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Senate race nonetheless huge open – Isthmus



For political writers, Charles Franklin is Santa Claus. Every few months Franklin, who runs the Marquette University Law School ballot, points a brand new report. It’s all the time full of great things that writers like me get to unwrap. This month’s ballot was no exception, so let’s dive proper in. 

Let’s begin with the least shocking discovering. Milwaukee Bucks govt Alex Lasry is gaining on frontrunner Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes for the Democratic nomination to tackle Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Lasry, who trailed Barnes by 10 factors in February, is now down by solely three, 19 p.c to 16 p.c. That’s not shocking as a result of Lasry has spent $4.4 million of his private wealth to purchase TV adverts and different media spots. My personal family has obtained three or 4 full shade Lasry mailers simply throughout the final couple of weeks. 

Lasry’s marketing campaign is, as you’ll anticipate, touting the brand new polling numbers, however there’s much less right here than meets the attention. For one factor, the main candidate is “undecided” with 48 p.c. Democrats are a good distance from making up their minds, and 16 p.c is a good distance from what anybody might want to get the nomination. 

Second, two of the 4 main candidates — Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson — haven’t spent a lot of something on media campaigns but. The different candidate, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, has spent about $1 million of her personal cash on tv spots. She noticed her numbers go from 5 p.c to 7 p.c whereas Nelson has remained at 5 p.c each in February and April. 

Frankly, to spend nearly 4 and a half million bucks whereas a lot of the different candidates haven’t even joined the sport but and to nonetheless solely be at 16 p.c is nothing to write down dwelling about for Lasry. 

Meanwhile, Nelson obtained some very optimistic Russ Feingold-like buzz final week from The Washington Post (headline: “Wisconsin’s Tom Nelson Reminds Democrats How Populists Should Sound”). If he can begin to get that very same sort of story in additional prestigious papers just like the Stevens Point Journal, he’ll have loads of fodder for his personal adverts as soon as he begins operating them. 

The backside line is that this race continues to be huge open. Any of the 4 high candidates has a shot, and each Democrat I discuss to says the identical factor: They simply need a candidate who can beat Ron Johnson. So, anticipate the candidates to tout their RoJo killing cred — and to assault each other on their unelectability — because the marketing campaign heats up earlier than the August main. 

As for Johnson, he might experience the anticipated huge Republican wave to a 3rd time period, however he may additionally drift out to sea. His approval ranking stays at a depressing 36 p.c, the identical quantity he posted in February. His unfavorables mixed with a robust Democratic problem might spell the top for Johnson even in Republican yr, however there’s nonetheless a really lengthy technique to go. 

The Democrat in that race might be helped by Gov. Tony Evers. Evers has one thing to cheer about on this ballot. His approval ranking is 49 p.c versus a detrimental ranking of 43 p.c. That +6 cut up will not be overwhelming however each Johnson and President Joe Biden are below water at -10 and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is at a well-deserved -17. So, whereas solely 36 p.c of voters assume the state is headed in the best path, they appear to be holding Vos extra answerable for that than Evers. The backside line is that if Evers pulls off a win, he might have simply sufficient juice to tug the Democrat operating towards Johnson throughout the end line with him. 

But not all of the information is nice for Democrats. The subject panorama isn’t so favorable. Voters’ high considerations are inflation, public schooling, unlawful immigration, crime and COVID. Those are all points on which the Republicans have a bonus. So, an unpopular candidate like Johnson must ask voters to disregard their distaste for him personally and as a substitute concentrate on points the place Republicans have extra well-liked positions. 

Then there’s Michael Gableman. The skilled clown and former state Supreme Court justice operating the partisan “investigation” into the 2020 election is a hero to hard-right Trump supporters and a joke to folks like me. But it seems that almost all smart Wisconsin voters take into consideration him as a lot as he deserves, which is to say not a lot in any respect. Only 13 p.c approve of what Gableman is doing, 27 p.c don’t prefer it and 57 p.c haven’t paid sufficient consideration to him to have an opinion. 

Let’s end with some blissful information. Have you observed how even the Republican tradition warriors don’t make a sound about homosexual marriage anymore? That might be as a result of 72 p.c of Wisconsinites now assist it, up from 55 p.c in 2014. 


Dave Cieslewicz is a Madison- and Upper Peninsula-based author who served as mayor of Madison from 2003 to 2011. You can learn extra of his work at Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos. He’s the creator of Light Blue: How center-left moderates can construct an everlasting Democratic majority.




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