June 3: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson to headline Newsmaker Lunch Hour

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson will be the featured guest at a virtual event set for noon on Thursday, June 3. This Newsmaker Lunch Hour is presented by a partnership between the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics.com.

Johnson will field questions from a panel of journalists from noon to 1 p.m., moderated by Milwaukee Press Club President Corrinne Hess, reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio.

You must register in advance to view this event. Register here:

The Milwaukee Press Club’s Newsmaker Lunch Hour series is underwritten by presenting sponsor Spectrum News 1.

WisPolitics.com partners with the press club as part of its ongoing event series in Milwaukee, sponsored by UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.


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Quotes of the week

“I am highly concerned that what we are looking at right now is a witch’s brew being concocted with all of the ingredients for stagflation.”
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in a WKOW interview arguing increased wages would likely lead to even higher inflation rates.

“Sen. Ron Johnson doesn’t want his constituents to have higher wages because he’d rather give corporate handouts than create an economy that benefits working people.”
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, in a tweet. 

This week’s news

— New Republican National Committeewoman Maripat Krueger says Wisconsin GOP lawmakers will likely continue to unite behind former President Trump’s policies. 

Krueger told WisPolitics.com she sees the recent call from a conservative group including former Republican Congressmen Reid Ribble and Tom Petri to split from the Republican Party as an outlier. None of the state’s five GOP congressional delegates joined their predecessors. She said they joined together in support of Trump because they saw the same progress and promise fulfillment from the former president as she did.  

Krueger says the move by Ribble and Petri likely won’t have much traction in Wisconsin. 

“Watching President Trump in office, it’s one of the first times I’ve seen a president make promises and actually keep them,” Krueger said. “That was pretty significant and why he has garnered as much support as he has; because he actually got things done.”  

She says much of the support for Trump in Wisconsin has solidified as Republicans have grown even wearier of Biden during his first few months in office over First and Second Amendment infringement concerns.

The former vice chair of the state Republican Party says many Republicans are especially concerned about their voices being silenced on social media. And they’re concerned about at least some of the gun legislation going through Congress right now. 

She also said Republican voters are unhappy with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ pandemic response — his decision to close K-12 schools for months and the guv’s lack of help for small businesses. 

“I mean it’s been heart-wrenching to see what our small business owners have had to go through to keep their small businesses alive,” Krueger said.

Evers has been distributing millions of dollars in federal relief funds to small businesses.

The one-time Bush campaign coordinator for Dunn County added she’s seen a strong Republican grassroots effort to elect GOP candidates in all levels of government. And she said that effort should lead to a stronger state party full of candidates who truly know what their constituents want. 

But no matter what happens for Krueger, she said her predecessor and fellow Wisconsinite Mary Buestrin, a 29-year veteran of the position, will be on speed-dial to offer advice. 

Listen to the interview: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/gops-new-national-committeewoman-maripat-krueger-says-gop-likely-continue-to-unite-supporting-trump/s-OIWYzpT6QF9


— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman praised the Air America Act heading for a House vote, saying it recognizes Americans who risked their lives fighting communism.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee member says he is honored to join a bipartisan group of delegates recognizing the roughly 1,000 Air America employees who flew formerly top-secret missions for the CIA and others during the Cold War. The bill would ensure that those Air America vets who qualify for retirement benefits under the law receive those previously denied benefits while recognizing their contribution to the military and nation. 

The legislation passed a unanimous House Oversight and Reform Committee vote this week. 

“Congress has twice passed corrective legislation for other covert CIA-affiliated groups,” Grothman said. “Hopefully, today is the beginning of the end of Air Americans’ long struggle to receive the recognition they deserve for their service to our country.”

See the release.


— Wisconsin will have to maintain its current funding commitment to K-12 schools to ensure districts qualify for the full $1.5 billion in federal money that’s part of the latest COVID-19 package, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

And the Legislature won’t know for sure if its K-12 spending plan meets that standard until lawmakers finish their work on the state budget. That’s because the share of general purpose revenue going to K-12 will be impacted by how much the Legislature decides to spend overall with its version of the budget.

The requirement will complicate calls from some Republicans to hold flat state spending for K-12 education because of the federal money flowing to schools as part of the three relief packages. Doing that would require overall spending in the state budget to remain largely unchanged. Otherwise, the state’s commitment to K-12 would fall short of the federal requirement.

See more here


— The state Elections Commission has identified 13 cases of possible voter fraud specific to the fall 2020 election with questions about another 16 voters who cast ballots last fall, according to materials prepared for a meeting next week.

Of the 13 cases, six involved voters who may have cast ballots in two different municipalities, while three may have voted both in person and absentee in November, according to information submitted to the commission from municipal clerks.

The commission also received information on 22 voters in La Crosse County who registered using the address of a UPS store. Of those, 15 cast absentee ballots last fall while one voted in-person.

President Biden defeated former President Trump in Wisconsin by 20,608 votes out of nearly 3.3 million cast.

See more here


— State Sen. Chris Larson, of Milwaukee, filed to run for the U.S. Senate, the latest Dem to join a growing field looking to unseat GOP incumbent Ron Johnson.

While Larson registered to run for the Senate, he hasn’t publicly announced his campaign. He also didn’t respond to a voice mail or a text from WisPolitics.com seeking comment.

Larson, 40, was a Milwaukee County supervisor when he knocked off Sen. Jeff Plale in the 2010 Dem Senate primary and went on to win the seat. He then ran unsuccessfully for Milwaukee County exec in 2016 and 2020.

See more here


— Steven Olikara, who co-founded the Millennial Action Project to bridge the partisan divide, announced he is forming an exploratory committee to look at running for the U.S. Senate as a Dem.

Olikara said he will take the summer for what he’s calling a “Dignity Tour” to speak with Wisconsinites as he considers a bid. The first stop will be at a local Milwaukee brewery.

“My political ethos is fundamentally about listening with a lot of humility and dignity,” Olikara told WisPolitics.com in an interview. “Announcing this exploratory committee is the most authentic way I know to invite Wisconsinites to be involved as co-authors of this journey of crafting our agenda for dignity, of crafting the movement that we’re trying to build.”

See more here


— The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, elected officials and others will address the party’s virtual state convention next month.

The party had previously announced that electeds such as Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, will address the event June 5. It has now released a fuller agenda that includes speeches from U.S. Senate candidates the morning of June 6.

The party expects the official business component of the virtual convention will be viewable by the public and media the afternoon and evening of June 5. The same goes for June 6, when the party will debate the platform and resolutions. Also, the winners of party officer elections will be announced after the window to vote closes June 6. Chair Ben Wikler is unopposed for another two-year term.

See the agenda.


— Attorneys for former President Trump have been granted a second deadline extension to respond to a motion seeking to recover legal fees from the failed effort to overturn the state’s election results.

Trump and his attorneys had already been given an extension until June to file a response after they noted a number of conflicts, including personal events and travel. Gov. Tony Evers and several Wisconsin municipalities are seeking to recover legal fees.

The Trump attorneys filed an unopposed motion to give them until July 12 to file a response due “to a variety of factors including unforeseen filings and responsibilities for Plaintiff’s counsel in other matters Plaintiff reasonably requires an additional enlargement of the time in which to respond.”

See more here


— The 3rd District Court of Appeals has denied a request from GOP leaders for an expedited decision on their motion in a redistricting case.

The GOP leaders want to stay a Dane County judge’s ruling voiding contracts they signed with two law firms in anticipation of a redistricting lawsuit.

The attorneys for Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, had asked the appeals court to rule by tomorrow on their request to put the ruling on hold as they appeal the merits of the case.

See more here


— Rep. Treig Pronschinske says he supports a bill that would preempt new federal gun laws because he wants to protect Wisconsin gun owners from politicians who want to take their weapons.

The bill, up for a public hearing in the Assembly State Affairs Committee, would prohibit enforcing federal laws that take effect on or after Jan. 1 this year if they ban or restrict assault weapons or magazines or require registration of firearms, magazines, or other firearm accessories among other things. It would also prohibit any state or local agency from spending money or using other resources to confiscate lawfully possessed firearms.

One federal proposal the state bill would undercut is a bill that would ban private gun sales without a background check. That bill passed the Dem-controlled U.S. House on a 227-203 vote this year and now awaits a Senate decision.

See more here


— Senate Republicans have tapped Tom Engels, who headed the Health Resources and Services Administration under former President Trump, to be the next sergeant-at-arms.

Engels will begin June 1, according to the office of Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg. The Senate plans to formally vote on his hire during its first floor date in June.

If confirmed, he would replace Ted Blazel, who was appointed Assembly chief clerk in March.

See more here


— The window is now open to apply for $420 million in small business grants funded with the latest COVID-19 federal relief funds.

Gov. Tony Evers announced this morning the application deadline runs through June 7. The grants are expected to help up to 84,000 businesses that have gross revenue between $10,000 and $7 million. The awards will be $5,000 each.

See the release.


— Fox News Channel has named Rachel Campos-Duffy co-host of “Fox and Friends Weekend.”

Campos-Duffy also had been under consideration as a host during the week. Insiders have been watching whether a possible hosting job with the network would impact a decision by her husband, former GOP U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, on a possible bid for Senate or guv in 2022.

Sean Duffy has been working as a Fox News contributor and joined the lobbying firm BGR Group, where he is co-lead of the financial services practice.

See more here.

Posts of the week







Sen. Ron Johnson: Russia Pipeline, Other Actions Show Biden’s ‘Weakness’

As a congressional ban on earmarks is lifted, some Wisconsin lawmakers request millions for their districts, others nothing

Sen. Baldwin pushes for tax on opioid manufacturers to fund substance abuse treatment

Ron Johnson: Fauci, media ‘finally being honest’ about Wuhan lab leak theory

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