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Republican Convention Shows Why Wisconsin Needs New Leadership PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Saturday, 13 May 2017 16:37

scott-walkerMADISON - The second day of the Republican Party of Wisconsin's state convention made it crystal clear that our state needs new leadership. The entire speaking program featured the same failed ideas that snatch away opportunities from Wisconsinites and prevent them from pursuing the American Dream. 

Republican leaders lauded President Trump's health care bill which will mean real harm for Americans across our nation while doling out massive tax giveaways for the rich. Average Wisconsinites will feel the impact of Trumpcare in the doctor’s office and in their checkbook, but Republican leaders didn't seem to care about the plight of the average Wisconsinite at their annual convention in Wisconsin Dells. 

Time and again, Republicans like Governor Scott Walker and Speaker Paul Ryan touted cherry-picked economic statistics to paint a rosy picture of the state's economy, but the real story is that Wisconsinites are hurting. At no point in the last thirty years have more residents in our state lived in poverty. After six years of being sold the idea that tax giveaways for those at the top will turn our state's economy around, families are working harder than ever before but still can't seem to get ahead. The state is 32nd in the nation in private sector job growth, dead last in entrepreneurial activity, and our roads are the fourth worst in the nation - a detriment for retaining or creating new jobs and businesses.

"Democrats know that Wisconsin families deserve a chance to pursue the American Dream, but all we hear from state Republicans are ideas that unfairly rip that opportunity away. The same failed policies only stand to help a select few, but Wisconsinites need an economy that works for them all - not just those at the very top," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Saturday. "Today's convention was the clearest evidence yet that Wisconsin needs Democratic leadership in order to create economic opportunity for every household in our state."

A Rough Week for the WI GOP PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Saturday, 13 May 2017 16:25

republicanMADISON - Wisconsin Republicans are convening this weekend for the annual state GOP convention. As they gather, here’s a quick recap of how their week has been so far. Hint: it’s not been great. From dealing with a crowded Senate primary with no clear front-runner, to attacking each other for their party affiliation and scrambling to proclaim who the “real conservative” is, we’re betting there will be some animosity at the Wisconsin Dells.

Associated Press: Wisconsin Republicans Worry About Crowded Senate Primary
“Wisconsin Republicans are growing increasingly worried about the high number of candidates running in a primary to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, fearing a repeat of the crowded 2012 race that put her in office.

With at least seven possible Republican Senate candidates making the rounds, to some the dynamic is looking eerily familiar to 2012. That year four Republicans slugged it out in an expensive and negative primary that left nominee Tommy Thompson, the former four-term governor, bruised and broke.
“Westrate [chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Party] said he would feel better if there was a generally agreed-upon candidate. Instead, there are about four Republicans who are making moves to launch a campaign and at least four others being recruited or thinking about it.

Baldwin benefited in 2012 from being unchallenged on the Democratic side as she spent months raising money and defining herself as Republicans slugged it out. She defeated Thompson by nearly 6 percentage points. She's taking the same approach now. Baldwin raised $2.2 million in the first three months of this year and had $2.4 million cash on hand. Johnson, at this point in 2015, had raised about $1 million less.

Chris Lato, who worked for Neumann's Senate campaign, said he understands the concerns some Republicans have about having a repeat of the "pretty brutal" 2012 primary. ‘Just beating the crap out of everybody won't help any," Lato said. "You have to emerge strong and united to take on Tammy Baldwin because she will be a force.’"

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Schneider: GOP Senate primary voters will demand a real conservative
“Ideological transformations are happening before our eyes. Take the 2018 Wisconsin Senate race.

A gaggle of Republicans already are positioning themselves for a run at Baldwin. And two of the primary competitors are new not only to politics, but to the Republican Party itself.

Back in 2000, Kevin Nicholson served as head of the College Democrats of America, which is a fairly non-traditional start to a career in Republican politics. Nicholson, who has since become a U.S. Marine veteran and businessman, actually addressed the 2000 Democratic National Convention, promoting both legal abortion and the nomination of Vice President Al Gore. Now that he's floating his name as a possible GOP senator, Nicholson claims he no longer holds these views, and frequently mentions his life as a Democrat in his speeches.

Ironically, a group with financial ties to Nicholson's supporters recently attacked Green Bay educator and potential candidate Nicole Schneider for being insufficiently conservative. Schneider… has gotten heat for her pesky habit of taking to social media to either praise Democratic politicians or criticize Republicans. While her skepticism over Donald Trump's candidacy certainly isn't a deal-breaker, she should be ready to explain her apparent enthusiasm for Obamacare.

If state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa or state Rep. Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield enter the race, voters can choose candidates who won't have to waste time explaining their conservative credentials to primary voters. Each of those state legislators can boast a list of conservative accomplishments as long as their arm.

While it's too early to rule out either Schneider or Nicholson, they better be ready to spend a lot of money convincing GOP voters that they now possess Republican brains.”

FOX 6 Now: Crowded Field: Gov. Walker urges GOP candidates for US Senate to focus on Baldwin
“At least a half-dozen Wisconsin Republicans are looking to take on U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin next year… Three more, and the field would have as many people as the title card from ‘The Brady Bunch.’

Other Republicans have memories of 2012, when there was another tough primary. Baldwin was able to conserve her firepower for the general election, beating former Governor Tommy Thompson.

One of the potential candidates this year, Kevin Nicholson of Waukesha County, is already facing questions about his voting record. In 2005, while living in North Carolina, Nicholson registered as a Democrat. He went on to vote in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, when the candidates were Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or Mike Gravel. Nicholson told FOX6 News he voted "no preference" in the Democratic primary and went on to vote for Republican John McCain that November.”

Last Updated on Monday, 15 May 2017 16:35
Nicholson Praised Clinton for her "Unwavering Commitment on Important Issues" PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Friday, 12 May 2017 12:15

kevin-nicholsonIs political opportunist Kevin Nicholson lying his way to the GOP nomination after supporting Hillary Clinton in 2008?

MADISON - Kevin Nicholson says he didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary in North Carolina but a letter he wrote praising her tells a different story.

hillary-clintonThe letter, written to invite then-First Lady and candidate for Senate in New York Hillary Clinton to the College Democrats of America convention, includes some high praise. Nicholson writes, "Mrs. Clinton, your unwavering commitment on important issues facing young people has done just that.  Standing together on the front lines, we will win the battles for affordable health care, the protection of our student aid, access to education, and the fight for a cleaner environment. Our members stand ready and eager to secure victory for you and all Democrats in 2000."

So, while Nicholson couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton in 2000, he certainly voiced strong support for her candidacy, especially as it relates to young people. While we may never know if Nicholson voted for Obama or Clinton in 08, his high praise for Clinton of her 'unwavering commitment on important issues facing young people' leads us to believe he was probably #withher in the primary.

"Lying Kevin Nicholson can't prove who he supported in 2008 and his record of praising Democrats like Tammy Baldwin and Hillary Clinton does not help his case," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Brandon Weathersby. "Kevin Nicholson is a political opportunist who's lying his way to the GOP nomination after supporting Hillary Clinton."

Republicans Struggle to Find Strong Challengers for Senate PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 10:12

tammy-baldwinState GOP looking to outsiders to run against Baldwin.

MADISON - Another day, another news article about Republicans refusing to challenge Senate Democrats in 2018. Today, the Associated Press released a news article highlighting Republicans failure to recruit top-tier challengers against Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2018. They specifically highlighted Wisconsin saying, "In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Sean Duffy have declined to challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Instead, less-known Republicans, albeit some wealthy outsiders, are considering bids."

After Rep Sean Duffy announced he wasn't planning to run against Senator Tammy Baldwin as many expected, Wisconsin Republicans have been scrambling to find a replacement. Unfortunately, those replacements have been wrought with scandal and lies.

"Republicans are wringing their hands trying to choose between a candidate that praised Tammy Baldwin on twittervoted in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, and an east coast hedge fund manager," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Brandon Weathersby. "Nothing will fix the fact that the Republican's top candidates were scared off by Tammy Baldwin's record of fighting for a Wisconsin economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top." Update: 5 Questions For Kevin to Answer... Truthfully PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 15:23

kevin-nicholson-cspanDemocrat or Republican in hiding. Kevin Nicholson needs to come clean.

MADISON - Last week, the Associated Press broke the news that Kevin Nicholson registered as a Democrat in 2005 AND voted in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary in 2008. While the AP did a great job uncovering Kevin's lies about his political beliefs, some questions still linger. Before the GOP convention this weekend, Kevin needs to answer some questions for Wisconsin voters.

1. If you were "livid" with the Democratic Party by 2007 why didn't you change your party registration in 2008?
2. If your wife's contribution in January 2008 was for you, and you supported John McCain in the May 6th primary, again, why didn't you vote for Republicans? How long has your wife made donations in your name?
3. How did you vote on the other Democratic races on the 2008 democratic ballot in which "no preference" wasn't an option?
4. Did you change your story to get Illinois millionaire Dick Uihlein's money?
5. Why should Wisconsinites believe you now?

"Kevin Nicholson needs to come clean before this weekend's GOP convention," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Brandon Weathersby. "If anyone other than an out-of-state millionaire is going to support his candidacy, Kevin Nicholson needs to tell Wisconsin voters the truth for a change. Conservative columnist Christian Schneider is right. Wisconsinites do have a very acute manure tolerance meter. Kevin Nicholson doesn't pass the smell test."

Is Sheriff David Clarke Backing Down From Challenging Sen. Tammy Baldwin? PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 14:04

david-clarkeMilwaukee County Sheriff's strategy appears to involve working in the Trump Administration and not running for U.S. Senate.

MADISON - Last week, news reports surfaced naming Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as a potential White House pick for a role with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The news comes after months of prolific spending on his behalf by the Sheriff Clarke for Senate committee, the official Draft Clarke super PAC.

In late January, the Sheriff Clarke for Senate committee registered with the Federal Elections Commission and aggressively fundraised to convince the Milwaukee County Sheriff into running for U.S. Senate. In just its first two weeks of operation, the PAC raised over $175,000 and secured 25,000 voters and donors promising to support Clarke in a potential run for Senate - by the end of it's first thirty days the PAC had raised more than $300,000.

The PAC's dollars went to promoting Sheriff Clarke with Clarke branded lip balm and bobbleheads in the Sheriff's likeness at CPAC this year. Along with that, the Sheriff Clarke for Senate committee and another pro-Clarke group, the Committee to Defend the President, both paid for polls to see how the Sheriff would fair in a challenge to Senator Baldwin - both polls showed the Sheriff losing in a head-to-head match up. Currently, the group has a billboard up, on Highway 175 in Milwaukee County, promoting the Sheriff's stance on immigration.

"Sheriff Clarke has tried everything under the sun to increase his profile. Whether it's inflammatory statements online, regular appearances on cable news, or traveling the country to speak to conservative groups, Clarke is always looking for an out. It's too bad for the Republican Party of Wisconsin that his exit strategy appears to involve working in the Trump Administration and not running for U.S. Senate," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Monday. "Now, with another top tier candidate being too afraid to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the Republican Party is only left with millionaires and candidates backed by millionaires to potentially run for Senate."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 14:08
Tim Burns Announces Candidacy for Wisconsin Supreme Court PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Tim Burns, Supreme Court Candidate   
Monday, 01 May 2017 15:31

tim-burnsMadison Attorney wants to ensure courts are fair for everyone, not just special interests and wealthy donors.

MADISON - On Monday, May 1st, 2017, Madison attorney Tim Burns announced his candidacy for Wisconsin Supreme Court, almost one year out from the 2018 election when Justice Gableman's term is set to expire.

This announcement comes just two weeks after Justice Gableman and four other justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused a proposal requiring judges to recuse themselves from cases involving their big campaign donors. The Court's decision violates citizens' rights to a fair and impartial court.

The following is a statement from Tim Burns:

"I'm running for Supreme Court because I believe in our democracy. I believe our country works best when everyone has a voice in governing, not just special interests and wealthy donors. I believe in democracy because it affirms the dignity and value of each person, no matter how wealthy or how poor, no matter their education, no matter their race, no matter their creed. I also believe that the strength of our economy is inextricably tied to the strength of our democracy. When our democracy is strong, our economy is strong.

"When I was young our courts were the great equalizer. They made sure that everybody got a fair shot. Now our courts have become the tools of special interests and their efforts to obtain opportunities for themselves. Those special interests are now getting a free ride, and they are weakening our democracy to make sure their free ride continues. That has to stop."


Tim Burns is a partner at a law firm in Madison, WI. He is a former co-chair of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association.

A graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia Law School, Tim is licensed in Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri. Tim's national practice focuses on making insurance companies live up to their obligations to their policyholders. Tim also serves on the national board of the American Constitution Society and he chairs the Fair and Impartial Courts Committee of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section of the American Bar Association.

Tim and his wife Pam, have chosen Middleton to raise their family. Married for over 20 years, they have three children.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 May 2017 16:02
Speaker Paul Ryan Returns To His District Only To Recieve An Award PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Friday, 28 April 2017 11:21

paul-ryanMADISON - After failing to pass a health care bill and avoiding speaking with his constituents all year, Speaker Paul Ryan will finally return to his district today to receive an award for his "Excellence in Leadership" at Celebrazione Italiana in Kenosha this evening. 

Since 1999, Speaker Ryan has only passed three bills that have become law where he was the lead sponsor, and this year, he's been the poster boy for Republican's legislative failures in 2017 - including an embarrassing failure to pass a Republican health care bill to replace the popular Affordable Care Act. 

Furthermore, the Speaker has drawn criticism from his own constituents for failing to hold a town hall in 2017. Speaker Paul Ryan has only hosted one town hall in 2017... on CNN, where his dance moves got more attention than anything else. During the last Congressional recess, Ryan failed to make a trip to visit his constituents in a town hall setting, declining invitations from local grassroots organizations. Ryan's ducking of his constituents led his hometown paper, the Janesville Gazette, to opine that the Speaker of the House was detached from his district.

"Speaker Paul Ryan's definition of leadership is trying to kick 24 million people off of their health care and give huge tax giveaways to the richest people in the country - all while avoiding his own constituents," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Friday. "Ryan wants all the prestige of someone who does the hard work on behalf of his constituents but doesn't want to get his hands dirty. The next piece of recognition he'll receive from the people of the First Congressional District is a pink slip in 2018."

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 April 2017 13:16
Illinois Multi-Millionaire Super PAC Launches False Attack Ads PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Friday, 28 April 2017 10:42

tammy_baldwinSuper PAC Attacks Get Pulled

MADISON -  Only days after a super PAC, funded by Illinois multi-millionaire, Richard Uihlein, launched a $650,000 radio ad buy, stations were compelled to pull the false attacks from the air because of the ad's unfounded lies.

"Wisconsinites are tired of the faceless political attacks filling the airwaves instead of candidates addressing the real issues facing our state. This grave issue was exploited by partisan political groups in the last election, and those same groups are trying to revive these kinds of attacks against Tammy. A shady, out-of-state super PAC will not be able to spread falsehoods and buy a seat in the Senate because the facts just aren't on their side: a Senate Select Committee on Ethics reviewed the complaints and concluded these attacks are not grounded in the truth." said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Brandon Weathersby.

At least two stations have already pulled the ad from circulation.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 May 2017 11:39
Wisconsin Republicans Limp Through Congressional Recess PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 16:04

mike-gallagherSome taking heat, others want to avoid speaking face-to-face to their constituents.

MADISON - Democrats are riding high off the energy of progressive grassroots activists getting more engaged on the ground and Sen. Tammy Baldwin successfully standing up to President Donald Trump and bending his will to supporting her "Buy America" legislation. The momentum follows incredible swings in special Congressional elections held in Kansas and Georgia this month. It also comes as Democrats finished criss-crossing the state speaking to their constituents at successful local town hall meetings. Republican members of Congress, on the other hand, are limping back to Washington after a disastrous Congressional recess. 

When meeting with constituents, Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Sean Duffy, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, and Rep. Glenn Grothman heard an earful from their constituents on everything from health care to immigration to the president's travel ban. Other Republicans, like Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Mike Gallagher, chose to avoid speaking face-to-face to their constituents altogether. 

Take a look at the coverage on their troubled two weeks out of Washington: 

Speaker Paul Ryan
Janesville Gazette: Our View: Detached from his district: "Paul Ryan, your constituents have waited long enough. It's time for a town hall, even if it's only the telephone kind. Something. Anything to show your constituents that you—not only your staff—are hearing their concerns. [...] Why are we so insistent about holding town halls? Because they're especially important during the transition from a Democratic to Republican presidency and the resultant policy upheaval. Voters in the 1st Congressional District deserve the opportunity to question their representative in a public setting to gauge his intentions. That you failed to hold a town hall before unveiling a monumental change in health care law was—to be blunt—galling." 

Representative Mike Gallagher
Wisconsin Freshman Congressman Says He's On A Reluctant Recess: "A Wisconsin freshman congressman has introduced a bill that would cut back on recesses for Congress. [...] Gallagher has no public listening sessions scheduled during the recess. Instead, he says he will meet with local businesses and employees."

Senator Ron Johnson
Madison students grill Sen. Ron Johnson: "Johnson struggled to answer questions relating to a number of key areas. When asked — as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in her confirmation hearing — whether he believed in using standards of proficiency versus growth to measure student achievement, he — like DeVos — was unable to differentiate between the two. 'You’re getting into some pretty esoteric educational pedagogy,' he told the student who asked the question. 'I’m an accountant, a plastics manufacturer.'"

Isthmus cont'd: "Johnson also struggled to articulate clear views when a student asked if Johnson would vote to go to war with North Korea. 'I can’t answer the question,” Johnson said. “I don’t know the exact circumstances.'" 

Representative Sean Duffy
Barron County Democrats: VIDEO: Sean Duffy's Rice Lake Town Hall: "Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) held a town hall in Rice Lake on Wednesday, April 19th. Despite less than 24 hours notice given to the public, the room was full of constituents who were eager to share their views on the direction of our country. He chose to double-down on his bizarre argument that any form of government assistance --including public schools and healthcare-- somehow robs us of our freedom as Americans. He also regaled us with tales of Donald Trump's work ethic and explained why Gerrymandering is good for us." 

Representative Glenn Grothman
WBAY: Environmental issues dominate town hall led by Rep. Glenn Grothman:
"The first question specifically asked about the management of the Great Lakes region.'So given the proposed cuts to EPA, what is your position on the Great Lakes Restoration project funding, and the proposed cuts to that?' asked a woman in the audience.Grothman responded saying, 'I don't blame the Appropriations Committee if they don't bring everything back up to the level it was before Donald Trump proposed these cuts, because we are broke out of our mind, but I'm confident that the program will not be gotten rid of, and I think I'm confident most of it will survive the budget process.'"

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner
Shareblue: GOP Rep defends Trump attack on internet privacy: “Nobody’s got to use the internet” (with video): "Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) offered a strangely antiquated defense of Donald Trump’s recent decision to roll back an Obama-era protection that stopped internet providers from selling information about their customer’s browsing habits. When a concerned voter at Sensenbrenner’s town hall asked about Trump’s assault on internet privacy, Sensenbrenner told her 'nobody’s got to use the internet.'"

The Courier: Sensenbrenner constituents concerned about health care: "Affording health care was still a pressing issue at Congressman’s Jim Sensenbrenner’s town hall meeting held at the Waterloo Municipal Building Tuesday morning, April 11. About 15 constituents were in attendance. Many voiced concerns about the increasing price of Medicaid and Medicare, the American Health Care Act (ACHA) and the rising cost of premiums.  The town hall meeting kicked off with a constituent asking, 'Is healthcare a right or a privilege?' 'A privilege,' Sensenbrenner said. Even with Medicare, Sensenbrenner explained, that people have paid into it their whole lives."

"With the growing unpopularity of President Trump's agenda, It's not a surprise that Wisconsin Republicans are having a hard time trying to defend, or avoiding talking about altogether, a President who in his first 100 days attempted to impose a Muslim Ban and kick 24 million Americans off of their health insurance," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Brandon Weathersby on Monday. "While Republicans continue to sink under the proverbial albatross that is the extremity of the Trump agenda, Democrats are energized, organized, and in great shape heading into 2018."

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 April 2017 16:12
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