Well .. here we are. Today is the big primary election (Tuesday, Sep 9) .. I've written a dozen articles on the 22nd Assembly race to fill Wasserman's spot, and this should be the final one.
First, it's really too bad that the primary forces you to vote for only one party. Tuesday's ballot will have only three races, two Democratic races (22nd and County Clerk) and one Republican (Sensenbrenner/Burkee).
In all three cases, the primary IS the election. The Milwaukee County Clerk position is between 4 Democrats .. the 22nd District is heavily Democratic .. And no Democrat will be running against the winner of Sensie/Burkee.
This stinks, because you can't vote in both primaries, yet for all three, the Primary winner will win in November.
So, first, if you're a Republican living in the 22nd district and want to show your support (or rejection) of Sensenbrenner, you have a problem. I'd say, skip that primary. I read an educated guess that Sensenbrenner will trounce Burkee by 70 points. Sensenbrenner will outspend Burkee 10 to 1. The 8th WI-US District is HUGE, the 22nd district is just a tiny chunk; that election will be decided elsewhere. -- Mental note, Burkee was endorsed by the Journal Sentinel.
We've got 4 fine candidates for the 22nd, and each one appeals to a different kind of voter. That's what today's entry is about. It's a rough summary of all the observations I've made over the past two months.
Your first question is, of course, where are these guys on the issues? Answer: They're all pretty much the same. They're all Democrats without legislative records. They're all for health care, the environment, allowing illegal immigrants entrance and in-state tuition to UW Schools, and are against the expansion of school choice. They're all reading from the same Democratic playbook, with variations here and there. I'll focus on the intangibles:
Andy Feldman - Andy is probably the smartest guy on the ticket. He's a natural at talking to crowds, and he's got policy down pat. He's run the smartest campaign, doing all the right things. He's young (34) but has a great academic background (Swarthmore, and a PhD from Harvard). He's probably the most "progressive" of the lot, so if anti-poverty, health care, and the environment are your thing .. he's your man.
Dan Kohl - Dan is a really solid candidate. Well educated, well connected, well spoken. He's got quality stances on issues. He's not always talking off the Democratic game plan, he's somewhat moderate. Probably the best schmoozer of the bunch. Honestly, with his stature, he would be the most effective representative of the lot. BUT. Weighing him down is his famous name, in that, at first, he went with "It's about me, not (uncle) Herb," but later, he had Sen. Kohl write a letter for his campaign, clearly trying to trade on his famous Uncle. Then it came out that he's outspending the other candidates 3 to 1, mostly with his own money. So if you can get past that, Dan is your man.
Guy Johnson - As Village President of Shorewood, Johnson is the only candidate with elective government experience. He's a solid, down to earth, intelligent, honest candidate. His most compelling trait is that he's clearly the most moderate, independent minded. He's got the tallest hill to climb, as he hasn't loaned his campaign thousands, like Kohl, Pasch, and Feldman all have. If you're a Republican, you would cross over and vote for Johnson. The winner only needs about 30% of the vote. Get a chunk of moderates/Republicans to vote for him, he wins.
Sandy Pasch - If you liked Dr. Wasserman's focus on medical issues, Pasch is your vote, as she has a nursing background. While I've pressed this issue a number of times, that Pasch's focus is too health-care oriented, and that we had (and will continue to have) Dr. Wasserman representing us, Pasch has tried to show folks she's more than just a one-issue candidate, and I'm certain that's true.
But her clear priority remains health care. Asked "What's your #1 legislative priority?" Her answer: "Mental Health Parity." Raise your hand if you know what "mental health parity" is without googling it. Does that match the #1 priority of the 22nd district?
That all being said .. I think Pasch is going to win, in a close race with Feldman. She does have a lot going for her: Great campaign organization, she sought and received the endorsements of many organizations, she's a high quality candidate and good public speaker. Being a woman helps, too. We need far more women in all levels of government; Men have done a pretty craptacular job running the show. Getting the Journal-Sentinel endorsement puts her over the top. I think she wins by 1 point over Feldman. She would do fine as our rep.
Finally .. vote on Tuesday. I've given you a guide, figure out who you want to vote for, and get out there. WFB had a 44% turnout for the April 2008 election, let's get to 50% for this important election, on who we send to Madison.
If you don't know enough, click here for more coverage of this race, including the candidates' own responses to this blog, and videos of each candidate at the public forums.