Four years after being elected governor, Scott Walker is still wrong for Wisconsin

Yesterday, Scott Walker kicked off his re-election campaign for Governor of Wisconsin in typical Scott Walker style: at a campaign donor’s private-sector business, with a hand-picked audience of his supporters, and with only those who write favorably about him in the mainstream media given access to report about his campaign launch.

Four years after being elected governor in 2010, Scott Walker is still wrong for Wisconsin.

One only needs to look at jobs numbers to see how much of a negative impact Walker’s agenda of stripping collective bargaining rights from public employees, repealing equal pay laws, cutting public employee pay, and handing out tax cuts and credits to wealthy people and businesses has had on Wisconsin’s economy: Walker isn’t even going to come close to reaching his “250,000 Wisconsin Jobs by January 2015″ promise, additionally, from April 2012 to April 2013, Wisconsin suffered the largest job loss (by raw number of jobs) of any state, with only two other states (Wyoming, which had the largest loss of jobs by percentage, and Maine) suffering a net loss of jobs.

I’ll ask the same question to the people of the State of Wisconsin that Scott Walker’s political idol Ronald Reagan asked the American people in 1980: Are you better off than you were four years ago? For most Wisconsinites, especially women, the poor, the working class, the middle class, and minorities, the answer to that question is…HELL NO!!!

Republican state assembly candidate Justin Moralez violates Wisconsin campaign laws by not including disclaimer in web ad

Republican state assembly candidate Justin Moralez, who is running against progressive patriot Christine Sinicki in the 20th Assembly District of Wisconsin, forgot to include a very important thing on his latest YouTube web ad: a “paid for by (name of campaign committee), (name of campaign treasurer), treasurer” legal disclaimer, which is legally required by Wisconsin state campaign laws.

You can view the web ad in question here. As of 8 A.M. on April 16, 2014, no disclaimer is included anywhere in the video itself, and the description of the video includes an invalid disclaimer which says “Paid for by the Justin Moralez Organization” without mentioning Moralez’s campaign treasurer at all.

Somebody should file an official complaint against Moralez’s campaign, and you can download the GAB complaint form here.

PRE-ENDORSEMENT: Mark Harris for 6th Congressional District of Wisconsin

Even though Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris has not yet decided whether or not he’ll run for the open U.S. House seat in the 6th Congressional District of Wisconsin, I declare my intention to endorse Harris for the 6th District race if he were to run for Congress.

You may remember Harris from last year, when he seriously considered running for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Wisconsin, but declined to run for that office. Here’s an interview that Harris gave at the 2013 DPW State Convention in Oconomowoc, back when he was considering running for governor. Harris has extensive experience in both the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the private sector. Additionally, from what I’ve seen of him, he seems to be well-versed on important political issues.

Despite the fact that the 6th District of Wisconsin is a heavily-Republican district, there is a small Democratic bench in the district, and a second high-profile Democrat is considering running for Congress: Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels. I know virtually nothing about Nickels, and, although this is from a right-wing website, Nickels is reportedly taking with Democratic Party officials about a possible run. That’s probably a reference to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), an organization run by corrupt Democratic Congressman Steve Israel of New York that supports mostly corporatist, and even outright conservative, Democratic candidates for U.S. House seats across the country. The DCCC has refused to support strong, progressive candidates like Wisconsin’s very own Kelly Westlund and has backed corporatist, and, in some cases, outright conservative, candidates like Pete Aguilar in California, Jennifer Garrison in Ohio, and Cheri Bustos here in my home state of Illinois. My initial perception of Nickels is that he’s not as bad as other possible candidates that the DCCC may try to recruit, such as right-wing Democrat Jim Brey and NRA hack Ryan Flejter, both of whom were so despised by progressives, they lost to far-right Republicans in Wisconsin Assembly races in 2012 (in Brey’s case, he drastically underperformed more liberal candidates upballot, such as Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin).

The Republican field in the 6th Congressional District of Wisconsin Race contains two far-right Republicans (Glenn Grothman, a carpetbagger is notorious for highly offensive comments, and Duey Stroebel), with a third one likely to join the field (Joe Liebham). Despite the heavy Republican lean of the 6th District, any one of those three could lose the general election, especially Grothman. The chances of a Democratic victory would be even bigger if Mark Harris is the Democratic nominee.

Why I’m pulling my endorsement of Mary Jo Walters and endorsing John Lehman for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin

After multiple individuals pointed out to me that Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin Mary Jo Walters is, in their view, unfit for public office, I have decided to pull my endorsement of Walters’s campaign.

This is a decision that I do not take lightly. Remember that, in 2010, Democrats here in Illinois nominated Scott Lee Cohen to be Governor Pat Quinn’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, however, not long after the primary, Cohen was pressured out of the race after it was revealed that, among other things, he used anabolic steroids and had been arrested for domestic abuse in 2005, which was quickly picked up by the local media here in Illinois. In Wisconsin, political parties cannot replace candidates on the ballot after the primary, so, if someone like Walters were to win the primary, that would easily become a fiasco in which Wisconsin Democrats would have no recourse whatsoever.

As a result of this, I am endorsing John Lehman for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin. While Lehman is one of the most boring people to hold public office in this country, Lehman has a progressive track record as a state legislator in Wisconsin. More importantly, Lehman is certainly capable of carrying out what few duties the office of lieutenant governor has in Wisconsin.

Could a Dan Adams victory give the Pirate Party a chance at winning the 19th Assembly District of Wisconsin?

If Chris Abele crony Dan Adams were to win the Democratic primary in the open-seat Wisconsin State Assembly race in the Milwaukee-based 19th Assembly District, the Pirate Party, a leftist third-party which is active in Wisconsin and several other states, could be in an unusual position of having a chance of winning a state legislative race, which, to the best of my knowledge, the Pirate Party has never done before in any state.

Dan Adams has made it clear that he’s not a progressive, as he’s running on wanting to work with Scott Walker and his far-right allies in the Wisconsin State Legislature to implement more of their destructive agenda that has hurt Wisconsin’s economy and business climate. Additionally, Adams is a close political ally of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who claims to be a Democrat but has, among other things, supported the union-busting Act 10, has tried to deny Milwaukee County employees their right to address grievances, has engaged in a divisive turf war with Marina Dimitrijevic (who happens to be one of Adams’s three primary challengers) and other progressive(ish) Democrats, vetoed a living wage ordinance in Milwaukee County, and has defended the role of big money in our country’s politics.

I’ve made it clear that I’m supporting Sara Geenen in the Democratic primary in Wisconsin’s 19th Assembly District because I strongly believe that she’s the most progressive candidate running for the Democratic nomination, and, if she wins the primary (which I hope she does), I’ll strongly support her for the general election. If Marina Dimitrijevic or Jonathan Brostoff win the primary, I would endorse either of them for the general election, since both of them seem to be progressive(ish) candidates. However, if Dan Adams were to win the Democratic primary in the 19th District, I would endorse Pirate Party candidate Joseph Klein, who is running on an ultra-progressive platform. In fact, it wouldn’t be unthinkable for Klein to win the general election if Adams were to win the Democratic primary, especially if Adams were to win the primary with significantly less than 50%+1 of the vote.

Brad Schimel’s “Mary Burke” problem

Republican candidate for Attorney General of Wisconsin Brad Schimel has a “Mary Burke” problem.

No, it’s not about Schimel giving off any sort of Mitt Romney vibe like Burke, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Wisconsin, does. It’s about how Schimel is despised by the Republican base, much in the same way that Burke is despised by by the Democratic base.

Conservative blogger James “Wiggy” Wigderson complained about, among other things, Schimel not enforcing Wisconsin’s open records laws as Waukesha County District Attorney:

Perhaps it’s an enforcement issue. However, expecting Waukesha District Attorney Brad Schimel to prosecute adultery cases is probably a little much. We can’t even get him to enforce open records laws or prosecute vote fraud.

(emphasis mine)

Regarding Wisconsin’s statute criminalizing adultery, I support repealing that statute altogether because I think it’s absurd for someone to be criminally prosecuted for cheating on his or her spouse. However, Schimel not enforcing open records laws is a much more serious issue. Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature (most notably Scott Fitzgerald and Leah Vukmir) have, time and time again, blatantly refused to follow Wisconsin’s open meetings and records laws, and Wisconsin needs an Attorney General who will be a champion of government transparency. You’re not going to find that kind of Attorney General candidate on the Republican side of the ledger, and even Brad Schimel’s own base knows that.

Then there’s Schimel’s claim that he would have led the “John Doe II” probe into allegations of illegal coordination between official Republican campaign committees and Republican/conservative outside groups if he was currently Attorney General of Wisconsin.

Obviously, Democrats and progressives aren’t going to trust Brad Schimel to lead a criminal prosecution against any Republican, in fact, I don’t trust Schimel to aggressively prosecute that pervert Bill Kramer (although Schimel’s office has filed charges against Kramer, which certainly was the right thing to do). Let’s not forget that Schimel was the one who allowed Former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, one of three Republicans implicated in the caucus scandal a decade ago, to get away with blatant political corruption, including using taxpayer resources for campaign purposes.

Another point worth noting is that conservatives, who falsely believe that Scott Walker is the target of a political witchhunt by Democratic prosecutors (the lead prosecutor in the John Doe II probe, Francis Schmitz, is a Republican, and the case was referred to Schmitz by the Wisconsin GAB, which is officially non-partisan and responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws in Wisconsin, so the John Doe II probe is not a political witchhunt at all), are not going to like the fact that Schimel stated that he would have prosecuted Walker and his allies if he were in the Attorney General’s office right now. This strikes me as Schimel’s “Dukakis in the tank” moment because Schimel’s claim that he would have led the John Doe II probe struck me as useless pandering to people who are not even going to consider voting for Schimel, much like how Dukakis’s “tank ad” was useless pandering to Republicans and war hawks who weren’t open to the idea of voting for Dukakis.

I strongly believe that the Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Wisconsin (Jon Richards appears to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination at this point, although there’s still a few months before the August primaries) is going to, by Wisconsin standards, drastically outperform Mary Burke come November 4 for two reasons: All three Democratic candidates for Attorney General, especially Jon Richards, are better candidates than Burke is, and Brad Schimel is despised by the Republican base, much in the same way that Burke is despised by the Democratic base.

ENDORSEMENT: Janis Ringhand for 15th State Senate District of Wisconsin

To be honest with you, I don’t know all that much about Democratic Wisconsin State Assemblywoman Janis Ringhand, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 15th State Senate District of Wisconsin, but I’ll go ahead and endorse her.

My endorsement of Ringhand is not really about Ringhand in any way. It’s more about two other individuals who are, in my opinion, obviously worse than Ringhand: Mike Sheridan and Austin Scieszinki.

Sheridan, who is being pushed by labor unions into running for state senate but has not yet made a decision about whether or not he’ll run, was implicated in an explosive sex scandal in 2010 which allowed far-right Republican Joe Knilans to win an urban Janesville assembly seat. Basically, Sheridan dated a lobbyist who worked for the payday loan industry, and Sheridan used his power as State Assembly Speaker to stall legislation that would have enacted stricter regulations on the payday loan industry.

One other Democrat has already announced a run for the Democratic nomination: Tim Cullen crony Austin Scieszinski. While Scieszinski is the same age as me (24), he doesn’t share my values at all. Scieszinski has stated that he wants to work with Scott Walker and his far-right allies to implement more of their destructive agenda that has hurt Wisconsin’s economy and reputation. Furthermore, Scieszinski is a political protege of Cullen, who is best known for throwing a royal fit over not getting a committee assignment he wanted and briefly leaving the Democratic Party when Democrats briefly had control of the Wisconsin State Senate in 2012.

The voters of the 15th State Senate District of Wisconsin deserve better than someone who can’t keep his pants on or someone who would rather work with a group of right-wing extremists than do anything to make Wisconsin a better place to live. They deserve someone who will fight to make Wisconsin a more progressive state, and the closest person to someone of that mold is Janis Ringhand.

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