Just Sayin'

Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.

The Stage is Set

Political, Wisconsin, Germantown

You may have heard rumors of an election this year. In November, Wisconsin voters will hire or re-hire many of our state public servants. Last Monday was the deadline for submitting candidate paperwork to get on both the primary and general election ballots. The stage is now set. What offices are up for election this year who has declared their candidacy?

Germantown will not be electing a State Senator this year. Alberta Darling was re-elected in 2012 to another 4-year term. Not that this seat would ever go to anyone but a Republican, anyway. Sen. Darling was one of the loyal foot-soldiers in carrying out Walker's radical agenda. She was rewarded for that loyalty. Her competitive district was reconfigured to give her a safe State Senate seat for life.

How about the State Assembly? All seats in the State Assembly are up every two years. Germantown is in Assembly District 24, a complex Rorschach Test of a district. This gerrymandered district stretches from a small corner of the Falls, through Germantown, part of Mequon, Brown Deer, River Hills, and the northern part of Glendale. The 24th is only slightly bluer than our State Senate district, with just 43.4% of our Assembly district voting for President Obama in 2012.

Given these dynamics, it is not too surprising that no sacrificial Democrat has stepped forward to run for the seat this year. As the district continues to get bluer, maybe someone will run in the Presidential election year of 2016, when Democratic turn-out will be higher. For the next two years, we will be stuck with the sole candidate for our Assembly seat, incumbent and Ozakee-Patriots member, Dan Knodl.

How about our Representative for US Congress? Jim Sensenbrenner has been representing the 5th district since the Bronze Age 1979. It would be great to have a choice for Congress. It would be nice to have a way to express our disapproval to a "representative" who was central to last year's disgraceful Government shut-down and is a leader in the most do-nothing Congress in US history.

Indeed, we do have that way to note our disapproval of the recent actions of Congressman-for-life Sensenbrenner. Chris Rockwood, a strong and progressive Democrat, is also running for the office. More about this race in an upcoming blog.

During the last three and a half years, the staff at Just Sayin' has been somewhat disappointed at the job performance of Governor Scott Walker. This year, the voters of Wisconsin have a chance to make a welcome change. There are five 2014 gubernatorial candidates whose applications have been approved by the GAB. Mary Burke and Brett Hulsey are running as Democrats, with Burke by far the stronger candidate. Scott Walker is the sole Republican. There will also be Libertarian (Robert Burke) and Peoples Party (Dennis Fehr) candidates on the ballot.

Four people are running for Lieutenant Governor. State Senator John Lehman and Mary Jo Walters are running as Democrats, with Lehman the probable primary winner. Incumbent Rebecca Kleefisch is running as a Republican. Libertarians have a full state-wide slate, including LG candidate Joseph Brost. This race is a very important one. If Walker pulls out a win in 2014, the Lieutenant Governor will become our next Governor when Walker packs his bags for the White House pokey.

Current Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen is not running for another term. I guess that he is plumb worn-out. Trying to deny health insurance to the poor, restricting voting rights, and keeping gay people from marrying has got to be exhausting! This opens-up the all-important AG post to a large number of candidates. Three highly qualified Democrats- Jon Richards, Ismael Ozanne, and Susan Happ will make for an interesting primary. One of the three will face Republican Brad Schimel and Libertarian Thomas Nelson, Sr. in November.

Both the Secretary of State and State Treasurer offices have been rendered essentially powerless over the last few years. Yet, many candidates are still running for those positions. In November, Democratic incumbent Doug LaFollette will face one of two Republican candidates, as well as a Libertarian and a Constitution Party candidate. The candidates for State Treasurer include two Democrats, two Republicans, a Libertarian, and a Constitution Partier.

Other than the Secretary of State and State Treasurer offices, there will be little excitement for Germantown Republican primary voters in August. Strong Governor and LG candidates will probably win the Democratic primaries, with the major August primary suspense for Democrats being in the Attorney General and Treasurer races.

November's general election promises to be very interesting. Several recent polls indicate the Governor's race to be a dead heat. The other state-wide offices should be just as competitive. Despite extensive gerrymandering, the State Senate may well be in play. And Democrats have an excellent candidate to face Jim Sensenbrenner for US Congress. The next election will, in so many ways, determine the future course of Wisconsin.




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