State Government and Political News: Both sides say the "Brat Summit" was a good first stepWisconsin News
-- State lawmakers from both parties said yesterday’s “Brat Summit” at the Governor’s Mansion gave them a chance to treat each other with more respect.
MADISON - State lawmakers from both parties said yesterday’s “Brat Summit” at the Governor’s Mansion gave them a chance to treat each other with more respect.
And many said it was a good “first step” toward a more civil discussion of the issues facing Wisconsin. Almost 100 lawmakers and their spouses and aides accepted Governor Scott Walker’s invitation to enjoy beer, brats, and good conversation. The Republican Walker put on the event and grilled the brats after 17 months of non-stop political tension and protests which led to last week’s recall elections. The event brought back memories of simpler days as recently as the 1980’s, when former Governor Tony Earl occasionally joined the bipartisan social hours that lawmakers held on many nights at Madison’s Avenue Bar. But those days are long gone. And this year’s version of the Avenue Bar was much grander, with things you wouldn’t see back in the ’80’s – like a news helicopter, security at the gate, and about two dozen protestors who railed on the John Doe investigation into Walker’s former Milwaukee County aides. One sign read, “Healing begins with indictment.”
State Senate Republican Van Wanggaard of Racine is expected to announce by the end of Friday whether he’ll seek a recount. That’s after a ballot canvass in Racine County yesterday confirmed his recall election defeat from a week ago. The canvass showed that Democrat John Lehman won by 834 votes – 55 more than last Tuesday night’s count. Should Lehman’s victory hold up, the Democrats would gain the majority in the Senate at least until November when half the chamber is up for re-election. Wanggaard’s campaign manager, Justin Phillips, said he’s still trying to confirm reports of election irregularities and perhaps voter fraud. Both candidates gained votes in yesterday’s canvass due to late-arriving absentee ballots, and votes that were not counted from touch-screens at a polling place in Racine. Senate Elections Committee chairwoman Mary Lazich, a Republican from New Berlin, said voters would have been able to have more confidence had a photo ID requirement been in place. But she would not say whether Wanggard should seek a recount, saying quote, “It’s Van’s decision now.” It would cost him five-dollars a ward, or $635. If there’s not a recount, Lehman – who lost his Senate seat to Wanggaard in 2010 – could be sworn in as early as next week after state officials certify the voting results.