• WisPolitics


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

 12:47 PM 

Marquette Law poll finds Clinton lead over Trump narrowing, Senate race getting tighter

The latest Marquette University Law School Poll found Hillary Clinton’s edge over Donald Trump snapping back to pre-convention levels and a tightening in the U.S. Senate race.

The poll found Clinton leading Trump 42 to 37 percent among registered voters. Among likely voters, her edge was 45-42.

In early August, Clinton led 46-36 among registered voters and 52-37 among likely voters.

In the Senate campaign, Dem Russ Feingold was up on U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, 46-42 among registered voters. Earlier this month, that margin was 49-43 for Feingold.

Among likely voters, Feingold edged Johnson 48-45, compared to a 53-42 margin at the beginning of the month.

Poll director Charles Franklin noted the early August poll was conducted shortly after the Dem national convention and during a bad stretch for Trump.

“What’s striking is now we seem to be back pretty close to where we were in July, pre-convention,” Franklin said.

The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday. It included 803 registered voters, along with 650 likely voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 5 points for likely voters. Half of the interviews were conducted by cellphone and half over land lines.

Another poll released today, this one from Monmouth University, found Clinton leading Trump 43-38 among likely voters in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green candidate Jill Stein.

It also found Feingold up on Johnson 54-41.

That survey of 404 likely voters was conducted Saturday through Tuesday. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

-- By JR Ross


 8:00 AM 

Feingold promises to fight for equal pay for women, paid leave in latest TV ad

Dem Russ Feingold is going up with a new TV ad pledging to fight for equal pay for women and paid leave so parents can care for a sick family member.

The spot opens with Feingold walking across a soccer field with three girls as he asks them what they want to be when they grow up. Feingold also asks if they think they should be paid the same as boys. They answer affirmatively.

“I raised my two girls right here, and they agree with you and so do I,” he says.

Feingold then says a lot of women in Wisconsin make less than men doing the same job as he pledges to work for equal pay and paid leave.

The spot closes with Feingold telling the girls, “Discrimination against any women is flat-out wrong. What do think think of that?”

“Good call,” they answer.

-- By JR Ross



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

 8:39 AM 

Feingold, Johnson spar over national security

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's campaign is firing back at rival Russ Feingold after the Middleton Dem said the incumbent "has no plan to deal with" fighting terrorism. 

Feingold yesterday was responding to an announcement from a pro-Johnson super PAC that it would begin a new TV buy on Friday. Let America Work adviser Curt Anderson hinted it would deal with national security. 

Feingold said he has a specific strategy to fight terrorism, charging Johnson talks about the issue when there's a tragedy. 

Johnson spokesman Brian Reisinger countered the Homeland Security chair has, among other things, called for a for a coalition to destroy ISIS and is pushing "real solutions." 

"This is more of Senator Feingold saying one thing and doing another with our security - in his nearly two decades in Washington, he voted against authorizing our military and against allowing law enforcement to track lone wolf terrorists," Reisinger said. 

Johnson's campaign also took issue with Feingold's comments that Hillary Clinton has been "reliable and trustworthy" in his work with her while she was first lady, while both were in the Senate and while she was secretary of state. 

Johnson campaign manager Betsy Ankney said only a "fellow career politician" would think Clinton is trustworthy. 

See more on Feingold's comments and the super PAC buy in yesterday's PM Update: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=377221 


Friday, August 26, 2016

 5:28 PM 

WISN, Marquette Law to host Oct. 18 Johnson, Feingold debate

Milwaukee's WISN 12 and Marquette University Law School are to host an Oct. 18 live televised debate between Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

The debate is to be held from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Eckstein Hall at Marquette University
Law School.

The debate will be broadcast on WISN and will be live-streamed on wisn.com and the station's mobile app. It will also air statewide on WBAY, WKOW, WAOW, WQOW and WXOW.

For more information: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/160826WISN.pdf


 4:48 PM 

Appeals court rejects full court review in two election law cases

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected requests by the ACLU and One Wisconsin Institute for full court review in two voting law cases.

The state Department of Justice today hailed the ruling rejecting the en banc, or full court, reviews.

“The Seventh Circuit’s order denying the plaintiffs’ en banc petitions is a significant victory for the people of Wisconsin and ensures that Voter ID will be in place for the upcoming election in November,” DOJ spokeswoman Rebecca Ballweg said in an email.

In the ACLU case, a three-judge 7th Circuit panel had granted the state’s request to stay federal Judge Lynn Adelman’s order creating a process that would let voters who lack an ID fill out an affidavit attesting to their identity in order to cast ballots this fall. The ACLU then sought full court review.

The court had previously noted current rules let those who apply for a free ID through the state receive a temporary receipt so they can vote while their application is pending. The court today rejected the en banc request.

Sean Young, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU, said the group is still considering its options, but he slammed how the state has handled issuing IDs in the past.

“Two trial courts have found that the DMV has failed over the last five years to issue IDs to vulnerable voters,” he said, “and there is no reason to think that they will be able to do so now.”

In the One Wisconsin Institute case, federal Judge James Peterson overturned several GOP-backed election laws. A panel of three GOP-appointed judges from the 7th Circuit then rejected the state’s request for an emergency stay.

The laws Peterson struck down include restrictions on early voting, an extension of residency requirements to 28 days and the prevention of municipal clerks from sending absentee ballots by fax or email. But Peterson also put on hold until after the elections a ruling that the state overhaul its petition process for those who don't have a valid ID.

But One Wisconsin appealed Peterson’s ruling. And the group sought en banc for that appeal, which the court today denied.

One Wisconsin Now spokesman Mike Browne said the group is “pleased the victories we won” in federal court striking down several election laws will stand for the November elections.

See the decision

-- By Chris Thompson


Thursday, August 25, 2016

 8:40 AM 

Trump campaign announces Wisconsin Women for Trump Coalition

Donald Trump's campaign Wednesday rolled out its Wisconsin Women for Trump Coalition, with one leader saying she won't be "distracted" by comments from the GOP nominee that some perceive as sexist.

"I trust Donald Trump to put America first," said Sue Lynch, a La Crosse resident who was president of the National Federation of Republican Women.

Lynch talked to reporters Wednesday about the coalition, which includes former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow and state Sens. Alberta Darling and Mary Lazich. Lynch slammed Dem nominee Hillary Clinton as someone who "continues to lie to the American people."

That's why, Lynch said, young girls shouldn't want her to be the first female president.

"It isn't about gender," she said. "It's about the context of what they're talking about, and continually, Hillary Clinton has demonstrated time and time again lie after lie on these emails and her role in Benghazi. ... I don't think she's a role model at all."

The coalition also included two women who were involved in a John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker's office while he was Milwaukee County executive. Rose Ann Dieck got immunity in the probe, while Darlene Wink got probation for campaigning on county time.

The list, though, didn't include Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Lynch said Kleefisch is "on board" and said they're still working on adding more names to the list.

"We wanted to get this coalition kicked off so people know that women are supporting Mr. Trump in the state of Wisconsin, and I fully hope the next time the list comes out we have a more complete list," she said.

Kleefisch's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 9:14 AM 

GOP polling firm finds Gallagher with a 16-point lead

A new poll paid for by Mike Gallagher's campaign finds he has a 16-point lead over Outagamie County Exec Tom Nelson in the 8th CD race.

The Public Opinion Strategies poll of 400 likely voters finds 52 percent support Gallagher, a former U.S. Senate aide and Marine. Nelson, a former Dem state rep, got the backing of 36 percent of voters.

The poll also found 83 percent of voters have heard of Gallagher, while 69 percent of voters said they’ve heard of Nelson. Gallagher’s favorable-unfavorable ratio was 43-13, while Nelson’s was 28-16.

“Clearly, the GOP primary campaign left Mike Gallagher well positioned to run a successful general election campaign,” the GOP polling firm wrote in a memo to Gallagher’s campaign and the NRCC.

The poll also found GOP nominee Donald Trump led former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 8th CD. Trump had 40 percent of voters backing him, while Clinton had 37 percent.

And while Nelson was up in the district, he trailed the generic Republican candidate, who would have a 47 percent to 41 percent advantage.

The poll did live interviews and included people with cellphones. The margin of error was +/- 4.9 percent.

See the poll memo

-- By Polo Rocha

Editor's note: This post has been updated.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

 5:22 PM 

State won't ask U.S. Supreme Court to stay election law ruling

The state’s Department of Justice won’t ask the U.S. Supreme Court to place an emergency stay on a judge’s ruling overturning several GOP-backed election laws, according to a DOJ spokesman.

The DOJ suffered a loss in court yesterday when an appeals court panel of three GOP-appointed judges decided to keep those laws in place, for now. The state was looking to reinstate those laws ahead of the November elections after federal Judge James Peterson struck them down last month.

But DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos said the state won’t ask the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay.

“After reviewing the Seventh Circuit’s order denying our motion to stay the district court’s decision in One Wisconsin,” he said in an email, “the Attorney General has decided not to ask the Supreme Court for a stay.”

The laws Peterson struck down include restrictions on early voting, an extension of residency requirements to 28 days and the prevention of municipal clerks from sending absentee ballots by fax or email.

The state had first asked Peterson to reinstate those laws. Peterson declined to do so, though he did put on hold until after the elections a requirement that the state overhaul its petition process for those who don’t have a valid ID.

The state then turned to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the three-judge panel yesterday decided through a one-page ruling that it was denying the state’s request for an emergency stay.


Monday, August 22, 2016

 6:18 PM 

Appeals court rejects state’s emergency stay request in voting laws case

The state’s Department of Justice is deciding whether it will appeal a ruling today that sided with those who challenged several GOP-backed voting laws.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the state’s request for an emergency stay of Judge James Peterson ruling last month, which struck down several laws that included restrictions on early voting.

The panel of three GOP-appointed judges didn’t elaborate on why they were rejecting the state's request in their one-page order.

DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos said the agency is reviewing the order and “determining our next course of option.”

Peterson recently rejected the state's request to reinstate the series of election laws he had overturned. But he did put on hold his order for Wisconsin to fundamentally change by November the process letting those who lack the required documentation for an ID get one.

The state then turned to the 7th Circuit, seeking a stay on the rest of Peterson's ruling that struck down several election laws, including one that expanded the state’s residency requirements and another that prohibited expired student ID cards as valid IDs for voting.

See the order.


 9:33 AM 

Walker continues to pay down debt from presidential bid

Gov. Scott Walker cut down the debt from his failed presidential bid to $672,556 last month, according to his latest FEC filing.

The guv paid off nearly $70,000 in debt last month, including paying off a $10,000 debt with Chicago-based BKZ Consulting Inc.

He brought in $116,129 in July, about $30,000 less than he raised in June. Roughly $66,400 of that money came from Granite Lists, which rents out donor lists, and $3,000 came from two committees tied to U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, an Illinois Republican.

Walker spent $76,588 last month, ending the period with $118,493 in the bank.



Thursday, August 18, 2016

 2:13 PM 

Johnson downplays consultant's departure

MILWAUKEE -- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson today sought to downplay the departure of consultant Brad Todd, who had been working on the Oshkosh Republican's media strategy and polling.

Politico Pro first reported the split, citing two GOP sources. The report did not detail why.

Johnson has largely trailed Dem Russ Feingold in polling and is considered one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents in the country. The latest Marquette University Law School Poll had Feingold leading Johnson 49 percent to 43 percent among registered voters and 53-42 among likely voters.

Asked why Todd left, Johnson, who appeared at a WisPolitics.com luncheon today, noted his campaign hired consultants Terry Sullivan and Alex Conant, both of whom worked on Marco Rubio's presidential bid. 

The campaign announced a little more than a week ago that both had come on board. Conant specializes in communication and media, while Sullivan was executive director of Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC before working on the senator’s presidential campaign.

“I'm a business guy. [You] try and attract more talent and add to your team,” Johnson said.

-- By David Wise


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

 10:36 PM 

Trump appeals to African-Americans who want different, better future during West Bend rally

WEST BEND -- Donald Trump Tuesday urged African-Americans who “want a different and much better future” to back his campaign, citing unrest in Milwaukee and saying the Dem Party has failed them.

Trump, who has struggled badly with African-American voters in a string of polls, charged Dem policies have resulted in more crime, more broken homes and more poverty.

"I'm asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different and much better future," Trump said.

He also charged Hillary Clinton is against the police.

"Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police. Believe me," Trump said. "Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society ... share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee and many other places within our country."

Trump repeatedly addressed problems “here in Milwaukee” while speaking to a crowd about 35 miles north of the city, which saw violent protests over the weekend following a police shooting. Trump, who had the support of just 1 percent of black voters in some recent national polls, said the main victims are the African-Americans who live in the community.

Trump said the unrest represents an "assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and to live in peace.

"Law and order must be restored."

Trump called for an end to "the war on our police."

"The war on our police must end and it must end now," Trump said to loud applause. "The war on police is a war on all decent citizens who want to be able to live and work and send their kids to school in safety."

Trump pointed to rising violent crime in Milwaukee, failing schools, high poverty, the loss of manufacturing jobs and high African-American male unemployment.

"To every voter in Milwaukee, to every voter living in the inner city, or every forgotten stretch of our society, I'm running to offer you a much better future, a much better job and a much higher wage," Trump said.

Trump started his visit to Wisconsin, his second since the national convention, in La Crosse for a fundraiser and a series of interviews with local media. He then did several stops in Milwaukee, including a fundraiser and an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. That interview was originally supposed to air Tuesday night, but Fox instead carried Trump’s rally.

The event in West Bend began at 7:30 p.m. with speeches from several GOP elected officials. There was then a 45-minute break until Trump began speaking after 9 p.m., when Hannity’s show normally airs in the Milwaukee market.

While they waited in the sweltering and packed Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center, people waived each other with campaign signs.

Dems knocked Trump in La Crosse and Milwaukee as he visited both cities. State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, said the choice this fall is not between a Dem and a Republican, “but between a responsible leader who will keep us safe, and a volatile man who threatens our security." In Milwaukee, Randy Bryce, Veterans Caucus chair for the state Dem Party, said Trump does not show respect for the nation’s veterans and their families.

“It further demonstrates how unfit his is to lead the United States," Bryce said.

Trump also rolled out a new pledge to require senior officials in his administration to sign an agreement banning them from accepting speaking fees from a corporation that employs a registered lobbyist. The ban, which would last five years, would cover foreign governments as well.

He was introduced by Gov. Scott Walker, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Before the main program, GOP U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy and Glenn Grothman, along with state Reps. Bob Gannon and Dan Knodl addressed the crowd to chants of "USA," "lock her up" and "build that wall."

Walker, who briefly shared the stage with Trump Tuesday, was originally expected to miss the rally due to a planned trip to Colorado to participate in a panel discussion and attend the RGA's quarterly meeting. But he canceled that trip amid the violence in Milwaukee.

Walker did not attend Trump's Aug. 5 rally in Green Bay while the guv was meeting with flooding victims in northern Wisconsin. But Tuesday, he attended a fundraiser for the GOP presidential nominee, the Hannity interview and the rally.

Walker said Clinton and Trump are the two choices before voters, and knocked Clinton over a host of issues, declaring her "unfit" to serve as president.

-- By David Wise




 12:56 PM 

Milwaukee Rotarians given heads-up on Trump stop at War Memorial

Milwaukee Rotarians were asked to arrive early for today's luncheon and leave promptly because GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is visiting the War Memorial Center, where the group is meeting.

An email provided to WisPolitics.com warns members the Secret Service will "have a strong presence in the building" and asked that all Rotarians leave by 1:30 p.m. The group canceled its meetings after today's luncheon.

Trump had several stops planned in the Milwaukee area today, including an afternoon fundraiser at the Pfister Hotel, an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity and a rally at the Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center.

Trump's campaign declined comment on whether he also would stop at the War Memorial.

Gov. Scott Walker originally planned to be in Colorado this week for a panel discussion and the RGA's quarterly meeting, but canceled the trip amid the unrest in Milwaukee. His campaign said the guv would attend Trump's fundraiser, the interview at the Pabst Theater and the rally in West Bend.

-- By JR Ross


Monday, August 15, 2016

 9:46 AM 

Walker, Ryan, Johnson to again miss Trump rally

Gov. Scott Walker, Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson will again miss a Donald Trump Rally in Wisconsin due to other commitments.

Trump will be at the Washington County Fair & Conference Center tomorrow night for a rally. He also has plans for an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater.

It's Trump's second trip to the state since he secured the GOP nomination. The trio of top state Republicans also missed his previous appearance in Green Bay on Aug. 5, though Walker has appeared with Trump running mate Mike Pence at two of his solo visits.

Walker will be in Colorado, where he's attending the Republican Governors Association's quarterly meeting. He's also scheduled to serve on a panel tomorrow at the Aspen Institute entitled "A States'-Eye View of America in 2016 and Beyond."

Meanwhile, the campaigns of Johnson and Ryan said they had prior commitments. Johnson will be on the campaign trail, while the speaker will be on a family trip.

-- By JR Ross


Friday, August 12, 2016

 9:32 PM 

Trump plans Tuesday rally in West Bend, one-hour interview with Hannity in Milwaukee

Donald Trump has a rally planned Tuesday night in West Bend.

He'll also do a one-hour interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity in Milwaukee prior to the rally.

And he'll be in La Crosse that day as well.

Trump posted details of the West Bend event at his website. It's planned for the Ziegler Building at the Washington County Fair & Conference Center. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. rally.

The interview with Hannity, meanwhile is slated for 6 p.m. at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater, according to a post on Eventbrite. Doors open at 3 p.m., and seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. According to the post, the event is private event hosted by Fox News and closed to the media.

Trump's campaign said he will have fundraisers in La Crosse and Milwaukee Tuesday as well, along with a drop-in event in La Crosse. Details of that were still being finalized, his campaign said.

It will be Trump's second day in Wisconsin post-convention. He and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence were in Green Bay Aug. 5 for a rally.

-- By JR Ross


 4:23 PM 

State asks 7th Circuit to stay judge's ruling on election laws

The state's Department of Justice is asking the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to place an emergency stay on a federal judge's ruling overhauling several election laws.

The DOJ had originally asked Judge James Peterson to reinstate the laws, but Peterson refused that request yesterday. He did, though, agree that the portion of his order requiring changes to the state's voter ID petition process can be on hold until after the November elections.

The DOJ is asking for a stay on Peterson's ruling, which blocked several election laws. Those measures include:

*restrictions on how many hours municipalities can offer in-person absentee voting ahead of an election and the restriction that municipalities can only offer it at one site.

*expanding to 28 days from 10 days the residency requirement before being able to register to vote.

*preventing municipal clerks from sending absentee ballots by fax or email.

*excluding expired student ID cards from the list of acceptable IDs to vote.

-- By Staff


 3:59 PM 

Elections Commission pegs primary turnout at 13 percent

About 13 percent of voting-age adults turned out for Tuesday's primary, the Elections Commission said today.

Heading into the primary, the commission had predicted turnout would be about 16 percent.

The commission tallied about 572,000 votes in the statewide U.S. Senate primaries, 12.8 percent of the state's 2016 voting-age population of almost 4.5 million.

Going back to 1960, the highest turnout for a fall partisan primary was September 1964, when it was 27.9 percent. 

In 2014, 14.46 percent of the voting-age population hit the polls for the August primary.

-- By Staff


Thursday, August 11, 2016

 10:23 PM 

Federal court largely rejects state's request to reinstate series of election laws

A federal judge has rejected the state’s request reinstate a series of election laws, including restrictions on early voting hours.

But Judge James Peterson agreed with the state on one point, putting on hold his order for Wisconsin to fundamentally reform by the next election the process those who lack the required documentation for an ID can use in an attempt to get one.

Peterson found the emergency measures the state already has for those seeking an ID are acceptable for the November election. Those measures allow applicants to obtain a temporary ID for 60 days that allows them to vote. That can be renewed up to 180 days before the petitioner has to provide additional information to keep the petition pending.

Still, Peterson ruled Thursday the state must address that process, though it can wait until after the election.

“To be clear: the state must reform the IDPP because the current process prevents some qualified electors from getting acceptable IDs, and even successful petitioners must often endure undue burdens before getting those IDs,” Peterson ruled.

AG Brad Schimel focused on Peterson’s decision to stay his ruling on the appeal process for the voter ID law. In a separate case earlier this week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals put on hold a different federal judge’s ruling that would have created an affidavit process for those who don’t have an ID so they could vote.

“For the second time in three days, a court has granted our motion for stay in a case challenging Wisconsin’s voter ID laws and we are very pleased with this Court’s decision to allow this law to be in effect for the November 2016 election,” Schimel said. “I will continue to fight for the State of Wisconsin and to defend its laws before the courts.”

The state DOJ argued Peterson’s decision knocking out a series of laws would require “a vast overhaul of state election procedures.” But Peterson called that “an exaggeration,” adding the state had not made a strong case it would likely succeed on the merits of its appeal and “the court is not persuaded that any aspect of its decision was wrong.”

Peterson rejected the state’s request to put on hold his injunction preventing the state from enforcing a series of election laws. That includes:

*restrictions on how many hours municipalities can offer in-person absentee voting ahead of an election and the restriction that municipalities can only offer it at one site.

*expanding to 28 days from 10 days the residency requirement before being able to register to vote.

*preventing municipal clerks from sending absentee ballots by fax or email.

*excluding expired student ID cards from the list of acceptable IDs to vote.

The ruling means those laws remain on hold.

“The enjoined provisions, regardless of the theory under which the court has invalidated them, have one thing in common: they impede Wisconsin citizens from voting,” Peterson ruled.

One Wisconsin Institute filed the challenge to the election laws, and Executive Director Scot Ross said, "We will let the court's decision speak for itself when it wrote, 'Defendants have not made a strong showing that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their appeal: the court is not persuaded that any aspect of its decision was wrong.'"

-- By JR Ross

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect the decision was issued by Peterson.


 9:22 PM 

Walker, Pence hit Obama during Milwaukee event

MILWAUKEE -- GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, introduced by Gov. Scott Walker, said the guv’s leadership, not that of President Barack Obama, is responsible for economic gains in Wisconsin.

“Whatever success we’ve enjoyed in this state and in my home state has been in spite of the policies of this administration, not because of it,” Pence said to the crowd at the downtown Hilton.

Walker reciprocated praise for Pence, saying the Indiana governor has “done a tremendous job” in his state through improvements to the economy and an expansion of school choice. He slammed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, calling her “unfit to be president.”

But Walker only briefly mentioned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying Trump and Pence are the team that will “make America great again.” It was Walker's second appearance with Pence in southeastern Wisconsin since the Republican convention; Walker did not attend the Trump-Pence rally in Green Bay last week.

“Here in Wisconsin and across this country we need leadership that’s not going to continue the ‘go along to get along’ that we see in Washington,” Walker said. “For the hardworking people of this state and this country, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are exactly the team to do that.”

-- By Samantha Nash


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

 12:49 PM 

MU Law poll shows Clinton with a double-digit lead over Trump

Hillary Clinton opened up a double-digit lead on Donald Trump in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll, which was conducted after both national conventions and in the days after the GOP nominee initially declined to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Dem Russ Feingold also continued to lead U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in their race.

Among registered voters, Clinton led 46 to 36 percent, up from 43-37 in July. Among likely voters, Clinton’s lead jumped to 52-37, compared to 45-41 a month ago.

Poll director Charles Franklin noted the 15-point margin was a “wow” but suggested it was in line with what should be expected considering the national environment. He said national polls have typically shown Clinton leading Trump by 7 or 8 points in the past week.

In 2008, Barack Obama won nationally by 7 points and Wisconsin by 14.

“If the national number is about 7-8, I’m fine with this 15 from a technical point of view, that this does seem in line with the kind of margin we saw here in ’08,” Franklin said. “Now, it’s a wide open question what happens here between now and November.”

Adding Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green candidate Jill Stein to the mix did not change Clinton’s lead much.

Among registered voters, it was 42-33 for Clinton, with Johnson at 10 and Stein at 4. Among likely voters, it was 47-34 for the Dem nominee with Johnson at 9 and Stein at 3.

In the Senate race, Feingold led Johnson among registered voters 49-43 compared to 48-41 a month ago. Among likely voters, Feingold’s lead jumped to 53-42, compared to 49-44 last month.

With Libertarian Phil Anderson added in, it was Feingold 47-38 with registered voters and Anderson at 7 percent. Among likely voters, it was 50-40 with Anderson at 7.

The poll of 805 registered voters was conducted Thursday through Sunday. In an interview with the Washington Post earlier in the week, Trump said he was not quite ready to support Ryan, R-Janesville. He later endorsed Ryan during a Friday rally in Green Bay.

That sample of registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points. The poll included 683 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points for that group. The interviews were split equally between land lines and cellphones.

-- By JR Ross


 10:53 AM 

Federal appeals court stays ruling creating affidavit process to vote in November

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed a federal judge's decision that would have created for the November election an affidavit process allowing those who have trouble obtaining an ID to still cast ballots.

The three-judge panel concluded in Wednesday's order "both that the district court’s decision is likely to be reversed on appeal and that disruption of the state’s electoral system in the interim will cause irreparable injury."

Wisconsin Republicans in 2011 passed a voter ID law that has largely been tied up in the courts since and only in effect for a handful of elections, including Tuesday's primary. The 7th Circuit originally upheld the law. But it also later ruled that those who are eligible to vote but cannot get a qualifying ID with "reasonable effort" are entitled to an accommodation allowing them to cast a ballot.

It sent the case back to U.S. Judge Lynn Adelman, who ordered the state create an affidavit process. His order would have allowed voters to declare who they are while allowing them to cite a number of reasons for not being able to obtain an ID, including: lack of transportation; lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain photo ID; and disability or illness. He also ordered that no one could challenge the sufficiency of the reason given for failing to obtain an ID.

The 7th Circuit found rather than attempting to identify voters who had made a reasonable effort to get an ID, Adelman issued an injunction permitting any registered voter to declare they met the standard "even if the voter has never tried to secure one, and even if by objective standards the effort needed would be reasonable (and would succeed)."

The court found the state DOJ, which is appealing Adelman's ruling, is likely to succeed on appeal because Adelman failed to "distinguish genuine difficulties" in getting an ID from "any given voter’s unwillingness to make the effort that the Supreme Court has held that a state can require."

Adelman's ruling was one of two federal judges issued ordering the state to make accommodations for those who have trouble obtaining a required ID.

The DOJ also has requested an emergency stay of a ruling by James Peterson in Madison. He took issue with the process Wisconsin created to let those without an ID obtain a temporary receipt that lets them vote while they apply for the card.

Under the state process, those applying receive a receipt that can be renewed. Peterson, though, ordered the state give those applicants a permanent ID they can lose only if the state determines they are ineligible to vote.

AG Brad Schimel praised the 7th Circuit's decision in the Adelman case, vowing, "I will continue to represent the State of Wisconsin and defend the rule of law until the case is resolved.”

Gov. Scott Walker also chimed in: "Voters in Wisconsin support voter ID, and our administration will continue to work to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat."

-- By JR Ross


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

 11:19 PM 

Nehlen insists campaign defied expectations

JANESVILLE – Paul Nehlen, who pulled just 16 percent of the vote in his challenge of House Speaker Paul Ryan, told supporters tonight he “defied everyone’s expectations for this campaign.”

Nehlen used his speech to take a series of shots at Ryan, with murmurs of angry assent from the crowd accompanying every sentence. 

A Ryan aide said Nehlen had not called the speaker as of shortly before midnight to congratulate him.

“We took on the leader of the world’s globalist movement,” Nehlen said. “When you take on Paul Ryan, you’re not just taking on Paul Ryan. You’re taking on the Chamber of Commerce. You’re taking on the Koch brothers. You’re taking on Wall Street. You’re taking on all of the transnational elites who will do anything to keep their speaker in Congress.”

Nehlen characterized Ryan as beholden to special interest groups, putting them before the needs of the people. He also blamed Republican leadership for contributing to the current economic state of Wisconsin as well as the lack of border security in America. 

“Our leaders, led by Ryan himself, don’t just do nothing. They aid and abet our economic destruction,” Nehlen said. 

Throughout Nehlen’s campaign, questions were raised about his support inside the 1st CD, which occupies Wisconsin’s southeastern corner, compared to out-of-state backers who were promoting his campaign.

At Nehlen’s gathering, Gahan Haskins, 61, of New York, said he came to Wisconsin to campaign for Nehlen and, like most of the other volunteers for the campaign, is a Trump supporter.

“Globalism is what people hate most about Ryan,” Haskins said.

The biggest applause came with a standing ovation and a “Nehlen” chant as he asked his supporters to continue to stand with him in the weeks and months to come. 

“Tonight is just the beginning,” Nehlen said without offering specifics.

-- See the full text of Nehlen's speech: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.Iml?Article=376147

-- By Alex Moe



 11:08 PM 

AP: Tusler takes 3rd AD primary

Ron Tusler handily dispatched the three other GOP candidates in the primary race for the open 3rd AD, The Associated Press is projecting.

With all precincts reporting, Tusler, of Appleton, had 54.7 percent, or 2,598 votes. His nearest competition, Bradley Schinke, of Combined Locks, pulled in 25.7 percent, or 1,220 votes. They were followed by Christopher Schaefer, of Kimberly, with 15.5 percent, or 737 votes, and Josh Young, of Combined Locks, with 4.2 percent, or 197 votes.

According to reports, both Tusler and Schaefer faced questions about their residency in the district. Those reports showed that neither owns property in the 3rd AD.

Tusler advances to the November general election to face Dem Sharon M. Wasileski, who was unopposed in the primary.

-- By Chris Thompson


 11:08 PM 

Other races of note

Here are some results from other legislative primaries of note Tuesday:

*In the open 29th AD to replace Rep. John Murtha, R-Baldwin:

Republican Rob Stafsholt beat Vince Trudell with 73.6 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns. He will face Scottie Ard, who won the Dem primary with 51.3 percent.

*In the open 30th AD to replace Rep. Dean Knudson, R-Hudson:

Republican Shannon Zimmerman won the GOP primary over Paul Berning with 58 percent of the vote. Zimmerman will face Dem Scott Nelson.

*In the 50th AD:

Dem Art Shrader had 71 percent of the vote with 81 percent of precincts in, pushing him on top in his primary with Tom Crofton. Shrader will advance to the November election to face Rep. Ed Brooks, R-Reedsburg.

*In the open 67th AD to replace Rep. Tom Larson, R- Colfax:

Rob Summerfield won a four-way GOP primary with 40.3 percent of the vote. He will face Dem Dennis Hunt, who beat Denny Doughty with 70 percent of the vote.

-- By JR Ross


 10:54 PM 

Anderson projected to beat Arata-Fratta in 47th AD Dem primary

Jimmy Anderson is projected to win the three-way 47th AD Dem primary to replace Rep. Robb Kahl, D-Monona.

Anderson, a lawyer who was paralyzed after a car accident involving a drunken driver, pulled in 44.6 percent of the vote, while Fitchburg Ald. Julia Arata-Fratta got support from 38.4 percent of voters, according to unofficial results gathered by The Associated Press. Businessman Tony Hartmann came in third with 16.9 percent of the vote.

Anderson had announced his candidacy while Kahl was still weighing a re-election bid, and Kahl’s campaign donated $1,000 to Arata-Fratta. The Construction Trades Coalition also ran a radio ad buy slamming Anderson in the run-up to the primary.

-- By Polo Rocha


 10:49 PM 

AP projects Shilling, Kapanke advance

Incumbent Dem Sen. Jennifer Shilling and GOP challenger Dan Kapanke are headed for a rematch in the 32nd SD, based on projections from The Associated Press.

Shilling and Kapanke, both of La Crosse, easily handled their primary challengers, with Shilling drawing 91.4 percent, or 9,606 votes, and Kapanke landing 90.7 percent, or 4,788 votes, with 92.3 percent of precincts reporting.

In November, the two will square off for the second time. Shilling unseated Kapanke in a 2011 recall vote.

-- By Chris Thompson


 10:40 PM 

Barnes: Disappointed in results, proud of effort

State Rep. Mandela Barnes, who lost his primary challenge of state Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said he was disappointed with the results but proud of his "efforts and accomplishments" during the campaign and his time in the Legislature.

“I have always said this campaign is not about me, but that it is about standing up for the values and priorities of our neighborhoods and families," Barnes said in a statement his campaign issued. "I would like to thank everyone who worked tirelessly during this campaign to promote a bold vision that gives our community a safe and secure future."

-- By JR Ross


 10:39 PM 

AP projects Wichgers victory in 83rd AD

Chuck Wichgers will emerge from a four-way GOP primary in the open 83rd AD, according to projections by The Associated Press.

Wichgers, of Muskego, drew 48.6 percent, or 4,074 votes, with 90.9 percent of precincts reporting. Steven Whittow, of Muskego, had 33.6 percent, or 2,812 votes; Karen Schuh, of Mukwonago, had 10.9 percent, or 913 votes; and Jordan Karweik, of Waterford, had 6.9 percent, or 576 votes.

The conservative Wisconsin Family Action PAC last week pulled its endorsement of Whittow, objecting to comments it said he made on his Facebook page. That included referring to "religious extremists" who were coming into the district to help Wichgers, the group said.

The four were vying to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Dave Craig, R-Big Bend, in his bid for the 28th SD seat. Wichgers will run unopposed in November.

 -- By Chris Thompson


 10:36 PM 

Subeck wins; all Dem lawmakers who faced primary challenges in position to win

Freshman Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, easily beat back a primary challenge from Jacob Wischmeier for her Madison Assembly seat.

With her win, all eight Dem members of the state Legislature who faced primary challengers Tuesday are in line to advance to the general election.

With 100 percent of precincts in, Subeck had 6,816 votes, or 85.3 percent, to 1,161, or 14.5 percent, for Wischmeier, according to results posted at the Dane County Clerk's site.

Other Dem state lawmakers who faced primary challenges include:

*Sen. Lena Taylor, of Milwaukee;

*Sen. Jennifer Shilling, of La Crosse;

*Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, of Milwaukee;

*Rep. Josh Zepnick, of Milwaukee;

*Rep. Leon Young, of Milwaukee;

*Rep. Christine Sinicki, of Milwaukee;

*and Rep. Sondy Pope, of Mt. Horeb.

-- By JR Ross


 10:24 PM 

Ryan 'humbled' by win, says latest Trump comments sound like 'joke gone bad'

JANESVILLE -- House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a news conference in his hometown tonight he was "humbled" by his primary victory and pledged to work hard to elect fellow Republicans this fall.

He also told reporters he had not had a chance to hear a comment today from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump that “the Second Amendment people” may be the only ones who can stop Hillary Clinton from appointing judges if she wins this fall. Some argued Trump was suggesting violence against his Dem opponent, a charge the GOP nominee pushed back on in follow-up comments.
"It sounds like just a joke gone bad," Ryan said, adding he hopes Trump clears it up quickly.

"You should never joke about something like that."

In sizing up his rout of Paul Nehlen, Ryan said the people of his district share his "desire for leadership that is inclusive, not divisive" and looks for "hope and not fear."

Ryan said many are upset and frustrated with Washington, D.C., and that in uncertain times it is easy to resort to division and prey on people's fears. While he said such an approach may sell in the short term, it doesn't last and, in the end, doesn't work.

Ryan contrasted that approach with the House GOP's "Better Way" agenda and predicted it would help the GOP in the fall.

"We will take this agenda before voters this fall, and I am sure they will reward our efforts," Ryan said.

Ryan also congratulated Mike Gallagher on his GOP primary win in the 8th CD, praising his service in the Marines and his national security credentials. Before Ryan spoke, his campaign sent a news release endorsing Gallagher.

Ryan declined to comment on statements directed at him from Nehlen during the primary.

"When you get to the end zone you act like you've been there before," Ryan said, adding that he had expected to do well in the primary.

"Desperate candidates do desperate things for attention," Ryan said. "I think that's what you saw here."

-- By David Wise


 10:23 PM 

Zepnick, Young building leads

Incumbent Milwaukee Reps. Josh Zepnick and Leon Young are hanging onto leads as the remaining precincts report for the Dem primary in their districts.

Zepnick has 53.2 percent, or 1,215 votes, while his challenger, Marisabel Cabrera, has 46.8 percent, or 1,069 votes, with 96.9 percent of precincts reporting in the 9th AD.

Young, meanwhile, is up to 48.1 percent, or 2,014 votes, with 93.5 percent of precincts reporting in his four-way Dem Primary for the 16th AD. Edgar Lin is at 37.8 percent, or 1,583 votes; Brandy Bond is at 9.3 percent, or 388 votes; and Stephen Jansen is at 4.9 percent, or 205 votes.

 -- By Chris Thompson


 10:14 PM 

Duffy easily beats back primary challenge in 7th CD

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy is projected to win his GOP primary for the 7th CD handily.

With almost all precincts reporting, the Weston Republican was leading with nearly 90 percent of the vote, while his challenger Donald Raihala had about 10 percent, according to unofficial election results gathered by The Associated Press.

Duffy would face Dem Mary Hoeft, a UW-Barron County professor who had about 81 percent of voters backing her in the Dem primary for the seat. Her opponent, Joel Lewis, drew support from about 19 percent of voters.

-- By Polo Rocha


 10:12 PM 

Vruwink wins 43rd AD Dem primary

Retired social studies teacher and coach Don Vruwink, of Milton, won the Dem primary for the 43rd AD and will be favored to replace state Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Milton.

Jorgensen opted against seeking re-election so he could run for Rock County register of deeds.

According to unofficial returns collected by The Associated Press, with 89 percent of precincts in, Vruwink had 2,973 votes, or 58 percent, to 2,140 votes, or 42 percent, for Anissa Welch, the mayor of Milton.

Vruwink, a cousin of former Dem state Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink, will face 22-year-old Allison Heitz, R-Whitewater, in the general election.

-- By JR Ross


 10:04 PM 

AP projects Ron Kind victory in 3rd CD Dem primary

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Kind will beat back a Dem primary challenge from Myron Buchholz, of Eau Claire, according to projections by The Associated Press.

With 53 percent of precincts reporting, the La Crosse Dem is at 81 percent, or 13,963 votes, while Buchholz is at 19 percent, or 3,232 votes.

With no Republican on the November ballot for the 3rd CD, Kind is all but assured to retain his congressional seat.

 -- By Chris Thompson


 10:04 PM 

Zamarripa beats back primary challenge, Fields poised to return to Assembly

Former Rep. Jason Fields is poised to return to the Assembly after beating Darrol Gibson in the Dem primary for the open 11th AD.

State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, meanwhile, beat back a primary challenge from Laura Manriquez in the fourth time the two candidates have squared off since 2010.

With 88 percent of the vote in, Fields had 2,355 votes, or 57 percent, to 1,755 votes, or 43 percent for Gibson.

Fields will be unopposed on the November ballot. 

The former lawmaker lost a 2012 primary to Mandela Barnes, who challenged Fields from the left. Barnes then left the seat this year to run for the state Senate. Fields initially did not file to run. But because Barnes failed to file his notice of noncandidacy with the state, it extended the deadline to file for the race, and Fields took advantage of that extra time.

The former lawmaker, who acknowledged his struggles with alcoholism and depression in announcing his bid, was backed by Leaders for a Better Community Inc. this summer. The group spent $3,581 on digital and TV ads supporting Fields, $500 on radio $143 on a print ad, according to a filling with the state.

Zamarripa first dispatched Manriquez in the Dem primary for the then-open seat in 2010, when Manriquez later announced a write-in bid for the November election. Zamarripa beat her again in the 2012 Dem primary, winning almost 67 percent of the vote, and in 2014, when she took more than 60 percent. Zamarripa also isn't the first Dem incumbent Manriquez has challenged; she took on then-Rep. Pedro Colon in the 2008 Dem primary and lost then, too. 

With 85 percent of the vote in, Zamarripa was at 64 percent of the vote.

-- By JR Ross


 9:52 PM 

Taylor: The voters rewarded the work

State Sen. Lena Taylor, who easily fended off a primary challenge from state Rep. Mandela Barnes, said voters “rewarded the work” in backing her Tuesday.

Taylor, D-Milwaukee, was first elected to the Assembly in a 2003 special election and won her Senate seat the following year. She made her experience a centerpiece of her campaign against Barnes, who is in his second term in the Assembly.

Taylor said her win wasn’t simply a matter of how long she’s been in office.

“People rewarded the work,” she said. “They want a public servant who serves, and they reward that.”

Some have viewed a string of Dem primaries in Milwaukee over the past few election cycles as a battle of progressive candidates vs. moderates who back school choice. Barnes knocked Taylor for her votes in favor of concealed carry and to impose the so-called Castle Doctrine, arguing those positions were out of step with the Dem base. 

Taylor, though, rejected the suggestion that she is not a progressive. She also shot down any suggestion there is a split in the Dem Party. 

“We’re about to get together and whip the (Donald) Trump so Hillary (Clinton) can win,” Taylor said. “We are off to the presidency. We have no time for no division, no divide, no nonsense.”

-- By JR Ross


 9:36 PM 

Nelson slams Gallagher for backing ‘bad trade agreements’

Outagamie County Exec. Tom Nelson is slamming Mike Gallagher, who’s projected to be the 8th CD Republican nominee, for supporting trade deals that have led to job losses in the district.

Nelson, who was unopposed in his Dem primary for the seat, released a statement on the race shortly after The Associated Press called the GOP primary for Gallagher, a former Marine and Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer.

Nelson said Gallagher worked for the “politicians who supported these bad deals” that have affected the manufacturing-heavy district. He said Gallagher would “stand with the multi-national corporations and special interests” that back such deals.

“While his TV ads may claim he’s ‘one of us,’ his position on trade makes it clear he’s not,” Nelson said.

Gallagher, meanwhile, picked up an endorsement from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, who said the 32-year-old is “part of the next generation of conservative leaders.”

“Mike’s knowledge and experience on national security issues will allow him to be a critical voice in the next Congress starting on his first day in office,” Ryan said. “Mike will help us advance solutions to the challenges we face and work tirelessly on behalf of all Wisconsinites -- that is why I am committed to doing all I can to help him win in November.”

Gov. Scott Walker also tweeted: "Congratulations to @MikeforWI, a proven conservative leader with the vision needed to move our country forward. #WI08"

And the state GOP slammed Nelson’s six years in the state Assembly, saying he “cozied up to the Democratic Party bosses by putting politics ahead of people.”

“In Madison, Nelson supported crushing tax increases all while wrecking the state’s budget for years to come,” WisGOP Executive Director Mike Duffey said. “If elected to Congress, he will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for Washington Democrats and will always look to put their priorities ahead of the voters in Northeastern Wisconsin.”

-- By Polo Rocha


 9:35 PM 

Chisholm, Ozanne in line to win Dem primaries

Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm and Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne, two key figures in John Doe II, are in line to win their Dem primaries.

With 95 percent of precincts in, Chisholm had 44,669 votes, or 65 percent, to 23,724, or 35 percent for Verona Swanigan.

Ozanne, meanwhile, had 31,891 votes, or 72.2 percent, to 12,239 votes, or 27.7 percent, for assistant DA Bob Jambois with 59.15 percent of the vote in, according to results posted at the Dane County website.

Chisholm launched John Doe I, which eventually snagged several aides and associates of then-Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker. That probe then led to John Doe II, which focused on coordination between Walker's campaign and conservative groups in the recall elections. Chisholm was targeted this summer by a group linked to conservative activist Eric O'Keefe, who was a target in John Doe II.

-- By JR Ross


 9:17 PM 

AP projects Crowley winner of 17th AD Dem primary

David Crowley has emerged as the winner of a three-way Dem primary for the 17th AD in Milwaukee, according The Associated Press projections based on unofficial results.

AP projected it with Crowley netting 57 percent of the vote, while Kim Burns drew 28 percent and Marcus Hart had 15 percent. The projection came in with about 91 percent of precincts reporting.

With no Republican on the November ballot for the 17th, Crowley is all but assured of a seat in the Assembly.

 -- By Chris Thompson


 9:11 PM 

AP projects Gallagher will beat Lasee in 8th CD primary

The Associated Press is projecting Mike Gallagher will win the 8th CD GOP primary to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble.

Gallagher, a former Marine and U.S. Senate staffer, had about 72 percent of the vote with about 20 percent of the vote in, according to unofficial returns collected by the AP. He’s topping state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, who had about 20 percent of the vote, and Terry McNulty, who had 8.3 percent.

Gallagher would face Outagamie County Exec. Tom Nelson, who was unopposed in the Dem primary.

-- By Staff


 9:10 PM 

Feyen wins GOP nomination in 18th SD

Fond du Lac County Chair Dan Feyen won the GOP nomination in the 18th SD over former pastor Mark Elliott.

According to unofficial returns collected by The Associated Press, Feyen had 5,215 votes, or 56 percent, to 4,097 votes, or 44 percent, for Elliott with all precincts reporting.

Elliott, who lost a bid for the Assembly in 2014, was hit by a TV ad campaign in the closing weeks of the campaign that accused him of wanting to raise taxes on others but failing to pay his property taxes. A GOP source pegged the buy at $170,000, which is unusual for a state Senate primary for an open seat.

Feyen said it's hard to tell how much of an effect the ad campaign made in his race, adding he believed his message of closing the skills gap and fixing the transportation fund resonated with voters.

Feyen said he will continue that message against Winnebago County Exec Mark Harris, who cruised in his Dem primary.

Feyen called him a "tax-and-spend liberal who's never met a tax hike he didn't like."

"I think that plays well in this district," Feyen said. "There are a lot of conservative people in this district that want conservative leadership."

Harris questioned Feyen's message, saying he has reduced county spending since becoming executive, cut the tax rate and slashed its debt in half.

"If they think that's a tax-and-spend, I think they better go back and take an economics class," he said.

The 18th SD, which includes the Oshkosh and Fond du Lac areas, is considered the most competitive state Senate race this fall.

-- By JR Ross

Editor's note: This post has been updated with reaction from Feyen and Harris.


 9:05 PM 

AP projects Sinicki will retain Assembly seat

State Rep. Christine Sinicki is the projected winner of the 20th AD Dem primary over challenger Julie Meyer, according to The Associated Press.

With no Republicans on the ballot for November, the Milwaukee Dem is all but assured of keeping her spot in the Assembly.

-- By Chris Thompson


 9:04 PM 

LaTonya Johnson projected to win Dem Senate primary

Rep. LaTonya Johnson is projected to win her primary for the 6th Senate District.

The Milwaukee Dem had 61.1 percent of the vote with about 86 percent of precincts in, according to unofficial returns collected by The Associated Press. Former Michael Best & Friedrich government affairs staffer Thomas Harris had 20.3 percent of the vote, while Milwaukee Public Schools Board member Michael Bonds was at 18.6 percent.

The three are looking to replace retiring Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd.

-- By Polo Rocha


 8:55 PM 

Gallagher opens big lead in 8th CD GOP primary

Newcomer Mike Gallagher has opened up a big lead in the 8th CD GOP primary over state Sen. Frank Lasee.

With almost 16 percent of the vote in, Gallagher had 6,443 votes, or 71 percent, to 1,801 votes, or 19.9 percent for Lasee. Terry McNulty was third with 9.1 percent.

-- By Staff


 8:50 PM 

AP projects Pope will win Dem primary

The Associated Press is projecting Dem Rep. Sondy Pope, of Mt. Horeb, will beat back a primary challenge from Luke Joseph.

Joseph, a 35-year-old materials handler from Oregon making his first political bid, seemed like an odd fit for a Dem primary from the start. He was endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life's PAC, supports letting people carry concealed weapons without the requirement of a government permit or training, and said he would not back Hillary Clinton for president this fall.

-- By JR Ross


 8:47 PM 

AP projects Taylor will survive challenge from Barnes

Sen. Lena Taylor will survive a Dem primary challenge from Rep. Mandela Barnes, according to The Associated Press.

With 56 percent of the vote in, Taylor has 70.1 percent of the vote in the Milwaukee Senate seat, while Barnes has 29.9 percent of the vote.

-- By Staff


 8:44 PM 

Feingold, Johnson trade barbs right out of gate

Minutes after Russ Feingold was projected to win the Dem U.S. Senate primary, he and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson were already taking shots at each other.

Feingold, D-Middleton, said he was grateful for the Wisconsinites who voted for him Tuesday. The race against Scott Harbach had largely been considered a formality.

"Wisconsinites now have a clear choice in this election," Feigold said. "Sen. Johnson has spent years in Washington ignoring the people of this state. Instead he’s fought to protect a system that benefits multi-millionaires like himself, oil billionaires, powerful corporations and the special interests funding the super PACs dedicated to his reelection bid."

Johnson said in a statement, "The choice in this election is clear: between an Oshkosh manufacturer and outsider like me, and a career politician who has made his living on the taxpayers’ dime and doesn’t know the first thing about creating jobs or keeping local communities safe.”

-- By JR Ross


 8:40 PM 

AP calls 4th CD for Moore

The Associated Press is projecting U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee, will fend off a Dem primary challenge from former state Sen. Gary George.

George, who was recalled from office and later convicted of federal charges in a kickback scheme, also challenged Moore in 2014. But neither challenge really got off the ground.

-- By Staff


 8:37 PM 

AP projects Feingold will win Dem Senate primary

The Associated Press is projecting Russ Feingold will win the Dem primary to face U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh.

The race against Scott Harbach has largely been considered a formality with Dems overwhelmingly lined up behind Feingold for the rematch with Johnson, who knocked the Middleton Dem out of office in 2010.

With about 20 percent of the vote in, Feingold was at 88.9 percent.

-- By JR Ross


 8:34 PM 

AP calls 1st CD for Ryan

The Associated Press projects House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, will fend off a primary challenge from businessman Paul Nehlen.

-- By Staff


 8:30 PM 

Ryan out to huge early lead in Waukesha County

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, is out to a huge early lead in Waukesha County, a key piece of his 1st CD.

With more than 75 percent of the vote in there, Ryan had 11,640 votes, or 89.6 percent, to 1,352 votes, or 10.4 percent, for Paul Nehlen.

The southeastern Wisconsin district also includes Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Rock and Milwaukee counties.

-- By JR Ross


 8:02 PM 

Scene at Nehlen's election night party

Paul Nehlen's election night party at the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville had small knots of people buzzing about politics and the long road many took to get there. 

While the Wisconsin primaries seem to be a popular topic of conversation, so too are the two major candidates for the presidential race.

Blue Nehlen posters ringed the clusters of supporters, framing the raised podium at the front of the room. The podium was surrounded by red, white and blue balloons.

Rows of red seats sat empty in anticipation of Nehlen's speech. Just before the polls closed, there were almost more camera tripods than people in the room.

While Nehlen threw a traditional election night party, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, had a much more low-key approach to the evening. Instead of a gathering of supporters, Ryan scheduled a simple news conference at the Janesville Armory after the race is called.     

-- By Alex Moe


 5:37 PM 

Nehlen selfie of ballot prompts reminder posting such pictures to social media violates Wisconsin law

The selfie Paul Nehlen posted to social media of a ballot in the 1st CD GOP primary prompted a warning from the state Elections Commission's spokesman that doing so can generate complaints under the state's election fraud law.

Still, Reid Magney also noted the commission does not have the authority to prosecute a violation, and recent cases in Indiana and New Hampshire involving similar statutes have resulted in courts striking down the laws.

The Wisconsin law states it's election fraud for anyone to show "his or her marked ballot to any person or places a mark upon the ballot so it is identifiable as his or her ballot."

Magney noted to reporters the law was originally written to prevent election bribery by showing one's marked ballot to someone else in order to get paid for how that elector voted.

Nehlen, who is challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan in the Republican primary, tweeted a picture of a ballot with the oval in front of his name filled in and "#HireNehlen Save America #WI01."

-- By JR Ross


 12:07 PM 

Election officials: Nehlen backers break rules on electioneering at Janesville, Mt. Pleasant polling sites

Backers of 1st CD GOP candidate Paul Nehlen put up signs at polling places in Mt. Pleasant and Janesville that violated restrictions on campaigning near a polling site, according to election officials.

Janesville Clerk-Treasurer Dave Godek said the effort there appeared “clearly organized,” and the people involved were all wearing Nehlen T-shirts. 

“From my perspective, that looked like a targeted thing,” he said.

Nehlen spokesman Noel Fritsch answered a call from WisPolitics.com inquiring if the effort was organized by the campaign. He offered to send an emailed statement. But it did not address that question. Instead, it charged House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “dwindling network of supporters is carrying out the Speaker’s orders to prevent Mr. Nehlen and his supporters from carrying their message.”

State law bans electioneering on public property within 100 feet of a polling site.

Godek said Janesville ordinances also prohibit any signs in the terrace between the sidewalk and a street. He said workers arrived at six sites this morning to find Nehlen signs either posted on the buildings or in the terrace.

“We told them, ‘Pull the signs. They can’t be there. They’re on the polling place. That’s not allowed,’” Godek said.

Godek spoke with some Nehlen supporters at one site who were outside the 100-foot perimeter and explained they were allowed to remain there so long as they stayed outside the restricted area, but they could not put signs in the terrace.

Mt. Pleasant Clerk/Treasurer Stephanie Kohlhagen wrote in an email a Nehlen supporter was trying to put up election signs on village property at Franksville Hall and distribute election material outside the polling place. Kohlhangen wrote she told him that was not allowed and he needed to remove the sign, but he became confrontational and claimed he had permission from a "zoning authority." She also wrote he was "confrontational and belligerent" and she contacted the police after leaving the polling site.

"Bottom line, he did not have Village permission to attach his sign to the fence," she wrote. "The Village policy is that anyone wanting to attach a sign to our fence must first be granted permission. He did not." 

-- By JR Ross

Editor's note: This post has been updated with comment from the Mt. Pleasant clerk-treasurer.


 10:37 AM 

Pence adds Milwaukee stop to Thursday plans, hitting La Crosse earlier in day

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will make stops Thursday in La Crosse and Milwaukee.

Donald Trump's campaign said yesterday Pence was looking at a stop Thursday in La Crosse, and the campaign posted details today. Pence is doing a town hall at the Cartwright Center at 3 p.m. Doors open at noon.

He's also doing an event at the Hilton-Milwaukee City Center at 7 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m.

-- By JR Ross


 8:12 AM 

Voters head to polls for partisan primary elections

Candidates around the state are squaring off today as voters head to the polls for Wisconsin’s partisan primary elections.


Among the federal races to watch today are:


*1st CD, Republican: Incumbent Paul Ryan, of Janesville, and Paul Nehlen, of Williams Bay.


*8th CD, Republican: State Sen. Frank Lasee, of De Pere; Terry McNulty, of Forestville; and Mike Gallagher, of Green Bay, square off for the chance to face Dem Outagamie County Exec Tom Nelson in the November general election.


Among the top state races:


*4th SD, Democrat: Incumbent Lena Taylor and Rep. Mandela Barnes, both of Milwaukee.


*6th SD, Democrat: Rep. Latonya Johnson, Michael Bonds and Thomas Harris, all of Milwaukee, seeking the seat vacated by Nikiya Harris Dodd.


*18th SD, Republican: Dan Feyen, of Fond du Lac, and Mark Elliott, of Oshkosh, vying to take on the Dem primary winner for the seat vacated by Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac.


And among the top Assembly races:


*8th AD, Democrat: Incumbent Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa and Laura Manriquez, both of Milwaukee.


*9th AD, Democrat: Incumbent Josh Zepnick and Marisabel Cabrera, both of Milwaukee.


*11th AD, Democrat: Jason Fields and Darrol Gibson, both of Milwaukee, vying to fill the seat vacated by Barnes in his challenge of Taylor.


*16th AD, Democrat: A four-way primary with incumbent Leon Young, Edgar Lin, Stephen Jansen and Brandy Bond, all of Milwaukee.


*17th AD, Democrat: Marcus Hart, Kim Burns and David Crowley squaring off to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Johnson


*20th AD, Democrat: Incumbent Christine Sinicki and Julie Meyer, both of Milwaukee.


*47th AD, Democrat: Tony Hartmann, Julia Arata-Fratta and Jimmy Anderson, all of Fitchburg, vying for the seat left vacant by Rep. Robb Kahl, D-Monona.


Check here today and tonight for updates, results and full coverage of the primaries.


Monday, August 8, 2016

 4:26 PM 

Kaine coming back to Wisconsin for Aug. 16 fundraiser

Dem vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, who appeared at his first Wisconsin rally last week, will be back in the state Aug. 16 for a Madison fundraiser, according to Hillary Clinton's website.

The event at the home of Mary Lang Sollinger, a longtime Dem fundraiser, includes tickets that run from $400 to $20,000. The top tickets include a reception and photo with Kaine. A $2,500 donation includes a picture with the Virginia Dem.

-- By JR Ross


 4:19 PM 

Trump campaign: Pence plans trip to La Crosse Thursday, though details being worked out

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence tentatively has a return trip to Wisconsin planned for Thursday, according to Donald Trump’s campaign.

Pence is expected to visit La Crosse, though details were still being worked out, the campaign said.

Pence made his first Wisconsin stop July 27 in Waukesha before joining Trump at Friday’s rally in Green Bay.

-- By JR Ross


Friday, August 5, 2016

 8:30 PM 

Trump endorses Ryan at Green Bay rally

GREEN BAY -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday formally endorsed Paul Ryan at a campaign rally in Green Bay, saying he and the House speaker share the goal of making “America great again.”

“We may disagree on a couple of things, but mostly we agree and we’re going to get it done,” Trump said. “He’s a good man.”

Trump, making his first stop in Wisconsin since winning the GOP nomination, also endorsed U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., saying he will need a Republican majority in the House and Senate to accomplish his policy goals.

The endorsements came after a tumultuous week for Trump in which he drew flak from fellow Republicans after he said in an interview he was "not quite there yet" on endorsing Ryan in his primary race, which is Tuesday, and did not give his support to Ayotte and McCain. Top Wisconsin Republicans -- including Ryan, Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson -- all skipped Friday’s rally, citing other commitments.

In the interview with the Washington Post, Trump also said Ryan's primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, is running a "very good campaign" and is a "big fan" of the GOP nominee.

Nonetheless, Trump predicted Friday he will have disagreements with Ryan, but “we will disagree as friends and never stop working together.”

Trump’s initial refusal to endorse Ryan was the latest flare-up in the relationship between the GOP’s presidential nominee and the party’s highest elected official.

Ryan in late spring said he wanted to hear more from the businessman before backing his campaign. Though he eventually endorsed the businessman, Ryan has frequently criticized Trump comments that some have found offensive. Ahead of Friday’s rally, Ryan, R-Janesville, warned his endorsement of Trump was “not a blank check.”

A Ryan aide said of Trump's endorsement, "He appreciates the gesture and is going to continue to focus on earning the endorsement of the voters in southern Wisconsin."

Nehlen, who attended the rally, said Trump's endorsement of his 1st CD opponent was motivated by a desire for party unity. He encouraged his supporters to back Trump in the general election.

“He was in no way endorsing Paul Ryan’s policies of shipping our jobs overseas, having our borders wide open, and bringing a constant stream of cheap labor in here to replace Americans in their own jobs,” said Nehlen, who is trailed Ryan 80 percent to 14 percent in a poll released Friday.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Martha Laning, meanwhile, contrasted the GOP no-shows at the Green Bay rally with her party’s elected officials that attended a Milwaukee event earlier in the day with vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.

“The difference couldn't be more clear -- Republicans refuse to admit they can't bear the thought of Donald Trump leading their party; Democrats are ecstatic to have Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine fighting for policies that will allow everyone to get ahead, not just those at the very top,” she said.

During Kaine's Milwaukee rally, he praised recent court decisions striking down several voting laws, including pieces of Wisconsin's voter ID requirement. But when Trump mentioned them in Green Bay, the crowd booed.

Trump said Wisconsin voters have to be very vigilant about voter fraud, and encouraged the audience to mobilize “everybody you know” to the polls in November.

And Trump briefly acknowledged his loss to Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin primary last April, saying he expected to win, but felt he learned from the defeat.

“I had a really great time when I was in Wisconsin; I didn’t quite eek it out,” Trump said. “You built me up and you taught me about politics.”

State Sen. Frank Lasee, a candidate in the 8th CD, was one of the few state elected officials who attended the rally; his main opponent in Tuesday's primary, Mike Gallagher, was attending an event in Shawano County Friday night. Lasee said he was surprised Trump endorsed Ryan and expressed disappointment at the absence of many of the state’s high-profile political figures. While Lasee said his opinions differ from Trump’s on some issues, the De Pere Republican encouraged members of his party to lend their support.

“The people spoke, and he is our nominee,” Lasee said. “We don’t have to own everything he says that might be controversial or comment on it.”

-- By Samantha Nash


 1:34 PM 

Kaine jabs Trump at Milwaukee rally, praises rulings striking down voting restrictions

MILWAUKEE -- Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine outlined Hillary Clinton's jobs plan while taking jabs at GOP nominee Donald Trump during a rally in Milwaukee.

He also noted recent rulings striking down parts of Wisconsin voting laws, and praised activists for filing the lawsuits.

"I salute you for doing that," Kaine said. "You've enabled more people to participate."

He told attendees that if they meet someone who tells them their vote doesn't matter, to ask them: "Why is the other side working so hard to make sure you don't vote?"

Kaine said Clinton's jobs plan focuses on infrastructure, shared prosperity, improved K-12, technical and community colleges and universities, an increased minimum wage and equal pay for women.

Kaine knocked Trump, saying he hasn't provided details about he'd achieve his plans for the economy.

"Trump gives you the punch line, everybody's going to be rich, and says, 'believe me,'" Kaine said.

He asked whether the crowd believes what Trump says, which responded with a resounding "no."

"You guy's aren't gullible and neither am I," Kaine said.

He pointed to a Moody's analysis that showed Clinton's plan would create 10 million new jobs. On the Trump plan, he said, Moody's showed America would enter a recession and lose jobs. 

"Do you want a 'you're hired' president or a 'you're fired' president," Kaine said to applause.

State GOP Executive Director Mike Duffey, meanwhile, slammed Kaine was a "Washington insider" coming to a state where Clinton lost 71 of the 72 counties in the April election.

“While Hillary’s campaign plays it safe, campaigning in the only county in the state that Hillary managed to win, Wisconsin voters will remember her lies to the American public and her record of scandal when deciding who is best to bring change in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

Kaine contrasted the Democratic and Republican conventions, saying the Dem event was positive while the GOP convention had a "dark, depressing, Gotham City vibe."

"That was no vision of America," Kaine said. "That was a guided tour inside Donald J. Trump's head. And that's a scary place to be."

The rally was held under a bridge crossing the Milwaukee River and adjacent to Lakefront Brewery. 

On the stage were stacked Lakefront Brewery kegs, and behind it was a sign reading "stronger together." Flanking the stage was a large American flag and a state flag. On the brewery itself, fanned red, white and blue stars and stripes buntings hung from the windows. An American flag hung from the roof, flanked by banners reading "stronger" and "together."

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who introduced Pence called Trump "a risk we cannot afford" and called for Democrats to be unified to beat Trump in the fall and elect Democrat Russ Feingold to the U.S. Senate. 

Baldwin, D-Madison, praised Kaine, saying he's a "champion" of bringing jobs back to America. 

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore addressed attendees while they waited for Kaine, praising the ticket and saying Clinton's choice of Kaine solidifies Virginia for Dems in the fall. 

-- By David Wise





 9:23 AM 

Remington Research poll has Ryan up on Nehlen 80-14

House Speaker Paul Ryan led GOP challenger Paul Nehlen 80 percent to 16 percent in a new Remington Research poll released today.

The automated poll was conducted Wednesday, the day after Donald Trump told the Washington Post he's "not quite there yet" on an endorsement of Ryan.

It also was done a day before Nehlen gave a radio interview in which he suggested "we have a discussion" about deporting Muslims.

The poll found 52 percent of likely GOP primary voters in the southeastern Wisconsin district have a favorable impression of Trump, while 32 percent have an unfavorable one.

Ryan's split matches his lead in the poll: 80 percent of likely GOP primary voters view him favorably, while 14 percent do not.

Nehlen's split was 16-47 while 37 percent had no opinion of him.

In May, Remington had Ryan up on Nehlen 78-14.

The new poll of 1,157 likely GOP primary voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey was weighted to match expected turnout demographics.

-- By JR Ross


Thursday, August 4, 2016

 3:33 PM 

Koch brothers PAC that dropped plans for pro-Johnson ad coming back to Wisconsin

Freedom Partners Action Fund, which last month pulled a $2.2 million TV buy it had planned supporting Sen. Ron Johnson, announced today it’s coming back to Wisconsin with a $1 million campaign.

The spot knocks Dem Russ Feingold over the Tomah VA and is the second time the Koch brothers-aligned group has gone after the former senator on the topic. It ran a 60-second TV ad in May accusing Feingold of ignoring problems there with the overprescription of opioids. The original spot was revised after Feingold's campaign suggested it was misleading.

The new spot shows a veteran identified as Marlyn from Merrill. The narrator says for “years the Tomah VA put veterans” like him at risk and over-prescribed him “dangerous medicines” while Feingold “did nothing to help.”

The narrator says Johnson was then elected.

“As chairman of the Government Affairs Committee, he listened -- and acted,” the narrator says. “Demanding accountability. Delivering solutions. It’s why we need Ron Johnson.”

-- By JR Ross



 12:04 PM 

Walker advises Trump stay focused on Clinton, ways he can improve Americans' lives

WEST ALLIS -- Gov. Scott Walker today advised Donald Trump to stay focused on the differences between him and Hillary Clinton and on communicating what he can do to improve Americans' lives in order to win in the fall.

Walker, appearing at the opening day of the State Fair, offered his advice to Trump after the GOP presidential nominee declined to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan this week and praised the Janesville Republican's primary opponent. That move has drawn criticism from many GOP elected officials in Wisconsin, and Walker, Ryan and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, are not attending Trump's Friday rally in Green Bay, citing other commitments.  

"My advice to him is spend your time talking about the difference between her and him and ultimately what he's going to do to make everyday Americans' lives better," Walker told reporters.

Walker urged Trump, who is campaigning in Green Bay with vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, to talk to Wisconsinites who "feel left out of whatever slow recovery is happening in this nation."

"If he can talk to them, and say that he's got their back, that he can actually do something to make their lives better, then I believe, in the end he can win," Walker said.

"Any day he's not talking about that or about Hillary Clinton is a lost opportunity, because I think people are hungry for a change, they don't like the way this country is headed right now, they want to do better and they're uncomfortable with Hillary Clinton.'

Walker dismissed speculation Trump could drop out of the race, and repeatedly knocked Clinton over the FBI investigation into her email practices, calling her "unfit" to serve as president.

-- By David Wise


 8:20 AM 

Walker, Ryan, Johnson skipping Trump rally in Green Bay

Gov. Scott Walker, House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson are all skipping Donald Trump's Friday rally in Green Bay, citing other commitments. 

State Sen. Frank Lasee, who is running for the GOP nomination in the 8th CD, is one of the highest profile Republicans to confirm attendance at the campaign stop, Trump's first in the state since winning the nomination. 

Walker's announcement comes amid the continued fallout for Trump over his latest spat with Ryan. Trump praised Ryan's primary challenger, Paul Nehlen, Tuesday in an interview and said he wasn't yet ready to endorse the Janesville Republican. 

Wednesday morning, the guv tweeted a picture of himself with the speaker and the line, "We stand with Paul Ryan!" 

Still, Walker spokesman Joe Fadness cited the guv's commitment to survey recovery efforts in northern Wisconsin following last month's flooding as the reason he won't be at the rally. The Green Bay event also will feature vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. 

"As always, Governor Walker will participate in future political events for Mr. Trump provided they don't interfere with his work for the citizens of Wisconsin, as he did when Governor Pence visited Waukesha a week ago," Fadness said. 

Ryan has a full day in the 1st CD, a spokesman said, while Johnson has prior commitments that will be announced later this week. 

Republican Mike Gallagher, who faces Lasee and one other candidate in Tuesday's 8th CD GOP primary, also will not attend the event. He has a full day of work and plans to attend an event in Shawano County that night, a spokeswoman said.

-- By JR Ross


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