Afternoon News Update: Senate endorsee a hot topic at this weekend's state GOP primaryWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin Republicans are heading to Green Bay for their annual state convention tonight and tomorrow.
GREEN BAY - Wisconsin Republicans are heading to Green Bay for their annual state convention tonight and tomorrow. And Governor Scott Walker said he hoped for a fair and respectable discussion about the party’s endorsement in the U.S. Senate race. That was after reports that candidate Mark Neumann was more aggressive than the others in lining up delegates who will choose him – even by campaigning in counties where delegate commitments were already made.
Walker said the GOP has a quote, “distinguished slate” of Senate candidates – including former ex-Congressman Neumann, former Governor Tommy Thompson, state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, hedge fund manager Eric Hovde whom Walker called a “successful businessman.” Walker called for a fair discussion, and he wants delegates to quote, “put their support behind the candidate who they feel will provide the best contrast to Tammy Baldwin’s liberal record in Congress.” Walker said all the candidates know the importance of standing together and uniting. Over 1,300 people will attend the convention. One candidate needs at least 60-percent of the delegates’ support in order to get the party’s endorsement.
A new poll shows that former Governor Tommy Thompson would easily beat Democrat Tammy Baldwin if the U.S. Senate general election was held today. The latest Rasmussen poll gives Thompson a 50-38 percent over the Democrat Baldwin. Former Congressman Mark Neumann would lead Baldwin 44-42, but that’s within the polls four-and-a-half percent margin-of-error – so actually, Neumann is in a statistical dead heat. The poll says Baldwin – a House Democrat from Madison – would lead Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald 45-41, but that’s also within the margin-of-error. Rasmussen did not measure support for the fourth Republican in the Senate race, hedge fund manager Eric Hovde. The four GOP candidates are squaring off in an August 14th primary, with the winner to face Baldwin in November for the Senate seat given up by the retiring Herb Kohl. Rasmussen polled 500 likely voters on Wednesday.
A conservative group has suspended its effort to recall state Senate Democrat Bob Jauch in northwest Wisconsin. The Citizens for Responsible Government has been trying to gather petition signatures to force a recall election against Jauch -- because he voted against a compromise bill that could have paved the way for a large new iron ore mine near Hurley. The CRG’s Orville Seymer says his volunteers are being spread thin, because people are more concerned right now with the June fifth recall votes against Governor Scott Walker and five other officials. Organizers have until next Friday to file 15,720 valid petition signatures for a recall vote against Jauch, who’s been in the Legislature for about 30 years. Seymer says the recall effort could resume in the summer. The CRG also formed an exploratory committee in March to consider a recall effort against state Senate Republican Dale Schultz of Richland Center, who also voted against the mining compromise. Apparently, nothing has come from that recall effort.
A northwest Wisconsin man has been sentenced to 13 years in a federal prison for distributing child pornography. And when he leaves prison, 41-year-old Jeff Matheson of Balsam Lake will under extended supervision for life. Matheson pleaded guilty to a single charge of distributing child porn. But the FBI said it caught Matheson downloading and sharing about 400 child porn images in December of 2010 – and he kept downloading porn it on other machines after the FBI seized his computer equipment in March of last year. The U-S attorney’s office in Madison said Matheson also admitted having sexual contact with children. Judge William Conley called it among the worst child porn cases he has ever seen.
University of Wisconsin-Madison student unions are staying open until 3 a.m. so students can use the facilities to study for final exams. Both Memorial Union and Union South will extend hours for four consecutive days through next Tuesday morning. A valid UW-Madison identification card will be required to remain in the buildings after midnight, or to enter the unions after that time. The regular summer schedule for the unions will go into effect after commencement exercises a week from this weekend. Then, student unions will close at midnight Sunday through Wednesday and at 1 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
Trying to deal with rising crime numbers not seen in West Allis for the last five years or more, the Milwaukee suburb’s police department is taking a unique approach. Retired police officers are going door-to-door, identifying trouble spots and organizing block watch groups. West Allis police say this is a case of being proactive – not just going from call-to-call. The retired officers describe their mission as community building. Violent crime in West Allis was up 10 percent last year, with drug cases up 15 percent.
The book “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a number-one best seller. Local book stores have been selling out of the trilogy – but the erotic novel is too hot for some Wisconsin libraries. The Brown County Library doesn’t have it on its shelves. The library director says it’s not well-written, but the Milwaukee County Library has more than 500 names on its waiting list for the book. In Waukesha County, nearly 700 patrons are waiting to check out a copy. And, book-sellers are selling out their supplies. Officials in Brown County blame a limited budget and a lack of space for not carrying it.
A former Oneida County medical examiner who pleaded innocent to keeping a body part from an autopsy is now charged with a similar offense in neighboring Forest County. 44-year-old Traci England is due in court two weeks from today in Crandon on a new charge of exceeding her authority in public office. Prosecutors said England kept tissue from a body in separate Forest County autopsy that was performed the same day as the one in Oneida County. Her attorney said the tissue would have been thrown out anyway. Forest County has a contract with Oneida for medical examiner services – and England resigned in Oneida County after her arrest four months ago.