What Happened Last Night and What’s Ahead This Fall
Governor’s race: This
is going to be very tough. Walker has a built-in money machine and he’s shown
that despite having no charisma he can fire up a crowd. Mary Burke won strongly last night,
but many are puzzled about her campaign’s decision to keep it low key, only
sending out a statement and sticking with a fundraiser Up North. Face it: Burke
is not a typical politician who will stomp over anyone to get in front of a
camera. I think that she is holding her powder until it’s really necessary.
She’s run a very conservative campaign already, is campaigning on ending
political division, and is tied with Walker in the polls. Walker has given her
plenty of material to work with if she wants to go negative. I’m not sure
that’s her style. Her surrogates’ style, sure. But I think she is going to try
to remain above the fray. Walker, of course, will show up anywhere to get
race: John Lehman won last night,
but only with 55% of the vote against a virtual unknown. This could be GOP
shenanigans or a protest vote by Dems against the establishment. No matter
what, the Burke-Lehman ticket balances nicely, adding his southeastern
Wisconsin to her Madison base, and he's a strong advocate for public
education and the environment who understands the Legislature well.
race: This is going to be fascinating. Susan Happ should rightly be
proud of her commanding victory in this race, which drew three highly qualified
Democrats. She jumped into the race late and didn’t have the fundraising
apparatus, name recognition or obvious urban base as her opponents. But she set
herself apart by being a female prosecutor in a rural area who rides a Harley
and owns a gun. I wonder how much of her victory was due to her relatively
moderate stance on drunken driving as well. In November she’ll face Waukesha DA
Brad Schimel, who has engaged in some pretty partisan deals while in office
(like letting Scott Jensen get off with a slap on the wrist). The Democrats’
statewide ticket now has two very strong women at the top of it. Both are
relative outsiders who balance each other out. Burke is more reserved and
running on her business experience; Happ is your gun-toting neighbor who can
kick your ass in court. And, yes, they’re Democrats.
No real surprises here: Gwen Moore and Rob Zerban won their primaries handily. I won’t
comment on the general insanity of the Republican race in District 6—the
candidates or the ballot counting.
Assembly races: As
predicted, incumbents JoCasta Zamarippa and Leon Young won last night, but the
open seats were much more volatile. The low turnout combined with multiple
candidates, including spoiler candidates recruited by Chris Abele, made AD 10
and AD 19 hard to pin down. Congratulations to David Bowen (AD 10) and Jonathan Brostoff (AD 19) for winning
decisive victories in very tough campaigns. (Brostoff still needs to face
Pirate Party candidate Joe Klein in November.) Both Bowen and Brostoff are
strong progressives who have tons of energy and ideas and will serve their
constituents well. Many are surprised by Brostoff’s win over Marina Dimitrijevic, but I’m not. The
Shepherd consulted with AD 19 leaders for our endorsement and the clear choice
was Marina. But Brostoff had strong support within that endorsement panel and I
can’t tell you how many people pulled me aside while I was out and about during
the day to let me know that they were supporting Brostoff. He worked hard for
this win and should be proud of it.
County races: If you
need more confirmation that Republicans voted in the Democratic primary for
sheriff, take a look at the ballots cast. The sheriff’s race generated 113,740
votes. The other county-wide race, between David Cullen and Dawn Marie Sass for
treasurer, generated just 72,221 votes—a difference of 41,519. Clarke’s already
inflated ego has just stretched further with this win. But, apparently, that’s
what Milwaukee County wants—unless independent candidate Angela Walker defeats
him this fall.
On to November.