lisa Subeck in the race for the 78th AD.

Have two other primary races in Milwaukee -- the 19th and 10th -- that haven't reported totals yet, but those races seem to be over, according to social media. Once we have official word, we'll let you know.

-- By Jason Smathers

 10:01 PM 

Gannon, Horlacher advance in Assembly primaries

The AP has projected Bob Gannon and Cory Horlacher will advance through three-candidate GOP primaries in the 58th and 33rd Assembly districts, respectively.

Neither will face a Dem opponent in the November election, meaning Gannon, of Slinger, is set to succeed retiring Rep. Pat Strachota and Horlacher, R-Elkhorn, will replace Rep. Steve Nass, who's running for Senate.

-- By Staff

 9:39 PM 

State reps. hold early leads in Senate bids

State Reps. Janis Ringhand and Janet Bewley have taken the lead in early returns from their respective state Senate primaries.

Ringhand, D-Evansville, had 63 percent of the vote with 19 percent of precincts reporting in the southern Wisconsin 15th District. Austin Scieszinski, a former aide to retiring Sen. Tim Cullen, had 21 percent while former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan had 15 percent.

Meanwhile, in the northern 25th District, Bewley, D-Ashland, had 64 percent of the vote, well ahead of Tom Ratzlaff and Gary Kauther at 19 and 16 percent, respectively. The latest results had 16 percent of the vote in.

Meanwhile, in the 17th Senate District, Ernie Wittwer led Pat Bomhack 55-45 with 21 percent of the vote in. The winner would face state Rep. Howard Marklein in the southwestern Wisconsin seat held by longtime GOP Sen. Dale Schultz.

-- By Staff

 9:27 PM 

Wanggaard declares victory

Former state Sen. Van Wanggaard has declared victory in the GOP primary as he seeks to win back the seat he lost in a 2012 recall election, his campaign said.

Wanggaard campaign aide Scott Kelly said Jonathan Steitz had not yet conceded.

-- By JR Ross

 9:18 PM 

'Segway' Ryan loses his bid against Ryan, Zerban cruising over Kaleka

Consistent capitol protester Segway Jeremy Ryan has lost his bid against U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

Jeremy Ryan, who ran as a Republican despite his leftist politics, only had only seven percent of the vote to Ryan's 93 percent of the vote, with 13 percent reporting. The AP has already called the race for the incumbent Janesville congressman.

On the other side of the 1st CD race, the Dem primary looks like its solidly in the hands of Rob Zerban, who ran against Ryan in 2012 as well. Zerban has 84 percent to the vote to Amar Kaleka's 16 percent with 14 percent of the precincts reporting in that district.

Meanwhile, not too much to report so far from the 4th CD race between incumbent U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and felon and former state Sen. Gary George -- Moore has 70 percent to George's 30 percent with 7 percent of the precincts reporting.

 -- By Jason Smathers

 9:04 PM 

Happ doing well in Dane County

Jefferson County DA Susan Happ is doing well in Dane County so far.

With 30 percent of the vote in, Happ was pulling just more than 50 percent of the vote, while Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne was at 27.4 percent and state Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee was at 22.5 percent.

One question insiders had going into Tuesday was whether Happ could do well in Dane County to help negate Richards' base in Milwaukee County. Ozanne's campaign has floundered, but some wondered if his name ID would help him pull enough votes that it would hurt Happ's chances.

-- By JR Ross

 8:55 PM 

Wanggaard has commanding lead on Steitz in 21st SD GOP primary

Former state Sen. Van Wanggaard has a commanding lead over Jonathan Steitz for the GOP nomination in the 21st SD, according to Wanggaard's campaign.

Numbers from the campaign put Wanggaard up 7,137 to 2,598 with about half of the vote in.

That's in line with numbers posted at the Kenosha County Clerk's website. With 12 of the 20 precincts in for the county, Wanggaard was leading 1,934 to 1,264. 

The district covers western Kenosha and Racine counties.

The winner of the GOP nomination will be heavily favored to win the seat in November.

-- By JR Ross

 8:42 PM 

AP declares Burke winner in Dem guv primary

The Associated Press projects former Trek Bicycle exec Mary Burke will win the Dem nomination for guv.

With 4 percent of the vote in, Burke was leading state Rep. Brett Hulsey 85 percent to 1 percent.

Burke becomes the first woman in Wisconsin history to win a major party's nomination for guv.

Burke released a statement following the AP's call:

"Tonight we are one step closer to the new direction our state needs. Under Governor Walker we rank dead last, 10th out of ten states in the Midwest, in private sector job growth. Wisconsin must do better than that, and with my jobs plan, Invest for Success, which is based on my experience in the private sector, we will. My commitment to the people of our great state is simple - I will be a governor who works for you and puts common sense problem solving ahead of the politics that have divided our state. I am truly honored by the trust placed in me by Wisconsin voters and look forward to continuing to earn the support of Republicans, independents and Democrats alike over the next 84 days."

Burke did not have an Election Night party planned after campaigning today in northcentral Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker was scheduled to address supporters tonight at a party in Waukesha.

-- By Staff

 8:28 PM 

Grothman, Happ start with early leads in first numbers

We only have the first few numbers trickling in for our major races tonight, but the first precincts give state Sen. Glenn Grothman the advantage in the 6th CD, while Jefferson County DA Susan Happ leads on the earliest Dem AG returns.

With 5 percent reporting in the 6th Congressional District, Grothman has 48 percent of the vote to state Sen. Joe Leibham's 26 percent and state Rep. Duey Stroebel's 23 percent.

Happ, meanwhile, has 65 percent of the vote to state Rep. Jon Richards' 25 percent and Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne's 10 percent.

But, as I said -- these are the earliest numbers out there. Keep watching.

-- By Jason Smathers

 6:02 PM 

GOP using primary as dry run for November, business as usual today for Dems

The state GOP said it was using today's primary as a dry run for its turnout operation ahead of the November election.

The state Dem Party, though, said it was just doing its normal voter contacts ahead of today's vote.

Dem spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said with so many competitive primaries in the ballot for Dems, the party focused on standard voter contacts, including a day of action over the weekend. That include 50,00 voter contacts combined from doors and phone calls.

"What we're working toward is November," she said.

State GOP spokesman Jesse Dougherty said the party is using hundreds of volunteers at polling places around the state to test its turnout operation for November. That includes collecting information from the polls, phones and doors to identify GOP voters who had not yet cast ballots and contacting them.

"The Republican Party of Wisconsin is out in force across the state today, performing a full-scale Election Day dry run with hundreds of volunteers at polling places, knocking on doors, and making phone calls as we develop the unprecedented operation that will carry Republicans to victory in November," he said.

-- By JR Ross

 4:49 PM 

Pockets of heavier turnout around state, particularly in Milwaukee

Election officials around the state reported pockets of heavier turnout, particularly in Milwaukee, where there were several Assembly primaries on the ballot as well as the sheriff's contest.

GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said the agency had not heard of any significant problems with today's vote. He said the biggest issue that surfaced today was the usual confusion over crossover voting.

That was particularly true in Milwaukee County, where some voters wanted to cast their ballots in the GOP primary but then cross over and vote in the Dem primary for sheriff as well. Kennedy said some voters also wanted to vote in the GOP primary but then write in Clarke's name for the office, believing that would count toward his total in the Dem primary with Moews.

State law requires primary voters to only cast ballots in races for one party.

Kennedy, who spent the day observing the vote in the 6th CD, said the agency stressed that ahead of today's vote.

"That's probably the biggest one," Kennedy said of any problems he's heard about. "Otherwise, it's just a handful of issues.

The GAB projected 15 percent of the state's 4.4 million eligible voters -- about 660,000 -- would turn out today. 

City of Milwaukee Election Commissioner Neil Albrecht said he expects turnout to be around 20 percent citywide with higher numbers in the open Assembly districts with Dem primaries.

There, he said, turnout could be up to 30 percent.

He said turnout for a normal fall primary can be as low as 10 percent or 12 percent. But the Assembly primaries, the 4th CD Dem primary and the sheriff's race are all helping to boost turnout.

He said one polling site lost power today, but was able to maintain full operations.

Otherwise, the biggest issue has been those unhappy they can't vote in the GOP primaries and then cast ballots in the Dem primary for sheriff as well.

"People are frustrated," he said. "Over and over again, we hear 'I want to vote for the candidate of my choice.'"

In Madison, home to Dem AG candidate Ismael Ozanne and one contested Assembly primary, turnout was 4.7 percent as of 11 a.m. 

Turnout in the 6th CD seems generally on track with the GAB estimate of 15 percent, election officials said.

Clerks in Fond du Lac and Mequon both said the turnout had been low, but that both expected the municipalities to get "around" the 15 percent mark by the time the polls close.

Port Washington, which is part of the newly drawn 6th CD, had a 13 percent turnout as of 2 p.m. today, with the clerk saying she expected to hit 20 percent by the close of polls at 8 p.m.

Sheboygan reported 11 percent turnout as of noon. The city of Portage in Columbia County was especially quiet, with only 4 percent turnout as of 10:30 a.m.

Most of the clerks attributed the initial low marks to rain in the area and the move of the fall primary to August. One clerk in Portage remarked that she heard several residents claim they were unaware of the date change from September. The primary date took effect in 2012 to give ample time for clerks to mail absentee ballots to military and overseas personnel.

Otherwise, the polls have been quiet in the area, with one only one problem occurring in Fond du Lac. Voters in some precincts were unable to scan their ballots due to what appeared to be errors in codings of the form. However, the clerk for the city said most precincts had backup ballots that did scan, allowing the problems to be cleared up relatively early.

-- By Staff

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

 7:15 AM 

Walker's new TV ad slams Burke, says he's creating jobs, moving Wisconsin forward

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign released a new TV ad today that says he is creating jobs and moving Wisconsin forward.

The spot opens with a shot of Dem rival Mary Burke and quotes her from an interview saying she supported Gov. Jim Doyle’s policies “entirely.”

The narrator then says when Doyle’s term ended, Wisconsin had lost 133,000 jobs, but once Walker took over, the state added more than 100,000 jobs.

The narrator says, “Here’s what Burke and Doyle left us with” as the ad shows a going out of business sign and lights going out in what appears to be a factory.

“Here’s the momentum that Walker’s creating,” the narrator says as the ad shows Walker shaking hands with a man in safety glasses while in a factory. “Scott Walker. Creating jobs. Moving Wisconsin forward.”

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

 2:31 PM 

Dem AG candidates disagree on OWI charges, emphasize different priorities in debate

Jefferson County DA Susan Happ emphasized during a debate today that all the Dem AG candidates are "good progressives," but she also disagreed with her competitors on criminalizing a first OWI offense.

Both Rep. Jon Richards and Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne said they support the criminalization of first offense OWIs to get drunk drivers off the road.

But Happ said a criminal penalty on the first OWI isn't going to deter someone who isn't thinking straight in the first place.

"At a time that we're talking about massive incarceration rates and imprisonment, I don't think we need to add another criminal charge on the books," Happ said.

Ozanne countered that 60 percent of injuries that result from drunk driving crashes involve first time offenders. That, combined with the fact that Wisconsin is the only state that treats the first offense as a civil violation, is reason enough to get tougher on Wisconsin roadways.

"Driving drunk is like firing a loaded gun in a crowd," Ozanne said. "You may not hit someone, but if you do, you're almost certain to cause great bodily harm or death. And it's time to start taking it seriously."

The debate was hosted by the University of Wisconsin Law School, broadcast by WORT radio and sponsored by WisPolitics.com.

The candidates generally agreed on key Dem issues: they would not defend the state's gay marriage ban or voter ID law and said they would fight for civil rights and women's rights issues.

But the priority areas differed between the candidates at times.

Richards re-emphasized his desire to create a position of the senior advocate to address cases of elder abuse and fraud. Ozanne responded that some of those problems would be better handled by fully funding local DAs offices since they have original jurisdiction over those cases.

In response, Richards said, "I think we can do both."

Ozanne also was the only candidate to propose a Division of Civil Rights, saying Wisconsinites need have a place to bring a complaint if they feel their rights have been violated.

The second half of the debate featured questions from law school students in the crowd.

Richards said he wouldn't yet support decriminalization of marijuana in Wisconsin, saying the "jury is still out" in Colorado and Washington state, which have legalized recreational marijuana.

"Until we more clearly see what's happening in those states, it's too early to go down that road," Richards said.

Ozanne said he would support bringing back the public intervenor, which used to serve as a watchdog for environmental regulation before it was abolished in 1995. However, he also said many of the issues the intervenor handled could be picked up by the AG's office as well.

Happ, when asked about her views on post-conviction relief for offenders, praised the expansion of expunging criminal records of those who have tried to turn around their lives following felony convictions, especially given Gov. Scott Walker's refusal to issue pardons.

"We want to make sure that people who come in contact with criminal justice system change their behavior and that they learn from it, but also that their lives aren't irreparably harmed for the future," Happ said.

-- By Jason Smathers

 12:19 PM 

Grothman ads say 'not just any Republican will do'

6th CD candidate Glenn Grothman's second round of TV and radio ads says too many lawmakers in both parties "are caving in to Obama and exploding our debt."

"But not Glenn Grothman," an announcer says in the spots -- titled, "Caving In" -- adding the GOP senator from Campbellsport has a record of "fighting liberals, cutting taxes, making it illegal to buy junk food with food stamps."

The TV spot opens with an announcer say it's "hard to tell Washington politicians apart" alongside footage of lawmakers with their faces blurred. A similar sequence -- this one appearing to show 6th CD rival Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan -- appears later the ad, with the announcer saying "not just any Republican will do."

Grothman's campaign said the TV ad will air in the Green Bay market and on cable.

-- By Staff

 10:00 AM 

New Stroebel ad focuses on his family

A new TV ad from 6th CD candidate Duey Stroebel features Stroebel's wife talking about why Duey decided to run for Congress.

The 30-second TV ad, titled "Future," starts with Laura Stroebel talking about how her husband has "always put our eight children first" as pictures of his family hunting and playing baseball appear on screen.

"But the record spending and debt created by the career politicians has us concerned about their future," Laura Stroebel says. "That's why Duey's running as a conservative outsider for Congress: because he wants to have the next generation have a future full of opportunity, not debt."

 -- By Jason Smathers

 6:19 AM 

Burke raised $502,063 during pre-primary period

Dem guv hopeful Mary Burke raised $502,063 over four weeks in July and had $1.7 million cash on hand at the close of the pre-primary period.

But she also had $195,979 in outstanding debts, according to her report filed with the GAB.

Burke spent $1.3 million between July 1 and July 28 and did not put any of her own money into the campaign during the period.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, August 4, 2014

 12:22 PM 

Happ touts tough stance on crime, promises to fight for women in new ad

Jefferson County DA Susan Happ says she'll fight for Wisconsin women in her new television ad.

The 30-second TV ad begins with Happ driving on what appears to be her Harley-Davidson motorcycle while a voice over talks about Happ's history of locking up "heroin dealers" "domestic abusers" and "murderers."

"I've never been afraid of a tough fight and I won't back down when it comes to protecting Wisconsin women," Happ says in the ad. "I'll stand up to those who think politicians, not women and their doctors, should make health care decisions. And I'll work to strengthen laws to prevent companies from paying women less than men for doing the same job."

-- By Jason Smathers

 10:00 AM 

Walker raised $1.2 million over four weeks

Gov. Scott Walker raised $1.2 million over a four-week period in July and finished the pre-primary period with $7.1 million in his warchest.

Walker's cover sheet shows he spent almost $1.7 million during the period, which covered July 1 through July 28.

Full reports are due to the GAB by the end of today.

-- By JR Ross

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