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Quotes of the week

“There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”
-Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien ahead of The Associated Press and CNN calling the presidential race in Wisconsin for Joe Biden.

“We expect and we believe that we have already won Wisconsin. We have a very clear sense of the votes that are there, the votes that are in, and we are very confident that Wisconsin is ours and we will continue to stay ahead there.”
-Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon ahead of the calls by AP and CNN.


This week’s news

— Marquette University Law School poll Director Charles Franklin says a full postmortem will be needed to dissect why pollsters missed the mark in the presidential election in Wisconsin. 

But added he’s open to the idea that problems with polling in the last two presidential elections could be unique to elections featuring Donald Trump.

“It is striking that this phenomenon, not just for us but for all pollsters this year, seems so specific to Trump elections,” Franklin told WisPolitics.com Editor JR Ross. “Maybe it does have something to do with Trump voters.” 

Franklin identified a number of issues pollsters have encountered trying to forecast support among the president’s backers including: having more difficulty reaching them and seeing them turn out in higher-than-expected numbers to support.

“I think these are all issues,” he said. “If 2016 put them on the examining table, they’re all on the emergency room table now after (Tuesday) night’s polling errors.”

Franklin’s Marquette poll consistently showed Biden with a 5-point edge over Trump in the closing months of the campaign with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 points. With 3.24 million votes cast in the presidential election, the margin of 20,517 votes stood at 0.6 percentage points, according to unofficial returns.

See the latest installment in the DC Wrap Interview Series:

— The Associated Press called Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes for Joe Biden shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday, putting a key state in the former vice president’s column in a presidential race being decided by razor-thin margins in multiple states. 

CNN, NBC, CBS and Fox News also called the state for Biden. 


— As the Trump campaign cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties” in wanting an immediate Wisconsin recount, the state’s top election official heaped praise on local clerks for running an “excellent election.”

“I think that, again, our local election officials followed every rule with precision, and it’s really something that we should all have a great deal of pride in,” Elections Commission Administrator Megan Wolfe told reporters yesterday.

Biden, in an address this afternoon after The Associated Press and CNN called Wisconsin for him, said he won Wisconsin by “virtually the same margin” as Trump did four years ago.

“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners,” he said.

In a morning briefing before the race was officially called in Wisconsin, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon criticized Trump’s rhetoric over the night sowing doubt about the electoral process and arguing clerks should stop counting ballots. 

She said Biden would still be the next president even if Trump “got his wish and we stopped counting votes right now.”

Trump later tweeted election officials are “finding Biden votes all over the place” in Wisconsin and two other Midwestern battleground states. Both the president and campaign manager Bill Stepien cast doubt on the validity of the results, and set the stage for coming legal battles.

Wolfe declined to respond directly when asked about Trump’s tweets but went on to say it was “insulting” to local officials “to say that (Tuesday’s) election was anything but an incredible success.”

“Elections are such a deliberate, meticulous process where each of our local election officials in our local communities are conducting this process in a public setting,” she said. “Every piece of data is publicly available, and so there’s no opportunity to add additional votes to the tally.”

See more here.


— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, squeezed by former Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden after a closer-than-expected race in the state’s 3rd CD.

Kind declared victory early yesterday morning with a 11,448 vote with 99.34 percent of the vote tallied. The Associated Press called the race for him some five hours later.

All seven of Wisconsin’s House incumbents have won re-election, though the 3rd CD was the only race that was considered competitive going into the fall. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, easily won the open 5th CD.

Kind’s 2.96 point margin is his closest margin of victory since winning the seat in 1996. 

Van Orden, of Hager City, in a statement yesterday afternoon thanked his wife and supporters for their help in the campaign, adding that he’s praying for the La Crosse Dem, “as we do for all our elected leaders.” 

“We are first and foremost Wisconsinites and Americans and we support our elected leaders,” he said. “God bless Wisconsin and the United States of America.” 

He outraised Kind in back-to-back fundraising periods this year and also got a boost from the Congressional Leadership Fund, which backs GOP House candidates but ultimately pulled out and shuffled its money elsewhere. But Kind’s warchest hit $3.1 million in 2020, and he used that to dramatically outspend Van Orden down the stretch.

Over the final five weeks, Kind and his backers spent $2.3 million on broadcast TV, cable, radio and digital, according to Advertising Analytics. Meanwhile, Van Orden and the groups backing him spent nearly $1.3 million.

Kind became an instant target after President Trump won his district by 4.5 percentage points in 2016 as the La Crosse Dem was unopposed. Two years later, Kind won reelection with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

His previous closest winning margin was nearly 3.8 percentage points in 2010.

In other House races:

*U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, is set to return to Washington for a second term after defeating Dem challenger Roger Polack 59.35 percent to 40.65 percent.

*U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, won a fifth term in the House by defeating Republican challenger Peter Theron by a margin of 69.7 percent to 20.3 percent.

*U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, also cruised to reelection by 32.5 points over Republican challenger Tim Rogers 74.7 percent to 22.7 percent with independent Robert Raymond taking 2.5 percent of the vote. Her race was the first to be called by the AP, and she will return to Washington for a ninth term in Congress.

*Fitzgerald is set to succeed U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the dean of the state’s congressional delegation, after defeating Dem challenger Tom Palzewicz. The Juneau Republican won by 20 point margin.

*U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, will return to Washington for a fourth term in the House after defeating Dem challenging Jessica King. Grothman garnered 59.26 percent of the vote while 40.74 percent backed King.

*In a rematch of a May special election, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, again defeated Dem challenger Tricia Zunker. Tiffany beat Zunker by a margin of 60.76 percent to 39.24 percent.

*U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, defeated state Rep. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, to win a third term in office by a margin of 63.98 percent to 36.02 percent.


— Biden’s campaign and his backers outspent the Trump effort nearly 2-1 on TV, cable, radio and digital ads combined in Wisconsin since the state’s April 7 primary, dropping $81.8 million compared to $46.2 million for Trump’s side.

Of that, according to Advertising Analytics, the Biden campaign directly spent just under $37 million, while Trump’s campaign spent just under $10.9 million. 

That advantage narrowed somewhat in the final week, with pro-Biden forces spending $8.9 million and Trump and his backers spending $5.9 million since Oct. 26.

See charts below from Advertising Analytics tracking overall ad spending and spending by market. The charts include data from the beginning of 2020, with spending from primary candidates removed.

See overall spending here.

See spending by market here.


— Eight Wisconsinites raised at least $100,000 for Joe Biden and his campaign’s affiliated joint fundraising committees, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore.

The other five are: Gary Czaplewski, Fox Point; Patrick Guarasci, a Dem fundraiser and operative in Milwaukee; Alex Lasry, vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks; businessman John W. Miller, of Milwaukee; and Chuck Pruitt, a former University of Wisconsin regent from Shorewood.

See the full list here.


Posts of the week


Why a Wisconsin recount wouldn’t likely save Trump

Trump campaign says it plans to ‘immediately’ request recount in Wisconsin

Hunter Biden allegations likely why Obama didn’t encourage Biden to run for president: Sen. Johnson

Navy to name new submarine the USS Wisconsin following push from Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Rep. Ron Kind wins in western Wisconsin as voters chose Scott Fitzgerald in Milwaukee’s suburbs

Tiffany thanks supporters, shares priorities for 1st full term

President Trump returns to Wisconsin for election eve rally in Kenosha, his 5th trip to the state in recent weeks

AP VoteCast: Wisconsin voters sour on state of nation

Wisconsin manufacturing workers divided on Trump, despite broken promises


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