Exclusively for WisPolitics Subscribers


BREAKING NEWS: President Barack Obama will stop in Milwaukee Oct. 26 to campaign with state Superintendent Tony Evers, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and other Dems, according to Dem sources. The afternoon event will come ahead of Evers’ second and final debate with Gov. Scott Walker.

Meanwhile, the sources also told WisPolitics.com that Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in Wisconsin Oct. 30.

A formal announcement on the Obama stop was expected later this afternoon.


For eight years Scott Walker has rewarded the wealthy and the special interests. That’s not fair. It’s time the middle class gets a break.
– Dem guv candidate Tony Evers proposing a 10 percent middle-class tax cut.

Tony Evers will raise taxes overall. There’s no doubt about it. He should’ve introduced his plan on Halloween because he’s just masking the fact that his overall plan will raise taxes in this state.
– Gov. Scott Walker slamming Evers’ proposal.

It became clear that his focus was not on meeting his obligations to the public but to advancing
his own political career at a tremendous cost to taxpayers and families.
– A letter signed by three of Walker’s former cabinet secretaries endorsing Evers, including former WEDC CEO Paul Jadin, who become the third former Walker official to back the Dem. Also signing the letter were former Financial Institutions Secretary Peter Bildsten and former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall. A Walker spokesman fired back at Jadin, saying the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has “grown leaps and bounds in success after moving on from the days of Paul Jadin’s management.”

Her idea of a border would be drawing a line in the dirt with a wink and a nod.
– GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir during a debate Saturday accusing U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of supporting open borders and allowing Mexican gang members to cross freely into the U.S.

We don’t put children in cages like this president has done, and we can’t even look at doing that again.
– Baldwin, who said she supports a comprehensive approach to immigration reform.

*See WisPolitics.com coverage: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/baldwin-vukmir-clash-on-immigration-kavanaugh-nomination-in-second-debate/

We’re leading the nation. We’ve been recognized over and over for that.
– Republican AG Brad Schimel during a debate on Sunday calling Wisconsin a leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

It’s just not correct that we are leading the nation in fighting the opioid epidemic like my opponent’s campaign commercials have said.
– Schimel’s Dem opponent, Josh Kaul, who said Wisconsin has seen a greater increase in opioid deaths than other states.

*See WisPolitics.com coverage: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/schimel-kaul-clash-on-environment-other-issues-in-second-debate/

This is a desperate approach because they don’t have me on the issues. I’ve effectively argued the merits of our policies that help families, seniors and young professionals. This is the politics of personal destruction and my constituents know my character. We’re going to run a positive issues based campaign.
— Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, who’s vying for Vumkir’s seat as she runs for U.S. Senate, denying allegations in a third-party mailer he was intoxicated on the Assembly floor during budget deliberations.

None of our candidates paid a $30,000 (settlement) for looking at a sign and taking it from the Capitol. None of our candidates have appeared on the floor after having too much to drink.
– Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, addressing the allegations during a WisPolitics.com luncheon in Madison.

Be careful, because there’s a lot of legislators who leave for lunch and come back later, and I don’t think anybody wants to go down that road.
– Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

*See more from the luncheon in an item below.

They are passing judgment on situations they couldn’t possibly understand – like living paycheck to paycheck, like not being able to miss a shift without falling behind on bills.
– Randy Bryce’s ex-wife, Faye Boudreaux, in a letter criticizing an ad calling the 1st CD Dem a “deadbeat dad” and saying “he’s not fit to serve in Congress” over his delinquent child support payments. Boudreaux also wrote that “D.C. politicians are putting our family’s personal business all over the news and television, right where our son can see it.”

–A collection of insider opinion–
(Oct. 13-19, 2018)


Tammy Baldwin: Time is running out for the U.S. Senate race to pop, and insiders say it’s getting harder to see it tighten enough to bring on the infusion of resources from independent groups needed to change that. The latest fundraising reports serve as a reminder of the financial disparity in the race — and Baldwin’s prowess as a fundraiser. The Madison Dem pulls in $4.9 million between July 26 and Sept. 30, more than doubling the $2.4 million GOP rival Leah Vukmir raised. Baldwin also had a more than 4-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage at the end of September and outspent Vukmir $6.5 million to $1.3 million. That, some say, is all you need to know to understand why Vukmir has been upside down with voters in recent polls and trailing Baldwin by double digits. The incumbent has overwhelmed the challenger on TV and effectively defined her, particularly on the health care issue. Vukmir has pushed back hard, declaring in debates she’d throw herself in front of a truck before she’d allow those with pre-existing conditions to be dumped by their insurance companies. And she has taken swings at Baldwin for Medicare-for-all, saying it would end health care as the country knows it and force people off private insurance. She’s also tried to take Baldwin to task on the Tomah VA scandal. Republicans like how Vukmir handled herself in both of the first two debates. But neither meeting produced the kind of moment that could end up in paid media affect voters who typically don’t tune into Saturday night debates broadcast during a Badgers football game. And with little help from others, Vukmir hasn’t had the kind of megaphone to really do damage to Baldwin. Two years ago, many national prognosticators still weren’t paying much attention to Sen. Ron Johnson’s chances in his re-election bid. But by mid-October, at least two groups were running ads on his behalf with significant money behind them, and the Oshkosh Republican had closed to single digits with Dem Russ Feingold. The two combined to bring a flood of last-minute ads on behalf of Johnson as the race ended up dead even. Insiders say some groups have hit the airwaves on Vukmir’s behalf, but not in a big enough way to make things move.Vukmir continues to trail Baldwin by double digits in publicly released polls, including one from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling that has it at 52-42 in Baldwin’s favor. Meanwhile, President Trump’s visit to Mosinee next week may give Vukmir a boost with his supporters. But election-watchers say it also carries the risk of further alienating suburban women, a key demographic. Unless Vukmir can close the deficit in the polls, some Republicans fret, it could spill over into the guv’s race. Insiders debate how many Baldwin-Walker voters — or Vukmir-Evers supporters — exist. Still, Republicans say they’re seeing polling in key legislative races that show Baldwin with a significant lead in the district, but Walker up as well. If that holds, Wisconsin could see splits at the top of the ticket like those in the 1990s, when Republican Tommy Thompson won re-election bids for guv as Dems Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold won their Senate races.

House incumbents: Want to understand the power of incumbency — and the Wisconsin map? Insiders look no further than the latest campaign finance reports from the House delegation. A WisPolitics.com check of the reports shows the seven incumbents outraised their challengers nearly 2-to-1 during the latest fundraising period, pulling in nearly $1.9 million to almost $1.1 million. And the disparity for cash on hand is significantly worse with incumbents holding a 13-to-1 edge. Part of that is driven by the fact few of the seats are considered competitive; Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, didn’t even draw a challenger, after all. And two incumbents — Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Sean Duffy, R-Wausau — comprise a good piece of the overall incumbent war chest with $2.9 million and nearly $2 million in the bank, respectively. The one incumbent who didn’t outraise the challenger was U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah. Grothman has consistently been outraised by Dem Dan Kohl, nephew of former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl. But insiders have doubts it will turn into a real race. It looked better for Dems before the Brett Kavanaugh nomination fight, and some liberals fret the images of progressive activists confronting senators and protesting the proceedings don’t go over well in districts such as the 6th. Some add Grothman hasn’t been where he’d like to be in terms of making an impression with voters. But considering the district’s GOP lean, many believe it would take a serious blue wave to knock him off.

State revenues: It’s always good to see more money coming in than less. Still, some budget watchers are cautioning against popping corks about the latest fiscal news. First, the Department of Administration announces the state finished the 2017-18 fiscal year with $579 million in the general fund, $41.2 million more than what had been expected when the legislative session ended in the spring. Still, that extra cushion amounts to less than 0.3 percent of general fund taxes collected over the course of the year, so it’s not a lot of extra breathing room. Then, the Department of Revenue reports tax collections for the first three months of the 2018-19 fiscal year were up 9.2 percent compared to the same period a year ago. That was driven, in part, by individual income taxes coming in 6.8 percent higher than the same period for 2017-18; sales taxes being up 8.9 percent; and corporate taxes 33.1 percent. All three are well ahead of projections for the full year with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau projecting income taxes will grow 4 percent and sales taxes 4.8 percent, while corporate taxes are projected to drop 1.9 percent. But some are only expressing cautious optimism, noting the recent volatility in the stock market, the uncertainty of the fall elections, and the questions as to whether the jolt from the GOP tax cut is an economic sugar high or a new normal. A first look at that longer-term picture will come in mid-November, when the Walker administration is due to release new revenue estimates for 2018-19 and projections for the 2019-21 budget.


Scott Fitzgerald: The Senate majority leader gets off message when he tells reporters he’s not sure whether his caucus has enough votes to pass legislation that would provide state protections for those with pre-existing conditions or to get the state back to funding two-thirds of K-12 education. Insiders say neither is helpful to the guv, though Fitzgerald quickly walks back his comments on the pre-existing conditions bill. Still, they also see a difference in Fitzgerald’s comments on each topic. On the two-thirds funding question, one of Walker’s most recent campaign pledges, it was simply Fitzgerald telling a WisPolitics.com luncheon he hadn’t run it by his caucus yet when he said it was a “big chunk of change” and “you’re going to have to get some fresh fiscal numbers to see whether or not you could pull that off.” Considering the dynamic of moderate and conservative wings that often aren’t on the same page, Fitzgerald isn’t going to commit to anything until he talks to his members first. As for the pre-existing conditions bill, Fitzgerald simply had a moment of candor that his caucus likely doesn’t have the votes now to pass the bill. That shouldn’t come as a major shock, some say, considering the bill cleared the Assembly in June 2017 and then went nowhere in the Senate, even as Walker in his January State of the State speech called on the chamber to pass the bill. With Dems continuing to hammer Republicans on protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Walker has repeatedly pushed back that they’re already in place and will remain so long as he’s guv. But whether the state would ever have to take action on the issue could be a ways off. A foundation for the hit on Republicans has been the guv’s support of a multi-state lawsuit filed by AG Brad Schimel seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which currently provides those protections in Wisconsin. It’s still unclear, however, if that lawsuit would be successful. If it is, then there are a whole lot of variables that would go into situation, insiders say. Who’s the guv at the time? Do Dems control the Senate? What action might Congress take? But if Republicans still control both houses and the guv’s office after January, the reality is they’d need Dem votes to get the bill through the Senate. But working with the minority on legislation comes with risk, no matter who’s the majority leader, some say. Fitzgerald has generally worked to get consensus in his caucus before moving ahead on legislation, though he also hasn’t had much choice. If he were to start relying on Dem votes to pass legislation, he’d risk both having to meet some Dem demands and causing problems with members of the conservative wing who would likely complain he was catering to the other side and not them. Looking ahead to next session, insiders see the majority leader’s job only getting more difficult — no matter who holds it. Shilling punished Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, by pulling her off Joint Finance after she was found to have bullied staff. Even if Dems manage to flip the chamber, it would be a narrow margin, and that relationship could be tough. Fitzgerald, meanwhile, could see a caucus that gets even more conservative — and less manageable. Senate majority leader could be one of the worst jobs in the Capitol next session, some predict.

Randy Bryce: The Caledonia ironworker has been an absolute fundraising machine. With more than a month to go in the race for the open 1st CD, he had already raised $7.4 million in his House bid, an unheard of total for a first-time House candidate in Wisconsin. But he’s also burned through a lot of it, finishing September with $656,239 in the bank, just edging the $631,961 GOP rival Bryan Steil had in the bank after getting into the race this spring following House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement that he wouldn’t seek re-election. Bryce’s campaign caught fire last year with a viral video, and he instantly became a vehicle for those who didn’t like Ryan to make a cash commitment to making the Janesville Republican’s re-elect tougher than usual. So when Ryan dropped out, some wondered if the spigot would turn off. Instead, Bryce has kept up a healthy pace, including the $1.2 million he pulled in during the last period to Steil’s $919,250. But with that high profile has come a ton of attention from Republicans looking to keep the seat in GOP hands. The Congressional Leadership Fund has been relentless in its shots at Bryce over the airwaves, including an ad calling him a “deadbeat” for falling behind on his child support. Bryce returns fire this week with his ex-wife coming to his defense. Still, the CLF also has hit Bryce with an ad featuring his brother endorsing Steil and one detailing his nine arrests. Insiders note it’s an unusual amount of attention being paid to a seat that President Trump won by 10 points just two years ago. Still, they say Steil got a late entrance into the race and has been playing catch-up ever since. Some Dems believe Bryce is still within striking distance going into the closing weeks. Republicans, though, see a flawed candidate they say is going to have trouble attracting the GOP voters needed to win the Republican-leaning seat.

Scott Walker: The guv found his favorite line of attack on Dem rival Tony Evers, repeatedly accusing him of wanting tax hikes that Wisconsin can’t afford. He’s also found a new one, pointing out four passages in the DPI budget proposal were lifted from others. Finding his best defense on health care, however, still seems to be an issue. And he didn’t get a lot of help on that front from the Senate majority leader. With the race turning toward the final weeks, Dems up and down the ballot have made health care a central issue in their campaigns. It is a sharp turnaround from past cycles, when they’ve been on the defensive over the Affordable Care Act. But Dems believe public sentiment is on their side and efforts to overturn Obamacare have both pushed voters to the belief that health care is a right and opened the door to accuse Republicans of seeking to kill everything that the public has come to like about the law. That, in particular, includes the protections for those with pre-existing conditions against insurance companies denying them coverage. Walker started trying to build up a defense on that front early this year in calling on the Senate to approve legislation that would provide state protections for those with pre-existing conditions. But that bill has gone nowhere, and Walker has taken to pledging he’d call a special session of the Legislature to take up the legislation, if needed, and vowing those protections will continue so long as he’s in office. Still, there’s a reason the Senate didn’t take up the legislation despite Walker’s call, and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, tells reporters following a WisPolitics.com luncheon that he’s not sure his caucus has the votes needed to pass the bill. That, insiders say, doesn’t just undercut Walker’s message. It also does damage to AG Brad Schimel’s defense of the lawsuit he filed — with Walker’s blessing — to challenge Obamacare. Pressed on the issue by Dem opponent Josh Kaul, Schimel countered “every person running for the Legislature” has promised to pass a state bill to provide those protections if needed. So it’s no surprise to insiders when Fitzgerald quickly reverses course, issuing a statement saying the Senate would pass the legislation “if it becomes necessary.” Walker also continues to push back in a new TV ad that calls the attacks “scare tactics.” But insiders note it’s just one of several ads Walker has put forth trying to refute the attack, a sign that it’s an effective line. Evers continues to taunt the guv, saying if he’s really serious about maintaining those protections, he’d drop his support for Schimel’s lawsuit. Still, Republicans have continued a full-on assault against Evers on taxes over the last month, and Republicans say they see signs things are going better for Walker now compared to a month ago. The fight over the Brett Kavanaugh nomination seems to have boosted GOP enthusiasm, and Republicans say Walker is seeing improvement in western Wisconsin and things rounding into form in the Fox Valley. The question is whether it can last. For all the furor over the Kavanaugh nomination, the conversation has turned back to health care, Dems say. And now a wild card is coming with the president visiting Wisconsin. Presidential visits are typically much sought after boosts for any campaign that receives one. But Trump is anything but typical, which has insiders debating whether Trump’s visit comes with a downside. Some believe it makes sense for Trump to stop in the Wausau area. Northern Wisconsin is fertile Trump territory, and Republicans could use the Trump coalition turning out in significant numbers next month. Republicans also say the Wausau area isn’t quite where Walker needs it. What’s more, Trump causes the most trouble for Republicans in suburban areas, particularly around Milwaukee, and this visit will be miles from there. But will Trump stay on message? And how much will he focus on Walker? The president knows he needs Wisconsin for his 2020 re-election bid, so some see some self-interest in the trip. It also comes with an odd setup as the Washington Post reports White House aides tried to get Trump to skip a Wisconsin trip, arguing Walker is likely to lose. But considering how the Trump administration operates, some speculate, that may just be aides trying to lay the foundation that if Walker loses, it’s not Trump’s fault. But if the guv wins, the president should get credit. Some also question the downsides to the trip. Sure, Trump could say something that offends voters Republicans would like to have on their side this fall — namely suburban women. But could Dems get any more motivated to vote than they already are? The Dem ticket, meanwhile, is set to get a boost of its own with a coveted visit from President Obama next week and Vice President Joe Biden the last week of October, according to sources. Both are expected to stop in Milwaukee, where Dems would love to see a boost in turnout. Meanwhile, former WEDC CEO Paul Jadin makes a splash when he becomes the third former Walker cabinet member to endorse Evers, and he joins former Financial Institutions Secretary Peter Bildsten and former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall in signing a letter that urges a vote for the Dem nominee and decries a lack of integrity in the Walker administration. Not a good look, insiders say. But unless Evers puts it in an ad, it’s a one-day story that is more likely to get the attention of insiders than average voters. Insiders are also taking a wait-and-see approach to the plagiarism allegations against Evers. The issue plagued Dem guv nominee Mary Burke in 2014 after passages of her jobs plan were lifted from three other campaigns. But the real damage was when she stumbled during a news conference when asked to define plagiarism, a moment that lived on in infamy in a TV ad. That will be the key for Evers, some argue. If he answers the charge forcefully, it could become a blip on voters’ screens. But if he stumbles, it could give Walker an opening to put it in paid media and add another to the attacks on his rival.


Civility: Every cycle, there seems to be an attack that makes insiders wonder if it’s a new low. And every cycle, someone finds a way to push the envelope even further. The reality, insiders say, is everything is on the table when it comes to winning, and the tenor coming out of Washington, D.C., helps lower the bar on a regular basis. The latest flare up in Wisconsin is a mailer that accuses GOP Rep. Dale Kooyenga of being drunk on the Assembly floor, “stealing and letting us down.” The allegation of drinking on the floor also comes up in a WisPolitics.com luncheon featuring Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. Fitzgerald calls it “just about the dirtiest kind of politics that happens.” But Shilling counters there’s footage on WisconsinEye of Kooyenga speaking several times on the floor during late-night budget deliberations and “I’m just saying that’s a fact.” That prompts a rebuke from Fitzgerald about not wanting “to go down that road.” Capitol veterans have numerous stories of lawmakers under the influence on the floor, so some see it as a dangerous charge to raise. Whether it’s an effective attack will be up to the voters, and some question if it will backfire. But it is by no means the only piece of nasty mail to hit mailboxes in the closing weeks of a campaign. Just look at the mailer Republicans sent four years ago that showed a man with his pants around his ankles in attacking Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, over a citation during a massage parlor sting. The guv’s campaign has been knocked for a TV ad hitting Dem rival Tony Evers over a teacher behaving inappropriately but keeping his license since it showed a man unbuckling his pants and partially blurred the words “blow job.” The reality, insiders say, is if it works, campaigns are going to use it. It is also a sign of how politics have become more personal and mean-spirited. Just look at what’s coming out of Washington, D.C., these days, some say. It’s hard to imagine the tenor improving anytime soon, not when the president is calling a woman a “horseface” on Twitter.

Psychiatrists: Most Wisconsin counties are still short on psychiatrists. A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum finds more than three-fourths of the state’s counties — or 55, in total — have a “significant shortage,” based on state standards, and 20 have no practicing psychiatrists. That contributes, the analysis says, to the gap of more than 50 percent between adults in the state that need mental health services and those who actually receive care. The issue’s also being exacerbated by the aging of Wisconsin psychiatrists — the average psychiatrist’s age is 50, while 15 percent are 65 or older. And like other issues in the state, the problem also varies along geographic lines. Counties in the northern part of the state are hit hard, with Adams, Lincoln and Taylor counties, among others, going without a full-time psychiatrist. And psychiatrists in that part of the state also tend to be older than those in southeastern and south-central Wisconsin, on average, the report finds.


Nov. 8: WisPolitics.com Post-Election Party in Madison

Join WisPolitics.com for a post-election party running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 8 at the Madison Club.

This bipartisan gathering will help the victors celebrate and the losers cope as the Wisconsin political community transitions into the holiday season and the next legislative session.

The party is free to WisPolitics.com subscribers and members. Others pay a fee of$30 each.

Sponsored by the travel app AMUZ. Explore Wisconsin and the world with AMUZ.

Special guests include:

-Gov. Scott Walker (invited) and state Schools Superintendent Tony Evers (invited)

-Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director at Facebook, a UW-Madison graduate and a member of the Center for Journalism Ethics advisory board at UW who previously worked in national Republican politics.

-Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of CJE, who will introduce Ms. Harbath.

-Political strategists Tanya Bjork on the Democratic side and Michelle Litjens on the Republican side.

-And the WisOpinion Insiders, former legislative leaders Scott Jensen and Chuck Chvala.

-Plus an appearance by NPR’s David Folkenflik.

For registration and more information, visit: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/nov-8-wispolitics-com-post-election-party-in-madison/



Want to know which legislative races are truly in play? Follow the money.

Just more than two weeks out from the Nov. 6 election, the money independent groups are pouring into legislatives races is helping bring into the focus the seats that are the most heavily contested.

But one of the great unknowns continues to be what kind of political environment will settle in by Nov. 6 and how the top of the ticket will impact legislative campaigns.

The following is a second look at the key races to watch with ratings for each seat, based on interviews with insiders and independent expenditures reported to the Ethics Commission.


1st SD, Caleb Frostman, D-Sturgeon Bay

The dynamic here is fairly straightforward, insiders say. Can GOP challenger Andre Jacque get close to the numbers Gov. Scott Walker is expected to put up in the northeastern Wisconsin district?

If he does, Jacque could win his rematch with Frostman, who won their June special election with 51.4 percent of the vote.

A series of Dem groups have been in the district canvassing for Frostman, while Americans for Prosperity has been giving Jacque, R-De Pere, a boost. The Republican State Leadership Committee today announced two radio ads knocking Frostman and backing Jacque. That includes one that seeks to tie the GOP challenger to the guv, saying Jacque has “sided with Governor Scott Walker to cut taxes since he’s been elected.” Meanwhile, the Greater Wisconsin Political Independent Expenditure Fund filed notice with the Ethics Commission today that it dropped $147,241 on TV supporting Frostman and opposing Jacque.

Some question if Jacque will get close enough to the guv to win, and the race continues to be a toss up.

5th SD, open

The race for the Senate seat Republican Leah Vukmir is leaving for a shot at the U.S. Senate was roiled this week by allegations in a mailer that GOP Rep. Dale Kooyenga was drunk on the Assembly floor, a charge he denied in a debate with Dem Julie Henszey, a corporate trainer and outdoor adventure guide.

This is one of several suburban Milwaukee races that comes with an interesting dynamic: it’s both a place that Gov. Scott Walker typically does very well and one where President Trump is struggling.

Whichever dynamic trickles down ballot could go a long way in deciding how this race goes.

As much as the president is struggling here, some insiders say they see a chance for Dems to pick off the seat, but a series of things would have to fall their way.

For now, it remains lean Republican.

17th, Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green

The question in this race hasn’t changed: How much better can Marklein do in this district than the top of the ticket?

Trump is struggling mightily in the district, insiders say, and Dem Tony Evers has a lead in the guv’s race. But what kind of margin can he — and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison — reach here?

In 2012, Marklein won re-election to his Assembly seat with 51.9 percent of the vote even as Republican Mitt Romney won 44.7 percent. Two years later, he won the Senate seat with 55.1 percent of the vote as Walker took 50.4. Marklein’s ability to outperform the top of the ticket is remarkable, though some note he ran against flawed candidates in both of those races.

Kriss Marion, an organic farmer and Lafayette County supervisor, was down by significant margins in early polling. But now that she’s on the air and Dems are starting to realize she’s their candidate, some say, the race has tightened.

It’s still a must-win for Dems to have any shot at taking back the majority this fall, and the race remains a toss up.

19th, Roger Roth, R-Appleton

In addition to holding Frostman’s seat and beating Marklein, the final piece for Dems to turn an 18-15 majority into a 17-16 edge in the Senate is finding one more Republican seat to flip.

That is part of what’s driving the attention on the Appleton-area 19th, even though it typically has a decent GOP lean.

The possible closure of a second Kimberly-Clark plant in the district has been a wild card in the race, though Republicans managed to persuade the company to put off that decision until after a planned post-election extraordinary session to take up an incentive bill for the company.

For Outagamie County Dem Chairwoman Lee Snodgrass to truly have a shot at winning, she’d need a serious blue wave, insiders say.

It remains a lean Republican seat.

23rd open

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has dropped $245,968 on mail, radio and TV hitting Dem Chris Kapsner, an ER doctor, through its WMC Jobs Fund, according to filings with the Ethics Commission. Some say that spending was meant to be an effort to put the race away early, and there aren’t many signs that Dems are planning to match it.

Some had thought this could be a good seat for Dems to play in as they looked for that possible 17th seat. But GOP Rep. Kathy Bernier, of Lake Hallie, looks to have the edge to succeed Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls.

It remains a lean Republican seat.

25th, Janet Bewley, D-Ashland

This northern Wisconsin seat remains one of the more divisive ones as operatives size up the November races.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, has continued to talk up the GOP’s chances in the seat that Trump won two years ago with 51.9 percent, but Bewley took in the 2014 GOP wave with 51.2 percent.

The district has had a Dem lean, but it’s hard for some to gauge if Trump’s performance was a blip or a realignment, and Republicans love their candidate in James Bolen, a resort owner.

The Committee to Elect a Republican Senate also has been putting resources into the seat, and Bolen has been up on TV.

Still, insiders on both sides of the aisle in Madison see a Dem-leaning seat in what looks like a Dem year. That makes them see Bewley as the favorite, though they wouldn’t be surprised by a close race and some see a chance for Republicans to pick it off.

The district remains lean Dem for now.

31st SD, open

The race to replace Dem Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, has largely been quiet in Madison.

Some take that as a sign that Republicans aren’t sure they can win the seat and Dems aren’t thrilled with the idea of former Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, being back in the Capitol.

Some Dems continue to fret that Smith is too liberal for the district in the Eau Claire area and that could come back to bite them. He’s also seen as someone who is unlikely to be a team player in the Senate Dem caucus if he’s elected.

But insiders also aren’t seeing major investments in GOP farmer Mel Pittman by independent groups, though Volunteers for Agriculture reported a $4,400 radio buy for him.

Green Party candidate Aaron Elaine Camacho, of Fountain City, remains a wild card because any votes peeled off Smith could make this race more competitive.

But the seat remains lean Dem.


Top tier

14th, open

There are truly only about a half-dozen seats in the Assembly that insiders on both sides consider to be in the top tier, and this Milwaukee suburban district is one of them.

It also is a prime example of the Trump effect on Republicans with the president struggling badly here, prompting many to see this as one of the Dems’ best pickup opportunities this fall. Though Republicans have typically won this seat by decent margins, Dem Hillary Clinton took it with a plurality at 48.3 percent in 2016.

State GOP Treasurer Matt Adamczyk has gotten a boost from the American Federation for Children and AFP, according to filings with the Ethics Commission. Meanwhile, the Chris Abele-aligned Leadership MKE has launched mail and digital ads supporting Robyn Vining, of Wauwatosa.

Insiders say the top of the ticket isn’t helping Adamczyk right now, making the seat a toss up.

23rd, Jim Ott, R-Mequon

Same suburban Milwaukee issue for Republicans as the 14th, but a little bit better picture.

For one, they have an incumbent in Ott, who built up some name ID during his years as a former meteorologist. Two, the president’s numbers aren’t quite as bad here.

While Republicans say they feel better about this seat than the 14th, Leadership MKE is playing here, too, for Liz Sumner, a member of the Fox Point Village Board, giving Dem chances a boost.

It remains a toss up for now.

50th, open

The southwestern Wisconsin seat looks like one of the most hotly contested on the Assembly map with Dem Art Shrader, who took 42 percent against Brooks in 2016, back for another shot, this time against Republican Tony Kurtz, of Wonewoc.

Trump took 56.7 percent of the vote here two years ago, but isn’t performing nearly as well now, insiders say. Some see a dynamic in western Wisconsin where the farther the districts are from the Illinois border, the less of an effect the president will have on legislative candidates.

Either way, insiders see a battleground to the end, and the seat remains a toss up.

51st, Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville

Take the challenge for Sen. Howard Marklein and add a few points.

Much like Marklein, R-Spring Green, Novak is going to have to run above the top of the ticket to have a chance to win a third term in his rematch with Dem Jeff Wright, a school administrator.

But he doesn’t have a history of being able to outrun the top quite as well as Marklein has.

Two years ago, Novak took 51.3 percent of the vote here as Trump won 46.2, beating Wright by 723 votes as Clinton cratered in many rural districts around Wisconsin. In 2014, Novak won the then-open seat by 65 votes as he took 47.5 percent, while Walker won 47.85.

Trump is upside down here, Evers is up and Baldwin is cruising, insiders say.

The seat remains a toss up.

92nd, Treig Pronschinske, R-Mondovi

When Pronschinske pulled off the surprise win of the night two years ago, he immediately went to the top of the target lists for the 2018 campaign.

But this race will be a test of the possibly Trump-inspired realignment. If moderate GOP voters in the suburbs are going to abandon the party over Trump, will the moderate Dem voters who went for the president two years ago stick with the Republican Party even if the president isn’t on the ballot?

Pronschinske faces Rob Grover, who worked on former Dem Rep. Chris Danou’s 2016 loss, and Republicans say they’re feeling better about their prospects here compared to a month ago.

The race remains a toss up.

96th, open

Like the 92nd, this is another seat that will help gauge whether Trump has inspired a realignment.

The district has long had a reputation for voting Dem at the top of the ticket, but for Republicans at the legislative level. Outgoing Rep. Lee Nerison, R-Westby, built a reputation for being able to survive whatever the top of the ticket threw at him, and some Dems have argued once he retired, the seat was theirs.

But Republicans are feeling better about the environment here, possibly a sign of Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination effect with rural voters. And it remains a toss up between Viroqua farmers Paul Buhr and Loren Oldenburg.

Second tier

13th, Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield

The spending by AFP on Hutton’s behalf caught some off guard considering the race wasn’t on many watch lists going into the cycle. And if the Assembly race matches what Walker is expected to do here, he should be fine. Still, polling shows Hutton isn’t well known in the district — often a problem for suburban Milwaukee Republicans who aren’t in leadership — and Trump’s numbers are mediocre. It might, some say, be more of an effort to make sure there aren’t any surprises in a district that Trump won with just 47 percent.

It starts lean Republican.

The seat is one of several where AFP has spent money that insiders weren’t expecting. That includes the races for Rep. Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond; Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls; and the open 62nd that includes part of Racine and its suburbs. Some see it as wasted money. Others say it’s an insurance policy in suburban districts.

68th, open

The race to replace Rep. Kathy Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, has largely fallen off the map in the GOP’s favor, insiders say. Altoona Police Chief Jesse James, who faces Dem attorney Wendy Sue Johnson of Eau Claire, has become the clear favorite.

It moves from lean Republican to likely Republican.

85th, Pay Snyder, R-Schofield

Republicans have started to worry the Wausau market isn’t exactly where they want it to be just yet, even though they see the guv up here. So the president’s visit next week might help goose things — or it could turn off swing voters. Such is the risk with any Trump rally.

Still, Snyder seems to have an edge on Dem Alyson Leahy, a member of the Marathon County Board.

Insiders also note this is one of several districts where both Walker and Baldwin have managed to lead in their polling. Which race will win out for influencing down ballot contests?

It remains lean Republican.

88th, John Macco, R-Ledgeview

Some of the early buzz about this potentially turning into a race seems to have died down, largely thanks to the efforts of independent groups to shore up Macco. Dems love their candidate in Tom Sieber, a Brown County supervisor. But Trump is doing OK here, and Walker is up by a healthy margin.

The district remains lean Republican.

No longer on the watch list

49, Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, remains likely Republican


The state GOP is calling on Dem guv candidate Tony Evers to identify the state schools employees responsible for the Department of Public Instruction’s failure to properly cite several passages in its budget ask.

“This is about accountability, plain and simple, and Tony Evers needs to answer a very simple question — who is responsible?” Republican Party Executive Director Mark Morgan said in a statement. “Tony Evers cheated on the biggest test he has.”

The party has also filed a records request with the agency for communications and records earlier this year seeking more information on the issue.

A Department of Public Instruction spokesman declined comment. And an Evers campaign spokeswoman referred to an earlier statement from the DPI head, where he said the request “should have used proper citations.”

“That should not distract from the proactive, positive vision we put forth that invests $1.4 billion more in Wisconsin kids,” Evers continued in the statement. “I have high expectations for my team and have directed them to revise our citation protocol to prevent this from happening going forward.”

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign leveled the plagiarism accusation against Evers and his agency today, citing four passages in the agency’s 213-page budget request that includes paragraphs lifted verbatim from other sources without citation or included small changes.

DPI acknowledged that “proper citation use was missed in certain places” of the budget, but spokesman Tom McCarthy said in a statement the agency stands behind its recommendations.

McCarthy didn’t name those responsible for the plagiarizing of the passages in the budget request when asked this morning by WisPolitics.com. Asked whether any disciplinary action is being pursued, he said the department is planning to institute mandatory training.

The four passages Walker’s campaign identified as being plagiarized include: a brief by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability, a workforce and disability group; a blog post by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank based in Washington, D.C.; and two Wikipedia entries.

Walker’s campaign first shared the plagiarism allegations with Politico. The issue previously surfaced in Walker’s 2014 race as then-Dem opponent Mary Burke was accused of lifting entire sections of her jobs plan from three other campaigns. She fired a consultant after BuzzFeed uncovered the lifted passages.

See the GOP request:

See the Politico story:


One Republican senator who’s spearheaded legislation to alter the school referendum process is preparing to introduce five bills next session, including one to combat “electioneering” efforts once the referendum is officially on the ballot.

The push comes as Wisconsin is poised to potentially set a new state record for school referendums, which Sen. Duey Stroebel expects to lead to “renewed interest” in his calls come January.

That’s especially because the current budget pumped $636 million into K-12, a figure Stroebel said many thought would stem the referendum asks from districts.

“I think last session a lot of people thought with the record spending on education that these situations would be mitigated,” the Saukville Republican told WisPolitics.com in an interview this week. “But they’ve been far from mitigated. They’ve even been enhanced further.”

But Dan Rossmiller, of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, noted the “overwhelming amount of money on the ballot” is for facilities, rather than operating budgets.

And he said districts are largely continuing to go to referendum, because some felt the new resources weren’t “sufficient to meet their needs.” Others, he said, are experiencing declining enrollment and butting up against the revenue limit ceiling, and as such their overall revenues are continuing to decline.

“What they (the Legislature) did with the money in the budget was they provided what was basically an increase in resources that simply allowed schools to keep pace with inflation,” he said. “That doesn’t allow us to innovate with things it essentially lets us tread water. It lets us stay in the same place we were before.”

Stroebel’s comments come on the heels of a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum that shows voters next month will be asked to approve some $1.4 billion in school referendums — a figure that could contribute to setting a state record when paired with the $648 million in referendums voters already signed off on this year. If all of the upcoming asks are approved, this year would be the highest since at least 1999 for money raised through school referendums.

Among the bills Stroebel is looking to introduce next session are a few he previously floated: SB 236, which would require school districts to bid out projects if they exceed $75,000; another included in the 2017 state Senate budget proposal that would modify shared costs for districts that go to referendum for operating or debt service costs; and SB 187 to compel districts to disclose the total amount of debt and interest payments related to the asks.

But he’s also looking at two new pieces of legislation, including one that would require funds voters approve via referendum to be used only for what’s stated in the description or listing on the ballot.

The other aims to put a cap on what Stroebel sees as “electioneering” efforts from districts, their employees or third parties they may collaborate with, including general contractors, during the school referendum process.

Stroebel highlighted the effort along with his own SB 236 on bidding, which passed the Senate this session but was never taken up in the Assembly
He criticized so-called “pre-referendum services” he said construction companies offer districts to help them pass school referendums. The bills, he says, would keep referendum costs down and shed more light on the process.

The electioneering bill, Stroebel said, would seek, among other things, to outline the appropriate relationship between a general contractor and school district, including “permissible” communications, who’s able to be involved in those discussions, how the efforts are paid for and how those figures can be disclosed.

Asked about the potential impact on campaign finance law, Stroebel responded: “We don’t think there’s a need to go there, either, to introduce some reasonable legislation.” Still, he cautioned the bill’s still early on in the drafting process and details have yet to be worked out.

As an example of a provision that could be in the bill, Stroebel mentioned dictating what school districts and general contractors are able to say about an upcoming referendum and lay out instances “where you’re venturing into that electioneering area.”

“I believe the general contractors should say, ‘We can deliver you the best building at the most reasonable price,'” he continued. “But unfortunately I think some of them are actually leading with, ‘We’ll get your referendum passed. Give me the contract.’ And that’s really not the purpose that they’re supposed to be serving.”

Rossmiller, of WASB, said many school districts have independently adopted competitive bidding policies. But he added a competitive bidding requirement could be an issue with some districts. That’s because, he said, the districts’ construction season largely runs over the summer months when students aren’t in school, leading to multiple districts competing for proposals during a “compressed” construction timeline. That means, he said, there would likely be limited or singular bids in certain districts because construction companies are “booked up.”

He also noted districts are already prohibited from using tax dollars to advocate for a referendum’s approval; instead, they can only weigh in for informational purposes. But Rossmiller added he’d need to see the language of the bill before weighing in on it.

John Gard, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Construction Group that lists its lobbying interests as “school construction and school referendums,” declined to comment on the electioneering-related language without seeing it.

The former Assembly speaker registered as a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Construction Group on Oct. 4, one day after the Wisconsin Policy Forum released its report detailing the school referendum asks this year.

Gard said “a majority” of the more than 400 school districts across the state don’t have experts on staff to weigh in on potential projects, meaning districts regularly consult with contractors over potential referendum asks.

That system, Gard said in an interview, has “resulted in a fairly good balance” of meeting districts’ needs, while involving the taxpayers and serving students.

He added the issue also involves providing and maintaining local control, as well as “making people appreciate that this is a unique situation where districts just don’t have staff on hand.”

“This idea that fundamentally changing the law is somehow magically going to drive down costs is not, I think, an accurate depiction of how this thing works,” he said.

Stroebel, though, countered he doesn’t see a problem with consultants or general contractors providing consulting services to districts, but said it’s “morphed into, ‘here’s my back office PR machine. We’ll make sure you get your referendum passed.'”

“You have the issues with when they start becoming a behind-the-scenes advocate for something that’s going to line their pockets,” he said. “That’s when I have an issue.”


Shifting political winds at the national level are reducing the chance of a blue wave come November, at least according to GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

The Juneau Republican at a WisPolitics.com luncheon Tuesday cited more favorable congressional and presidential approval ratings as reasons the forecast for the GOP Senate caucus should be read as optimistic.

“There’s probably not a blue wave coming if that holds up for the next three weeks, which I’d be shocked if it fell apart significantly in the next three weeks,” Fitzgerald said.

But the weather vane is pointing in a different direction for Democratic Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, of La Crosse. She referenced Democratic wins in the 10th and 1st Senate Districts in special elections this year combined with an enthusiastic national environment she believes will push her party toward a majority of between 17 and 19 seats.

Fitzgerald disagreed with that assessment, arguing those two wins were anomalies because of erratic special election turnout. If those two districts return to their “natural” numbers and the GOP can reclaim the 1st SD, Fitzgerald believes his party is well on its way to retaining the majority.

For Republicans, the path to victory winds through northeastern Wisconsin, the Appleton area, the southwestern corner of the state and the Milwaukee suburbs, among other places. Dems’ strategy includes keeping incumbent Sens. Janet Bewley and Caleb Frostman, as well as targeting many of the same districts Republicans are focusing on.

Fitzgerald is confident GOP Sen. Roger Roth can stave off a challenge from Dem Lee Snodgrass in the 19th SD in the Fox Valley, and that Howard Marklein can hold his own against Democrat Kriss Marion in southwestern Wisconsin’s 17th SD.

But Shilling pointed toward Roth’s failure to pass legislation addressing the so-called “dark store loophole” as a factor that keeps the race there competitive for Dems.

Fitzgerald also said former Republican Rep. Andre Jacque is in a good position to win back the 1st SD from Frostman, who in a June special election took the vacant Door County-area seat formerly held by Republican Frank Lasee.

But Shilling is confident Frostman can hold the seat, praising his likeability, business acumen and that “he has not taken his foot off the gas” since his win this summer.

Fitzgerald believes the party can also play in northwestern Wisconsin’s 25th SD, where Republican James Bolen is challenging Bewley.

“Bolen … has been probably one of the best challenger candidates I’ve ever worked with,” Fitzgerald said. He added Bewley hasn’t shown she knows how to work the district, giving Bolen a leg up in his mind.

But Shilling countered the 25th SD will lean Democratic in November following patterns seen in this year’s special elections.

Fitzgerald also said Republican Rep. Kathy Bernier has a strong hold on western Wisconsin’s 23rd SD, where she faces Dem physician Chris Kapsner. He highlighted Bernier’s name recognition in the district and her hard work there.

Shilling, however, noted the GOP’s spending in the district signifies it sees Kapsner as a threat. She noted Kapsner’s knowledge of health care, a marquee issue this year, as something that makes him competitive.

In Fitzgerald’s view, the 5th SD, which GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir is vacating, is an easy win for Republican Rep. Dale Kooyenga, who is facing Dem Julie Henszey. Buttressing Fitzgerald’s argument is Kooyenga’s name ID in the area coupled with Vukmir winning the seat with nearly 74 percent of the vote in 2014, though she faced one Libertarian and no Democratic challenger that year.

But Shilling claimed Kooyenga’s slew of “bad headlines” give Dems a chance. Shilling was specifically referring to Kooyenga’s stealing a political sign from the Capitol earlier this year, for which he paid $30,000 in a settlement, and allegations he was drunk on the Assembly floor during budget deliberations in 2015.

“I think character matters, and how you act when you think no one is looking, and what you do,” Shilling said.

Fitzgerald also thinks Republican Mel Pittman has a “real shot” against former Democratic Rep. Jeff Smith in the race to fill outgoing Dem Sen. Kathleen Vinehout’s western Wisconsin seat. He argued Smith has character flaws that the district will take notice of.

“Jeff’s a little wacky. He’s way out there. I think the 31st gets that. It’s going to be close,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald also argued parts of Ron Kind’s 3rd Congressional District across from Minnesota could end up more Republican, mirroring trends in Wisconsin’s western neighbor.

Still, Shilling countered the seat is Smith’s to lose since it’s been in Democratic hands, though never firmly. Shilling admitted Vinehout had an “unorthodox” style of campaigning.

But she continued that Smith — from a more population-dense part of the district — will work hard to court rural voters there.

“He needed to get out there and earn that rural credibility,” Shilling said. “That’s been a Democratic seat, it’s Jeff’s to lose.”

See the WisEye video of the luncheon:


Nov. 14: WisPolitics.com breakfast with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, and will talk about trade, tariffs and the new Congress at a WisPolitics.com breakfast in D.C.

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 14

Time: Breakfast and check-in start at 8 a.m., with program going from
8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Location: AT&T Forum, 5th floor (near Union Station) 601 New Jersey
Avenue NW Washington, DC 20001

Cost: $25

PRE-PAYMENT REQUIRED. Click here to register and pay the $25 fee (put
“Nov. 14 DC event” in purpose of payment line): https://www.wispolitics.com/make-payments/

Sponsors of the WisPolitics DC event series: Michael Best / Michael
Best Strategies, WPS Health Solutions, AARP Wisconsin and Xcel Energy.

Partners: Wisconsin Alumni Association, UW-Madison



Tuesday: 6th CD debate featuring GOP U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman and Dem Dan Kohl.
– 7 p.m.: Miron Forensic Theater at St. Mary Catholic School in Fox Crossing.

Wednesday: President Trump campaign rally.
6:30 p.m.: Central Wisconsin Airport, Mosinee.

Friday: Gubernatorial debate between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Tony Evers.
– 6 p.m.: UW-Milwaukee.

(Check local listings for times in your area)

“UpFront with Mike Gousha” is a statewide commercial TV news magazine show airing Sundays around the state. This week’s show features an analysis panel with former GOP state Rep. MICHELLE LITJENS and JOHN NICHOLS of the Capital Times. Also on the show, ANGELA LANG of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities discusses the group’s get-out-the-vote efforts in Milwaukee.
*See viewing times in state markets here: http://www.wisn.com/upfront/
*Also view the show online each Monday at WisPolitics.com

“Rewind,” a weekly show from WisconsinEye and WisPolitics.com, airs at 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays in addition to being available online. On this week’s episode, WisPolitics.com’s JR ROSS and WisconsinEye’s STEVE WALTERS discuss spending proposals from the guv candidates; President Trump’s upcoming visit to Mosinee; and prospects for a post-election extraordinary session.
*Watch the show: http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12879

Wisconsin Public TV’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. On this week’s program, anchor FREDERICA FREYBERG talks with University of Michigan professor ALEX HALDERMAN on the potential vulnerabilities in Wisconsin’s ballot machines; and SCOT ROSS, of One Wisconsin Now, and BILL McCOSHEN, of Capitol Consultants, weigh in on the general election. Then, Here and Now reporter ZAC SCHULTZ reports on the Emerge program that helps women run for office.

“For the Record,” which normally airs at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WISC-TV in Madison, is preempted this week due to an early NFL game.

“Capital City Sunday” airs at 9 a.m. Sunday on WKOW-TV in Madison, WAOW-TV in Wausau, WXOW-TV in La Crosse and WQOW-TV in Eau Claire. This week, EMILEE FANNON talks with 1st CD Dem RANDY BRYCE and former Gov. TOMMY THOMPSON.

“The Insiders” is a weekly WisOpinion.com web show featuring former Democratic Senate Majority Leader CHUCK CHVALA and former Republican Assembly Speaker SCOTT JENSEN. This week, the two consider whether the hearings to appoint Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will have an impact on the outcome of the November elections.
*Watch the video or listen to the show: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wisopinion-com-the-insiders-discuss-impact-of-kavanaugh-hearings-on-november-elections/

Send items to staff@wispolitics.com

Upcoming WisPolitics.com events in Madison and D.C. include:

*A Nov. 8 WisPolitics.com post-election party at the Madison Club. Guest include Gov. SCOTT WALKER (invited) and Dem candidate TONY EVERS (invited); Facebook Global Politics and Government Outreach Director KATIE HARBATH; Center for Journalism Ethics Director KATHLEEN BARTZEN CULVER; political strategists TANYA BJORK on the Democratic side and MICHELLE LITJENS on the Republican side; and WisOpinion Insiders and former legislative leaders SCOTT JENSEN and CHUCK CHVALA; as well as an appearance by NPR’s David Folkenflik. The party, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m., is free to WisPolitics.com subscribers and members. Others pay a fee of $30 each. Register: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/nov-8-wispolitics-com-post-election-party-in-madison/

*And a Nov. 14 D.C. breakfast with U.S. Rep. RON KIND. The Ways and Means Committee member will discuss trade, tariffs and the new Congress. See more: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/nov-14-wispolitics-com-breakfast-with-u-s-rep-ron-kind/

Waukesha County Clerk KATHLEEN NOVACK has announced she’s planning to step down from her position “shortly after” the conclusion of the Nov. 6 election, following six years of working in that capacity. The Waukesha County Board of Supervisors is seeking applicants to fill the post, which would then be held until the term ends on Dec. 31, 2020. See more: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/waukesha-county-clerk-to-resign-after-completion-of-the-nov-6-general-election/

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has recognized a number of legislators as its 2018 “Champion of Commerce” award winners. The designation goes to any lawmaker with a ranking of 80 percent or higher on MMAC’s Legislative Scorecard, which covers the 2017-18 session. Among the recipients are Senate Majority Leader SCOTT FITZGERALD and Assembly Speaker ROBIN VOS, who both scored 100 percent. See the full list: https://www.mmac.org/uploads/1/1/3/5/113552797/2018_leg_scorecard_final.pdf

ENDORSEMENTS: The following is a list of recent endorsements made for statewide and congressional district elections, based on emails received by WisPolitics.com:

— Governor:

SCOTT WALKER: Dairy Business Association; Volunteers for Agriculture Committee; Tavern League of Wisconsin.


— U.S. Senate:

LEAH VUKMIR: National Right to Life Committee.

— Attorney general:

BRAD SCHIMEL: Dairy Business Association; West Allis Professional Police Association Political Action Committee; Democratic Marathon County DA THERESA WETZSTEON; Republican Vilas County DA MARTHA MILANOWSKI.

— 1st CD:

BRYAN STEIL: NFIB; Rep. AMY LOUDENBECK; MATT LOUDENBECK, of Clinton; former 1st CD candidate KEVIN ADAM STEEN; HANNAH STEEN, of Salem; RON BIGELOW, of Darien; JOHN & RHONDA BROVOLD, of Darien; DELMAR GUNNICK, of Clinton; JIM & SUE HANSON, of Union Grove; RANDY & JULIA HUGHES, of Janesville; KEITH & BETH JACOBSON, of Franksviile; KEN & MARCIA LUETY, of Clinton; KEVIN & KELLY MALCHINE, of Waterford; ROB & JEAN MCCONNELL, of Clinton; ARCH MORTON JR., of Janesville; RANDY PAPKE, of Elkhorn; TERRY PAPKE, of Elkhorn; BOB & TERRI PROCHASKA, of Franksville; BILL & JUDI STONE, of Burlington; STEVE TOWNS, of Janesville; and CHUCK & JUDY WEEKS, of Sharon.

RANDY BRYCE: Former Vice President JOE BIDEN.

— 7th CD:

SEAN DUFFY: Burnett County Sheriff RONALD WILHELM; Florence County Sheriff JEFF RICKABY; Forest County Sheriff JOHN DENNEE; Langlade County Sheriff MARK WESTEN; Lincoln County Sheriff JEFF JAEGER; Marathon County Sheriff SCOTT PARKS; Monroe County Sheriff SCOTT PERKINS; Juneau County Sheriff BRENT OLESON; Oneida County Sheriff GRADY HARTMAN; Polk County Sheriff PETER JOHNSON; Price County Sheriff BRIAN SCHMIDT; Rusk County Sheriff JEFFERY WALLACE; Sawyer County Sheriff DOUG MROTEK; St. Croix County Sheriff SCOTT KNUDSON; Vilas County Sheriff JOSEPH FATH; and Washburn County Sheriff TERRY DRYDEN.

For more Names in the News, see subscriber products from earlier in the week plus the press release page at WisPolitics.com: https://www.wispolitics.com/

For upcoming events, see the “Week Ahead” in this product and in your e-mail Monday morning. Click here for the online calendar: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/events/

If you have a contribution, e-mail staff@wispolitics.com

(from the state Ethics Commission)

Three changes were made to the lobbying registry in the past 10 days.

Follow this link for the complete list:

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