State Government and Political Roundup: Tammy vs. Tommy among the most negative races in the countryWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate campaign is at a fever pitch, as voters are being asked to believe new TV ads that both candidates say are misleading.
Election Day is just a week away. And Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate campaign is at a fever pitch, as voters are being asked to believe new TV ads that both candidates say are misleading.
The ad tracking firm of CMAG says the Wisconsin Senate race is among the most negative in the country. And UW-La Crosse professor Joe Heim says Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin should start running positive ads which appeal to voters. Otherwise, quote, “Whoever wins that race, are you going to think better of them afterward?” Yesterday, House Democrat Baldwin put out an ad criticizing former Governor Thompson for buying stock in companies that do business with Iran. Thompson insists he never wanted such stock, and has sold it. Meanwhile, a new Thompson ad said Baldwin rejected funds to supply body armor for U.S. troops. But independent experts told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Thompson’s claim is incorrect. They said the ad was based on a peace fund that Baldwin supported. And Baldwin’s camp said the congresswoman voted against a 2003 defense spending package because it did not do enough to protect U.S. troops. Also, state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said Thompson should resign from his corporate board positions before next Tuesday’s elections. He said Thompson got $126,000 in stock this month for being on the board of C-R Bard, the medical device maker that paid $184-million last year to resolve hundreds of lawsuits. Thompson calls it a side issue that Democrats are using to distract voters.
An effort will apparently continue to look for information about Wisconsin’s redistricting process that a federal court told Republicans to release earlier this year. A Chicago law firm recently dug up 34 e-mails that the GOP never turned over to Democrats and Hispanics who filed suit over the new state Assembly and Senate districts. The law firm was supposed to file a report on its search to the federal court panel yesterday. But instead, the firm said the plaintiffs wanted a further review of the computer servers used by the GOP’s law firm in the redistricting process, Michael Best and Friedrich. And the court was told yesterday that Michael Best was likely to agree to the expanded audit. Both sides in the case are expected to discuss the matter today. The latest e-mails that were disclosed stated that Republicans arranged for favorable testimony for its redistricting plan at public hearings – and they strategically tried to reduce Hispanic representation in the state Assembly. Once that got out, the plaintiffs talked about filing another legal action to seek sanctions against Michael Best. The plaintiffs lost most of their original redistricting suit. The three-judge panel upheld all but two Assembly districts that the GOP had redrawn.
The owner of a consulting firm for business mergers now admits that he paid for anonymous billboards in Wisconsin and Ohio that warned about the penalties for voter fraud. Stephen and Nancy Einhorn came forward yesterday. That was after the liberal group One Wisconsin Now said the Einhorn Family Foundation was the one that placed dozens of billboards in mostly low-income neighborhoods. The signs said “Voter Fraud is a Felony.” Democrats and civil rights groups said the ads were meant to suppress turnout in next Tuesday’s elections. In a statement issued by a Chicago public relations firm, the Einhorns said they placed the billboards as a “public service” – and they wanted to help make sure the presidential contest is decided by quote, “legally registered voters.” Einhorn and his son Daniel run the merger consulting firm of Einhorn-and-Associates in Wauwatosa, and they manage venture capital funds. One Wisconsin Now was among the groups criticizing the billboards’ owner, Clear Channel Outdoor, for allowing the anonymous signs. Clear Channel ordered them removed last week, saying they violated the company’s policy against taking anonymous political ads. About 85 billboards were posted in the Milwaukee area, some in suburban Waukesha and Washington counties. The Einhorns took out 30 billboards each in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.
Republican Mitt Romney has canceled a scheduled appearance in Wisconsin yesterday, to show respect for those on the East Coast dealing with Hurricane Sandy. President Obama flew back to the White House this morning, after he canceled two days of politicking – including a scheduled appearance in Green Bay tomorrow night. Romney made a campaign appearance in Ohio this morning – and he was planning to stump in neighboring Iowa before calling it quits. Romney scrapped a rally at State Fair Park in West Allis, which would have been his first Wisconsin stop since August. He also called off tomorrow’s schedule. It’s the last thing the candidates wanted to do, with the election just eight days away. But White House spokesman Jay Carney says the president’s priority is now the safety-and-security of those in the path of the storm. Carney said Hurricane Sandy picked up speed this morning on the East Coast – and the president had to leave earlier than planned if he hoped to get back to Washington. Romney said in Ohio that he and the country needed to turn their attention to the East Coast because quote, “A lot of people are going to be facing some real tough times as a result of Sandy’s fury.” Also, Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan from Janesville has called off his campaign events tonight and tomorrow. Ryan was planning to be in Wisconsin on Wednesday, but there’s no word if that’s still on.
Former President Bill Clinton will return to Wisconsin this week to campaign for President Obama. The Obama campaign made the announcement this morning. That was after the president canceled a visit to Green Bay tomorrow night, so he could stay in Washington and deal with Hurricane Sandy. Campaign officials have not said exactly when or where Clinton will appear in the Badger State. It will be part of a campaign swing that includes Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire. This will be Clinton’s third visit to Wisconsin since early June, when he campaigned in Milwaukee for Democrat Tom Barrett in the governor’s recall election. Clinton was also in Green Bay on October 19th to campaign for Obama.
A new poll shows that the race for Wisconsin’s open U.S. Senate seat is closer than ever. Rasmussen Reports surveyed 500 likely voters by phone last Thursday – and 48-percent favored Republican Tommy Thompson to 47-percent for Democrat Tammy Baldwin. The survey was taken before their final debate last Friday night. The contest is technically a dead heat, since the one-percent difference is well within the poll’s error margin of four-and-a-half percent.
Ann Romney was scheduled to be in Green Bay this morning, to collect relief donations for the victims of Super-storm Sandy. The wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was slated to visit the local GOP headquarters, a day after her husband canceled a speech near Milwaukee last night out of respect for the storm victims. Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan also canceled their full-blown campaign appearances today. Ryan now has two appearances planned in western Wisconsin today to collect donations for storm victims. They’re at the GOP offices in La Crosse and Hudson. Ryan also has full-fledged rallies planned for tomorrow in Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Racine before he heads home to his family in Janesville for Halloween. Also, Vice President Joe Biden returns to Wisconsin on Friday to campaign for him and President Obama. Biden will visit Beloit and Superior. Times and places were not immediately announced. And the Obama campaign says the trip is subject to changing weather conditions. Obama canceled a rally in Green Bay tonight so he could stay in Washington to head the federal response to Sandy.