Government and Political Roundup: Both presidential candidates believe colleges will determine who wins WisconsinWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin’s colleges have been the preferred battleground for the White House candidates and their lieutenants.
Wisconsin’s colleges have been the preferred battleground for the White House candidates and their lieutenants. President Obama heavily courted younger voters in 2008, when he carried the Badger State by 14 points. This year, the race is extremely tight – and as polls show reduced enthusiasm by younger people, both major parties are trying to prop up the youth vote. Vice President Joe Biden spoke at four U-W campuses during his last three visits to Wisconsin since mid-September. President Obama held a rally at U-W Madison earlier this month. And Chris Hoffman of the U-W College Democrats said over a thousand young people at that rally registered to vote while waiting to see the president. Republicans have also tried to court the youth vote. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Janesville spoke at Carroll College in Waukesha this month – and he’s been tailgating with young fans at college football games in Ohio. Today, Ryan has campaign rallies planned in Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Racine. Biden returns to the state on Friday for appearances at Beloit and Superior. Obama will hold a rally at Green Bay’s airport tomorrow, after canceling an appearance in that city last night due to Superstorm Sandy. Mitt Romney has rescheduled his Monday night West Allis rally for Friday morning at State Fair Park.
Former state Senator Randy Hopper resigned yesterday as the head of the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation. Hopper was arrested 10 days ago for the second time since he was recalled from his Senate post in the summer of 2011. He faces several charges, after police said he got into a fight with another man at the home of his ex-wife near Fond du Lac. The 46-year-old Hopper lives in Fond du Lac. He was placed on unpaid leave following his most recent arrest. Dane Checolinski, a community specialist with the economic development group, was named its interim director. Hopper was freed on bond after his October 21st arrest. Charges are pending. A year ago, he was arrested for drunk driving while heading home from a Packers’ game. A jury found him innocent in March. Hopper lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jessica King in a wave of recalls over the Republicans’ support for the law that virtually ended most public union bargaining at the time.
Both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have re-scheduled their Wisconsin campaign rallies, after calling them off the last two nights due to Superstorm Sandy. The Democratic president will speak to supporters tomorrow morning at Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport, with the doors to open at 8:30. Romney has a Friday morning rally planned at State Fair Park in West Allis, beginning at 9:30. Also, former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to be in Eau Claire today to campaign for Obama. He was in neighboring Minnesota yesterday for college campus rallies in Minneapolis and Duluth. Romney’s wife Ann appeared at G-O-P headquarters in Green Bay yesterday, where volunteers collected food-and-supplies for storm victims. G-O-P vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Janesville made similar appearances in La Crosse and Hudson along with U-S Senate candidate Tommy Thompson and Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus. Today, Ryan returns to his traditional rallies with morning appearances in Eau Claire and Green Bay and an afternoon event in Racine. And finally, Vice President Joe Biden has appearances planned on Friday in Beloit and Superior.
President Obama’s campaign asked Wisconsin’s attorney general yesterday to investigate a report that Republican Mitt Romney’s staff is using wrong information to train its poll watchers. In a letter obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer urged Van Hollen to quote, “take all necessary steps to protect the rights of our state’s voters.” Romney’s campaign has held training sessions around the state to show its volunteers what to watch for at the polls next week. The liberal blog “Think Progress” said one training session in Racine gave volunteers quote, “several misleading or false claims about the rights of Wisconsin voters.” For example, it said all felons cannot vote – but actually, they can vote after completing their sentences. Also, the blog said volunteers were told to sign in only as “concerned citizens.” Romney campaign attorney Kristina Sesek was quoted as telling the volunteers, “We’re just trying to alleviate the animosity of being a Republican observer up front.” The Obama attorney’s letter to the attorney general also raised concerns about previous training by a conservative group called “True the Vote.” Romney Wisconsin spokesman Ben Sparks said the Obama request for an investigation is quote, “ridiculous.” He said the campaign stands by the accuracy of its training – and it dismissed True-the-Vote as a group not associated with Romney’s campaign.
A conservative group offered cheap gas near Wausau yesterday, to convince voters that President Obama’s economic policies have failed them. Hundreds of drivers lined up at a Mobil station in the town of Rib Mountain, where the Americans for Prosperity offered fuel at the same price motorists paid when Obama took office in 2009 – 1.84-a-gallon. For four hours, the group paid the difference of 1.70-per-gallon. The drivers were asked to sign petitions, highlighting what the group called Obama’s failed agenda. But they didn’t have to sign to get the cheap fuel. The liberal group “We Are Wisconsin” filed a complaint with the state Government Accountability Board, claiming the group illegally gave away items of value in exchange for votes.