‘UpFront’: NextGen America plans large presence in WI to register, engage young voters

Tom Steyer, the California hedge fund billionaire who launched NextGen America, said the group will have a large presence in Wisconsin to engage and register young voters ahead of the 2018 election.

“We’re going to be on 35 campuses, including four community colleges,” Steyer said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“We’re going to have over 50 people working on it, and the idea is to get as many young voters engaged in the process, participating in our democracy, so we get the most just and the most intelligent decisions coming forward,” he said.

Steyer is targeting Gov. Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, for defeat.

“When we look at Wisconsin, you know we can see that Gov. Walker and Speaker Ryan are people who have been on the extreme right in the United States, that Wisconsin has been a place where there has been an attempt to restrict voting, as opposed to what we’re trying to do, which is have the broadest possible democracy,” he said.

“We feel like it’s absolutely incumbent to give the people of Wisconsin, particularly the young people, a chance for their voices to be heard, and their votes to be counted,” Steyer said.

Steyer also discussed his campaign to impeach President Trump. Steyer has been running television ads for several months asking people to sign a national petition calling for Trump’s impeachment.

“We have over 5 million people who have signed our petition, calling for the impeachment of this reckless and lawless president, and we feel that every single day the evidence mounts that this is a man who does not respect the rule of law, who is dangerous to our democracy and dangerous to the health and safety of the American people,” Steyer said.

In another segment, two consultants discussed the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court ahead of the election on Tuesday.

“Progressives and Democrats are much more motivated in this spring election, really than we ever have been,” said Democratic campaign consultant Tanya Bjork.

Republican communications consultant Brian Fraley of Edge Messaging noted a difference in enthusiasm levels between liberals and conservatives.

“A lot of conservatives maybe have taken this race for granted, have been slow to wake up, in part because the campaigns have been slow to mature,” Fraley said.

Fraley said Republican voter turnout efforts will be key for Judge Michael Screnock on Tuesday. The race is officially non-partisan.

“I think it will come down to the established, turnkey get-out-the-vote operation that Republicans have built up over the last 10 years. Is that enough to get a horse race, neck-and-neck campaign over the final hurdle?” Fraley said.

Bjork said turnout among female suburban voters will be important for Judge Rebecca Dallet.

“I think women are paying more attention to this time period in politics and in campaigns, and I think particularly to this race. There is a really stark contrast between these two candidates on issues that women care about,” she said.

Also on the program, Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, discussed the special elections coming up for two vacant legislative seats.

Democrats forced Gov. Scott Walker’s hand in calling the elections by filing a lawsuit. Walker, who had said waiting until the regular November election would save taxpayers money, called the elections for June.

“Only Republicans could say that democracy is too expensive, we just can’t afford the money for elections to let the people have representation,” Hintz said.

Hintz said Democrats are ready to run in the 42nd Assembly District, which was held by Republican Keith Ripp until he resigned Dec. 29 to join Walker’s administration.

“We’ve been ready for the 42nd Assembly seat for months because we thought that this was a likely outcome,” Hintz said.

He said the district is more competitive than the western Wisconsin Senate district Democrats won in a special election in January.

“In my time in office, I’ve never seen enthusiasm like this,” Hintz said.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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