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MON WisPolitics AM Update
15 August 2011
Exclusively for WisPolitics Subscribers
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-- In advance of tomorrow's final two summer recall elections, new Tea Party Express ads target Sens. Holperin, D-Conover, and Bob Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, for boycotting the budget repair bill vote in Illinois.

The 12th SD ad says Wisconsin's economy is turning around thanks to state lawmakers who stayed in Madison this winter, "but Senator Jim Holperin was nowhere to be found when the hard work was being done."

"He was hiding out in Illinois to keep our government from working," an announcer says. "Senator Jim Holperin was wrong to flee our state."

The spot then says Tea Party Express endorses Simac in the Aug. 16 recall election. The Wirch ad features an endorsement of GOP challenger and Pleasant Prairie attorney Jon Steitz.

See the ads in Ad Watch:

-- Holperin has snagged the endorsement of the NRA, and mailers from both his campaign and We Are Wisconsin tout the backing.

Holperin’s noted he was the “ONLY NRA-endorsed 12th Senate District candidate.”

See the mailers:

-- Residents of the northern district still appear to be politically engaged despite results last week that ensure GOP control of the state Senate.

What could have been a dramatic election in District 12 has evaporated into a summertime referendum on Holperin, a 60-year-old Democrat with a long resume in government and politics, and whether voters want him replaced with political newcomer Kim Simac, a 52-year-old Tea Party activist who organized the recall against him.

Fred Berner, editor of the Antigo Daily Journal, said last week's results have taken “maybe some of the glow” from the Holperin recall, but interest remains high because of so much advertising in a district that’s very divided politically and because both candidates made personal stops to court voters.

“Despite the fact it won’t make a difference in Madison, it will make a difference in who represents us up in the Northwoods,” he said. “People are fiercely interested in what happens here.”

See the WisPolitics Election Blog:

-- In a weekend debate on "UpFront with Mike Gousha," Wirch charged opponent Jonathan Steitz of being beholden to corporate interests, while the GOP challenger accused the Dem incumbent of class warfare.

The two sparred over Wirch’s decision to join fellow Senate Dems in fleeing to Illinois in an attempt to derail the collective bargaining changes pushed by Gov. Scott Walker.

“This was the worst attack on working people in the history of the state of Wisconsin,” said Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie.

Steitz ripped Wirch’s description of the changes to union powers.

“This was not the worst attack on working families; the worst attack on working families is the overspending and the continual tax increases Bob Wirch has been advocating for,” he said.

Steitz also accused Wirch of abdicating his responsibility in fleeing, calling it a dereliction of duty for which Wirch should be held responsible.

Wirch countered he was proud of leaving the state because it gave the voters time to learn what was in the original budget repair bill and called the recall election against him a waste of taxpayer money considering other local needs. He demurred when pressed if the recalls of his GOP colleagues were unnecessary or whether Walker should be recalled, saying he expected a debate about recalls during the fall legislative session.

-- Steitz, who is not a longtime resident of the district, defended his statements that he’s a better fit for the 22nd SD than Wirch, who was first elected to an Assembly to represent the area in 1992 and then his Senate seat in 1996.

Steitz said he was a small business owner who had the opportunity to further his education by getting an MBA and a law degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. He said he’s the only one in the race who understands who to bring businesses to the Kenosha County area and questioned how Wirch could be successful in such an endeavor when all he’s done is vilify corporations during the race.

He also questioned Wirch’s claims he’s helped pass legislation that created 800 jobs in the district.

“What we need in government right now, we need to have real world business experience helping out in government and leaders with that exp,” Steitz said. “We don’t need career politicians.”

Wirch swatted back at Steitz over the Republican’s charges that Dems have been on a spending spree, saying they simply met the needs of citizens through programs like BadgerCare in one of the worst recessions in the nation’s history.

“With his mindset, we would have turned our back on the people when the people were suffering out there. I’m not that kind of optician,” Wirch said.

“He wants to help corporations. I want to help the middle class. I want to help people.”

-- Also on the show, John Nichols, associate editor of the Capital Times and a correspondent for the Nation, argued that last week’s results in six recall elections may give rise to a coalition between Dems and GOP Sen. Dale Schultz that could transform the dynamic in the Capitol.

Nichols argued Schultz, R-Richland Center, had been isolated by the GOP caucus on some issues, particularly the collective bargaining legislation, which he opposed.

“There are possibilities now that you might see a 17-vote moderate-liberal coalition that can beat the Republicans,” Nichols said.

Schultz last week said he would remain a Republican, and GOP leaders downplayed the possibility of Schultz causing problems for them.

Nichols also said if Dems hold onto the two seats up for recall this week, it could bring back some optimism to a Dem coalition that was somewhat dispirited after failing to win back control of the Senate last week. He said that could boost the effort to recall Walker.

“There’s a grassroots passion for it,” Nichols said. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean everyone at the national level is going to want Wisconsin progressives, Wisconsin labor groups to go forward.”

See the show:

-- James Rogers, a Madison man who's filed a pair of recent collusion complaints with the Government Accountability Board, Friday filed supplemental material to his complaints against the state GOP, Kim Simac's state Senate campaign and California-based Tea Party Express.

Rogers' original complaint accused the state GOP and Tea Party Express of colluding on a phone banking campaign, while a second complaint alleged that a Tea Party Express-sponsored rally in Rhinelander featuring Simac campaign staff violated state law.

His new material reflects a series of TV ad buys supporting GOP recall candidates, particularly $95,000 to support Simac, R-Eagle River, in the 12th SD.

"All of these ad buys have been made despite the fact that GAB’s CFIS database shows that this 'independent' organization doing express advocacy does not appear to be a registered entity with the Government Accountability Board," Rogers writes in his amended complaint.

He adds that Tea Party Express hasn't complied with the state's 24-hour rule for independent expenditures, and violated in-kind contribution limits between an outside group and a state party or candidate.

*See the original complaints:

*See the additional material:

-- AG J.B. Van Hollen says a federal appeals court decision declaring unconstitutional the mandate in the federal health care law vindicates his agency’s position that Americans can’t be required to buy health insurance.

Wisconsin joined 25 other states in challenging the health care law.

See the release:

-- House Speaker John Boehner is in the state today for a fundraiser in Brown Co. for GOP freshman Congressman Reid Ribble.

And political sources suggest the speaker may also do some appearances this week to help targeted northern freshman U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Ashland.


-- On Sept. 8 Sens. Tim Cullen, a Democrat, and Dale Schultz, a Republican, talk about the state Senate post-recalls;

-- And on Sept. 27, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, discusses the federal
budget, the debt and the 2012 U.S. Senate race.

The events are open to the public, and the price for lunch is $19. The luncheons start at 11:45 a.m. and end at 1 p.m.

Call the Madison Club to register
at (608) 255-4861.

The sponsors for this year's luncheon series are: American Family Insurance, Aurora Health Care, University Research Park, Wal-Mart, WHD Law, and Xcel Energy.


- Democrats now on defensive in state Senate recall races … best they
can hope for in Tuesday's recalls against Holperin and fellow
Democratic Sen. Bob Wirch is to keep the narrow 17-16 majority and
hope that moderate Republicans serve as a buffer. Analysis, issues.
Holperin, Simac, Steitz comment.

- 2 more to go in Summer of recalls: GOP-er Steitz explains
sex-offender ex-tenant. Dem Sen. Wirch gets “pants on fire” rating
for ULine ad. US rep. Ryan stumped for Steitz, US Rep. Schakowsky
stumped for Wirch. $4M outside ads in Holperin-Simac recall,
candidates spent only $500,000. Holperin finds equal support,
criticism for Illinois AWOL, touts WDH endorsement, denied Dem recall
urgency. Simac bemoans “negative ads … very discouraging, not only
for me but for the voters.”

- Going into the recall election, Simac maintains job growth is key …
“what we would need to do is to work to ensure that legislation is
being passed down there or easing of some of the rules that we have in
place right now ... so that the general atmosphere for business in the
district can mend and become better,” proposes cutting taxes, fees,
regs, unsure of rural EDZ’s, “I think it's something that I would
definitely like to look into further before I would totally commit
myself because I know that there's other places in the state that are
going to be working just as hard to create jobs.”

- Recall Revisited: One Last Look at the Numbers in the 8th Senate
District, Darling's base comes out to support her, while Milwaukee's
turnout wasn't as strong: Darling won 33 wards to Pasch’s 32.
Darling’s wards mostly came from GOP strongholds like Mequon,
Germantown and Menomonee Falls. Milwaukee turnout 51%, Menomonee
Falls turnout 67%. Ward vote breakdown. DPW’s Morris, MU Prof.
McAdams comment.

- Prosser outraises Kloppenburg 2-to-1 in recount … collected
$272,887 for his recall efforts, including three $50,000 donations and
two $25,000 donations. Kloppenburg, meanwhile, raised a total of
$126,789, of which $10,000 came from her mother-in-law and no other
donation exceeded $2,500. … More than $75,000 of the money Prosser
raised went to the Troupis Law Office. Some donor details. Nemoir
for Prosser comments.

- Congressman hosts business conference at UW-Superior [Thursday] …
Small Business Jobs Act, passed by Congress in 2010, provides new
opportunities in federal and state lending, export assistance and
federal contracting. Speakers include Duffy, SBA’s Ness, SBD’
Winkler, Procurement Institute’s Vilumsons.

- Rothenberg column: Thompson’s Return May Be Coming Too Late … is
about to enter the state’s 2012 Senate race. … new Club for Growth
poll shows … Thompson’s favorable rating is uncomfortably “soft,” at
least compared with [US Sen. Johnson 46, Gov. Walker 61 – Thompson
over Neumann 40-34, but Neumann over Thompson 40-22 in “push
questions”]. CFG doesn’t like Thompson, but has no preferred
alternative. Veteran GOP-er says “pre-internet candidate” Thompson
can’t win primary. Other says he would win “ugly and difficult
primary.” Thompson ally optimistic.

- RNC ready to counter Obama bus tour … [RNC Chair] Priebus will be
on the ground in Minnesota on Monday for President Obama's first stop
… to kick off the "Obama's Debt-End Tour" … will launch radio ads,
autodialed phone calls and web videos in Minnesota, Iowa, and
Illinois. Mirrors DNC Chair Wasserman-Schultz’s on-the-scene efforts
at IA straw poll. Priebus: “For all his talk of getting Americans
back to work, President Obama has yet to get to work himself."

- Bice column: Liberal billionaire helping fund media groups in
Wisconsin … George Soros [foundations] have sunk money into two new
media projects in the state - the Wisconsin Center for Investigative
Journalism and MapLight. WPRI’s Schneider first to question WCIJ in
Natinoal Review piece on Prosser-Kloppenburg coverage. Conservative
blogger Binversie also critic. WCIJ founder Hall not surprised, “Does
that resonate with the public? I don't have any evidence that it

- Auto insurance bill was clash of titans, Companies, trial lawyers
dominated insurance rollback: On April 6, lawmakers passed GOP Rep.
Nygren’s AB4, repealed every aspect of 2009’s so-called “Truth in
Auto” law except mandatory auto insurance. At least $336,319 total
donated to friendly lawmakers. Both sides spent nearly $1.1M
lobbying. Citizen Action’s Kraig vs. Casualty Insurers. Dem ex-Rep.
Black vs. Insurers Alliance. Dem ex-Sen. Lehman lost despite $28,655
from trial lawyers. Consumer Watchdog’s Heller, lobbyists Strohl and
Franken, attorney Hupy, affected party Minerick comment.



--10 a.m.: 17th annual Fitzgerald Open, Old Hickory Country Club, Highway 33, Beaver Dam.

Business Events

--12:15 a.m.: La Crosse BioResearch Forum, Overholt Auditorium, Gundersen Lutheran, LaCrosse.

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