Daniel Bice Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The political mailers have all been sent and recycled, the campaign ads are off the air and all the ballots have now been counted. This is what we can take away from this spring’s general election.
1. Gov. Scott Walker got the message — loud and clear: The biggest losers in the state on Tuesday (April 3rd) were the St. Louis Cardinals (walk-off homer by Ryan Braun), the Boston Celtics (swatted away by Giannis) and Walker. Not only did the second-term Republican governor’s pick for the Supreme Court go down in flames, but the voters also rejected his party’s proposed constitutional amendment to do away with the state treasurer’s office.
And a Walker-endorsed candidate narrowly lost in a race for Waukesha County Circuit Court judge. Yes, in Waukesha County, the base of the Republican Party in Wisconsin, making the governor 0 for 3 for the night. And how did Walker respond? By going to Twitter and blasting his opponents — “driven by anger & hatred” — while most people were still in bed. Hmm, sound familiar?
2. Democrats are deeply motivated to vote: Both Republican and Democratic insiders were in agreement on one thing Tuesday night — a blue wave had just swamped the state. Said one top GOP official: “Dems are pissed at losing.” And at President Donald Trump. And at the National Rifle Association. And just at whatever.
This was never more true than in Dane County, where liberal Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet rolled up an 81% to 19% advantage over conservative Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock.
The numbers have got to worry U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman and House Speaker Paul Ryan at least a little bit — Dallet got about 48% of the vote in their districts — and the Republicans running in the upcoming special elections in June. “You’d have to call out the National Guard to keep Democrats from the ballot box right now,” said a Dem strategist.
3. Eric Holder and his group were massive in the election: One top Democrat had this to say Tuesday night: “The full extent of the weight Holder laid down here isn’t totally understood.” Behind the scenes, the former Obama attorney general and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee pumped $500,000 into local groups for organizing, advertising and getting other groups, especially unions, to help Dallet.
Beyond that, Holder’s outfit successfully sued Walker over his decision not to hold special elections after two GOP lawmakers stepped down to join his administration. The court fight meant two weeks of bad publicity for the governor.
Holder’s help was key, given that the state Democratic Party did next to nothing to help out Dallet. While the Republican Party spent more than $345,000 on Screnock, the Dems gave a single in-kind donation of about $6,000 to her campaign.
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