Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly: https://forms.gle/YLYZtJWHPSt24HhZ7
Quotes of the week
“He’s telling states that we’re largely on our own…”
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, responding to Vice President Pence’s Janesville visit.
“It is not the legitimate role of government, or for Congress, or for taxpayer expense to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.”
– U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said in a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee meeting on a probe led by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, into the Biden family. See more on the probe in an item below.
This week’s news
— Wisconsin Republican National Committeeman Tom Schreibel feels the race between President Trump and Joe Biden may be closer than polls currently suggest.
“If you look at the polling four years ago in how the national trends tracked compared to what the results were, I think that you have to use that same analysis and put some type of hedge within the poll,” he said. “I’ve never seen this type of intensity this early in a race prior to Labor Day driving around, and it’s only picking up even further as we get into the final stretch here.”
Schreibel, a partner at Michael Best Strategies and former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, told WisPolitics.com he expects Trump to focus on moving the economy forward if he wins a second term in office.
If Trump loses, Schreibel anticipates the Republican Party will make changes that could reach as far as current GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. But he added he didn’t expect the party to “take a 180 degree turn from where we’re at today” in that scenario.
See the interview:
— Joe Biden has an edge on President Trump in a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post, the latest survey in Wisconsin to show the former vice president in the lead.
The poll released Wednesday found 52 percent of likely voters backed Biden, while 46 percent supported Trump. The poll did not explicitly ask about Libertarian Jo Jorgensen.
Meanwhile, a CNN poll released earlier this week has Biden leading Donald Trump by 10 points among likely Wisconsin voters, a larger edge for the Dem nominee than in other public polls conducted following the violent protests in Kenosha.
Fifty-two percent of likely voters backed Biden, while 42 percent favored Trump. Libertarian Jo Jorgensen was at 3 percent.
Those two polls are at least the seventh publicly released since the turmoil in Kenosha showing the president’s support among likely voters in the low- to mid-40s.
The others include:
*43 percent, New York Times/Siena College Sept. 8-10;
*45 percent, AARP Aug. 28-Sept. 8;
*44 percent, CBS Sept. 2-4;
*43 percent, Marquette Law School Aug. 30-Sept. 3;
*42 percent, Fox News, Aug. 29-Sept. 1.
See the full ABC News/Washington Post results.
See the CNN polling overview.
— President Trump will be in Mosinee tonight for a campaign rally at an airport, his fifth visit to Wisconsin this year.
It will be the third time he’s been in the state since mid-August.
Like with other campaigns since the president got back on the trail, those signing up for tickets for the event at Central Wisconsin Aviation are required to sign a waiver acknowledging the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public event.
— Vice President Mike Pence in a campaign stop in Janesville renewed his attack on Joe Biden as a “Trojan horse for the radical left” while touting President Trump’s coronavirus response and support for law enforcement.
Pence focused much of his 38-minute address during the Sept. 14 event on the Dem presidential nominee, labeling Biden a “cheerleader for communist China” and slamming him for supporting NAFTA and Planned Parenthood.
But beyond criticism of “the most extreme platform of any major party candidate in U.S. history,” Pence repeated a familiar refrain: “The choice in this election is whether America remains America.”
“We’ve got to decide right here and right now that we are going to fight to leave our children and grandchildren a country grounded in our highest ideals,” Pence told a crowd of a few hundred during a rally at the Janesville Holiday Inn Conference Center.
Pence also dedicated a portion of his speech to praising the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the January decision to suspend travel from China “bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War II” before commending nation testing efforts.
— Tammy Baldwin still supports a Trump administration plan to speed up the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine but is also concerned about “continued political interference” in COVID-19 response.
Baldwin in July expressed her support for Operation Warp Speed, saying at an event hosted by WisPolitics.com the Trump administration’s plan to accelerate vaccine testing was “one of the few things that they’re getting right.”
“I support this approach and frankly, I will tell you that it’s the same approach that I was pushing for from the very beginning of this pandemic with regard to things like PPE, the face masks, the gloves, the gowns for healthcare workers, what I was pushing for testing supplies and reagents,” Baldwin said at the time.
She has since sent several letters to the Trump administration asking to place high importance on science, advice from health officials and full transparency in the search for a vaccine.
While Baldwin was happy with the speed of vaccine development, she expressed concerns over “intense political pressure” and an accelerated timeline undermining public confidence in the safety and quality of a vaccine in a Sept. 16 letter sent with colleagues on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris raised similar concerns, echoing doubts over the efficacy of the Trump administration potentially silencing the advice of scientists and health officials on the efficacy of a novel coronavirus vaccine in a CNN interview.
“If past is prologue … they’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined,” Harris said. “Because he’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days, and he’s grasping to get whatever he can to pretend he has been a leader on this issue when he is not.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the agency has always based its decisions on science, data and evidence.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield said on Wednesday a vaccine will not be available to most Americans until late spring or summer of 2021.
See the Baldwin letter.
See the July event.
— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said he will soon reveal his investigative report on the “obviously glaring conflicts of interest” of Hunter Biden’s tenure as a board member to a Ukrainian energy company during his father’s time as vice president.
Johnson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, called Ukrainian energy company Burisma “thoroughly corrupt,” and suggested Biden and other Obama administration officials knew about it while his son served on the board.
“Stay tuned,” the Oshkosh Republican said at a virtual event ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the state Sept. 14. “In about a week, we’re going to learn a whole lot more of Vice President Biden’s unfitness for office.”
Johnson previously said the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee has received records indicating the Dem public affairs firm Blue Star Strategies “sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s role as a board member of Burisma to gain access to, and potentially influence matters at, the State Department.”
— The NRCC has elevated 3rd CD candidate Derrick Van Orden to the highest level of its “Young Guns” program.
To reach that level, candidates have to meet a series of benchmarks and “establish a clear path to victory,” according to the NRCC website. Currently, 51 candidates have qualified for the designation, which is used to designate the most competitive seats in the 2020 cycle.
Van Orden faces western Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, in the November election.
See more on the Young Guns program.
— The Green Party is weighing legal options after the state Supreme Court rejected its suit seeking to place presidential candidate Howie Hawkins on the Wisconsin ballot.
Otherwise, party backers will have to look at a write-in campaign for Hawkins and vice presidential candidate Angela Walker.
In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled it was too late to grant the relief the Green Party was seeking with many communities having already printed ballots. The court also worried that ordering the printing and mailing of new ballots could create confusion for those voters who had already received and possibly returned the original ballot.
Hawkins told WisPolitics.com in a phone interview the party had a hard time finding a lawyer to take the case, eventually searching online until finding someone. He says the party filed the suit as soon as it could.
— Three days after saying an appeal to the state Supreme Court was planned, Kanye West’s attorneys still aren’t returning messages on whether he’ll move forward with his lawsuit seeking to get on Wisconsin’s ballot.
The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Green Party waited too long to file its lawsuit seeking to place presidential candidate Howie Hawkins on the ballot. Legal observers have said that decision was a blow to West’s hopes to be added as well.
As of Wednesday afternoon, West hadn’t filed a notice of appeal with the Brown County judge who rejected his lawsuit late last week. He also hadn’t filed anything with any federal courts based in Wisconsin.
On Sunday night, West’s attorney emailed WisPolitics.com to say an appeal was planned with the state Supreme Court. Gregory Erickson hasn’t returned phone calls or emails since. Typically, an appeal of a circuit court decision would go to an appeals court first before the justices would take the case.
— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher said a new bill he is pushing will not only revitalize industries, but transform them.
The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by the Green Bay Republican, calls for $100 billion to build resources in advancing science and technology research and development nationwide.
It also proposes expansion of the National Science Foundation and $10 billion for regional technology hubs. Those hubs would help to launch companies, revive U.S. manufacturing and create jobs that jump-start communities.
“It’s also a matter of building off of our fundamental strengths as a state,” he told viewers of a virtual event. “We talk about the Wisconsin Idea… I think we need to think hard about how we revitalize and modernize the Wisconsin Idea, and so the Endless Frontier Act would be one part of that. We really have an opportunity right now… Wisconsin could position itself, if we got our act together, to be a destination of choice for a lot of top-level talent.”
Gallagher and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., the legislation’s major co-sponsors, headlined part two of the “Shaping the Endless Frontier” series hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Technology Council and Michael Best Strategies.
— U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, introduced bipartisan legislation to support family farmers and preserve the future of Wisconsin dairy.
See the release.
— U.S. Rep Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, introduced a bill to increase insulin competition and affordability.
See the release.
Posts of the week
September is National #RecoveryMonth. Today, I’m wearing a purple mask to support Wisconsinites who have struggled with addiction and am praying for those in #recovery. #CongressGoesPurple pic.twitter.com/qkGgs02kZ4
— Rep. Glenn Grothman (@RepGrothman) September 16, 2020
— Rep. Ron Kind (@RepRonKind) September 11, 2020