Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Democrats Won Big In Wisconsin Last Night


The best shot for a Democratic win last night was in an open state Senate district in the far west of Wisconsin. The Republicans had held the district for nearly two decades and Trump beat Hillary in the rural district massively in 2016. But Trump's popularity-- as well as Governor Scott Walker's-- have plummeted. And Democrat Patty Schachtner upset Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow in the special-election to replace Republican Sheila Harsdorf who stepped down in November to take a job as Walker's agriculture secretary. The swing towards Democrats since Trump's victory was massive-- around 26 points.-- as she won by a stunning 9 points (UPDATE: 55-44%) in a deep red district.

Patrick Marley, reporting for Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel wrote that "the focus Tuesday was on the 10th Senate District, which consists of parts of Burnett, Polk, St. Croix, Pierce and Dunn counties along Minnesota's border. Schachtner's win gives Democrats momentum, but they remain deep in the minority. Once she is seated, Republicans will hold an 18-14 advantage, with one district vacant. That seat belonged to Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere), who joined Walker's administration last month, and won't be decided until November, when 17 of the state's 33 Senate districts are up for election. 
Schachtner said once she joins the Senate she hopes to focus on improving access to health care and helping drug addicts get treatment.

...The district has not been good to Democrats in the past. Mitt Romney won the district in 2012 even though he lost the presidential race in Wisconsin and nationally to Barack Obama. Trump crushed Hillary Clinton in the district in the 2016 presidential election and John McCain almost won the district in 2008, despite Obama's easy statewide victory.

Democrats saw Tuesday's victory as a sign they were taking hold of the energy that benefited their party in special elections last year in Alabama, Virginia and Oklahoma.

...In 2014, Jarchow easily beat Travis Schachtner, Patty Schachtner's son, to win his Assembly seat, which covers the northern portion of the Senate district dominated by Burnett and Polk counties.

Jarchow will continue to represent that district in the state's lower house.

As a sitting lawmaker Jarchow raised money all year and his campaign brought in $271,000 in 2017-- including a $50,000 loan he made to his campaign-- and had $81,000 in cash at the end of the year, according to his campaign finance report. In her short time available to raise money as a candidate, Schachtner brought in $183,000 and had $53,000 in the bank at the end of the year.

Also Tuesday, Republican Rick Gundrum beat Democrat Dennis Degenhardt 57% to 43% in the heavily GOP 58th Assembly District, according to unofficial results. The district covers West Bend, Slinger and Jackson.

Gundrum is the chairman of the Washington County Board, a member of the Slinger Village Board and the owner of audio-visual company McKay Enterprises. Degenhardt is the president and chief executive officer of Glacier Hills Credit Union.

Gundrum will replace state Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend), who died in October.

In the 66th Assembly District that covers Racine, Democrat Greta Neubauer faced no Republican challenger. She will replace Democratic Rep. Cory Mason, who stepped down after winning the race for Racine mayor in October.

Neubauer is the former director of the nonprofit Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network. She is the daughter of state Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer and former state Rep. Jeff Neubauer.

With the two additions, Republicans will hold a 63-35 majority.
The Republican hold in the 58th Assembly district on the other side of the state is still worrying since the Democrats gained 25 points there over what Trump got in 2016. The 2 other races last night were in South Carolina and Iowa, two Trump districts that the Republicans managed to hold on to, although in South Carolina there was a 15 point swing towards the Democrat and in Iowa is was an 18 point swing towards the Democrat. Note: Racine is the electoral heart of Paul Ryan's district, where Randy "IronStache" Bryce has him on the run.

Early this morning, neo-fascist website, Washington Free Beacon reported that Scott Walker sounded the alarm because of Jarchow's stunning loss yesterday. In a tweet, Walker called it wake up call for Republicans in Wisconsin. In fact, a clearly distraught Walker used the term "wake up call" in 4 tweets between 8:24 PM and 8:32 PM. Apparently, he sees the writing on the wall.
The Wisconsin result is yet another poor local election result for Republicans, who are seeing mounting signs of a wave election in 2018 as Democrats have made pickups across the country. Democrats have recently scored big wins in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama statewide races as well.

Trump holds historically low approval ratings for a president in his first year in office, and the GOP appears to be paying the price at the ballot.
In recent weeks, speculation has risen that Paul Ryan will retire from Congress rather than face a humiliating defeat at the hands of union iron worker Randy Bryce.

Next up will the open congressional seat in Pennsylvania on March 13 when Democrat Conor Lamb faces off against Republican Rick Saccone. In an interesting development Lamb abounded last week that "he’d like his party to replace Nancy Pelosi as its leader in the House, a stance that could undercut one of the Republican Party’s major campaign plans in 2018. In interviews with Pittsburgh’s two major newspapers, Democrat Conor Lamb, a former U.S. attorney running to represent Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, said that Congress needs 'new leadership on both sides' and was clear that he meant an end to Pelosi’s 13-year role as House Democratic leader."

I've spoken to over a dozen congressional candidates who have said the same thing-- basically that both Pelosi and Paul Ryan are terrible leaders and unworthy of support.

“My take is, if these people have been around for several years and they haven’t solved these problems that have been hanging around, it’s time for someone new to step up and get it done,” Lamb told the Pittsburgh Tribune.

He gave a similar answer to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, saying that Congress had not been “working for people,” citing the example of the opioid crisis gripping rural America.

“It’s more about the fact that I expect leaders to get results, and the result of our congressional leadership has been to have people in the district dissatisfied with their performance,” Lamb said.

Lamb’s answer did not take Republicans completely by surprise. With the departures of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Harry M. Reid from the political scene, Pelosi has become the Democratic leader best-known and most disliked among swing voters.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), made Pelosi the star of its multimillion-dollar ad buys last year during special House elections in Georgia’s 6th congressional district and in Montana. Corry Bliss, the CLF’s executive director, said that the PAC stood behind Republican nominee Rick Saccone.

“It’s laughable. Conor Lamb can say whatever he wants, but the truth is he would be nothing more than a rubber stamp for Pelosi’s liberal agenda,” said Bliss. “This election comes down to one choice-- a foot soldier for the out-of-touch Pelosi agenda or a proven conservative like Rick Saccone who will stand for Pennsylvania families?”

Republican polling in Pennsylvania’s 18th district, which was drawn to reelect former Republican representative Tim Murphy, has found that Pelosi remains less popular than Ryan, and that the president’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent.

“The left is going to try to demonize President Trump in the Pennsylvania-18 special election but it won’t work,” said Brian Baker, the president of Ending Spending Inc., an outside nonprofit group which plans to spend about $1 million on the race to support Saccone.

Baker said a second independent non-profit that he runs, 45Committee, which spent heavily to promote the Republican tax bill last year, is also considering entering the race to support Saccone, following Lamb’s comments Monday saying he opposed the recent tax bill.

Pelosi has previously said that the party should not demand litmus tests for its nominees in tough races; Lamb, a practicing Catholic who also supports gun rights, was already running generally to the right of the party on social issues. Asked to respond to Lamb, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill gave the candidate a pass.

“We agree with his statement that the real issue is Paul D. Ryan and what he wants to do to Medicaid and Social Security,” said Hammill.

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At 6:27 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Way to go Patty.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now watching for a new assault on voting rights to erupt in WI. Accreditation will be made that much harder to acquire. The primary item necessary to vote will be a republican party registration card.

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ds won big?!?!? 1 seat and they still are in a tiny minority is winning big?

Well, at least we're not supposed to get all giddy because some worthless pos democrap lost to a Nazi by less than expected.

But WI is still a Koch/Nazi state ruled by Koch/Nazi acolytes. And that shall remain the case after November.

Soooooo... what's all the excitement about?

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the excitement? The DINO-Whigs didn't blow a special election. Now they can rest on their unearned laurels and lose the real election in the fall.


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