Friday, October 27, 2006

As I Was Saying . . .
Welcome to those of you who have clicked over from Best of the Blogs, and to those of you who have stumbled upon this blog by accident. Because not everybody at BotB gives a rip about Wisconsin politics, it seems wise to use the bandwidth over here to handicap the statewide races, based on scattered poll data, good old fashioned hunches, my biennial survey of yard signs, and liberal amounts of bullshit.

Attorney General: We had primaries in both parties for AG this year, which makes this the most consistently entertaining race of 2006 in Wisconsin. The Repug nominee is J.B. Van Hollen, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Wisconsin. Van Hollen is a standard-issue conservative Republican--just pull the string on his back and listen to the stupid. Last summer, he announced that terrorist groups were recruiting and training in Wisconsin, only to backpedal when reporters asked for specifics. He told his primary opponent "you suck," during a live radio debate, and later apologized--for sinking to his opponent's level. The "suck" incident and smirking non-apology apology points up Van Hollen essential immaturity and gross unfitness for prime time. He's way out of his league at the level of statewide politics. His opponent is Dane County (Madison) Executive Kathleen Falk, who was absolutely destroying Van Hollen in early polling, based entirely on her name recognition--she ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002, and held the highly publicized post of "public intervenor" for the state Department of Natural Resources before becoming county exec--a position later abolished by the governor in part, it's said, because of Falk's success in fighting corporations who wanted to ravage the environment for the sake of economic growth. But the latest polling shows Falk's lead down to six points, and I expect Van Hollen to win. If so, his campaign for governor will begin the day he's sworn in as attorney general.

U.S. Senate: Herb Kohl is running mostly unopposed, although perennial candidate Robert Gerald Lorge, whose big issue is the threat of Communist China, got the Republican nomination when nobody else wanted it. Green Party nominee Rae Vogeler made news when she was excluded from Wisconsin Public Television's recent debate, even though she's arguably a more serious candidate than Lorge. The only question is whether Kohl breaks 60 percent or not. That, and what the hell anybody sees in Lorge.

Second Congressional District:
Democrat Tammy Baldwin is running for a fifth term; radio station owner Dave Magnum--not his real name, which is Weiss--is running again this time. In 2004, Magnum had the stones to criticize Congress, and Baldwin by extension, for four years of deficit spending, which was actually driven by the Republican majority; this time, he's criticized Baldwin for a recent ranking showing her 424th of 438 members of Congress in influence--and then suggesting he could do better as a first-term backbencher, and in what is likely to be the minority party at that. Recently, he's been running an incoherent and amateurish TV ad criticizing Baldwin for, apparently, being in favor of sexual predators, or something. It's hard to tell. On the other hand, Baldwin has spent nearly nothing on TV ads and avoided appearing with Magnum until relatively recently. She won last time by nearly 30 points; she'll win again by about that much.

Death Penalty Referendum: A poll a couple of weeks ago showed this advisory referendum on restoring it leading by only 50-45, a result promptly blasted by the state senator who's spent his entire legislative career trying to revive capital punishment here. I'm guessing the poll is wrong, too--and I think it will pass by about 60-40 when the votes are actually counted. Whether it becomes law after that depends on the governor's race. If Green wins, it will. If Doyle wins, it won't.

For regular blog posts from me, keep reading Best of the Blogs.

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