Yesterday's spring election here in Wisconsin was certainly interesting for a variety of reasons. A few thoughts:
- Congratulations to my friends Meagan Holman and Jason Haas on winning their elections! Meagan will be joining the newest Director on the Milwaukee Public School Board and Jason will be representing the near south side of Milwaukee on the County Board of Directors. It's always exciting to see young energetic people elected to office, more so when they're people you personally know and see how much work they put into their races. Good luck!
- Also in Milwaukee County, Chris Abele handily won his race for the County Executive over Rep. Jeff Stone. Despite being pounded hard and dragged through the mud by local right wing talk radio hosts, Abele's message of change and cooperation was a hit with Milwaukee County voters. One piece of advice though Chris: thank your wife in your concession speech. First.
- Still talking about the County Executive race, I think Rep. Jeff Stone gave a nice concession speech last night. One of the more interesting things I caught was that after his speech in a 1 on 1 interview with channel 12, he talked about getting back to work on an issue he completely abandoned in the race: energy independence.
One of the more surprising things about Stone's campaign for County Exec. was just how hard right he went. For those of us who know him, he's actually been a pretty moderate Republican who was well known for being an advocate of a reasonable & modern mass transportation policy in Milwaukee County. he was also pretty moderate on a lot of other issues and did a good job of having allies on both sides of the aisle. But the minute he started the race for County Exec, he went hard right to the surprise of people like me and molded himself more as a continuation of Scott Walker than being his own guy. Gone were the reasonable positions a lot of us had come to expect from him. They were replaced by hard right slogans and platitudes that may have appealed to the fans of Jay Weber or Charlie Sykes, but left a lot of moderates shaking their heads and looking elsewhere for leadership.
- The Supreme Court race is one that I don't think a lot of people saw coming. It's still to close to call, but the fact that an unknown was able to make a race out of this against a sitting incumbent (which on Wisconsin's SC is huge) is telling. I get that conservative talking heads are trying to paint this as a victory (My favorite from this morning was Brian Fraley (Fan Boy – Madison) saying that because Prosser was 'still in this', it was a victory) because that's what they get paid to do. But the fact is it was close against an unknown.
Finally, it's clear that timing has once again proved to be the biggest player in any election. It's more important than money, TV ads, or the candidates themselves in my opinion. The County Exec. race would have been much closer had the left not been whipped up about Gov. Walker's union busting. The Supreme Court race wouldn't have even been close were it not for that. It's always amazing how quickly an otherwise pedestrian election can turn on a dime. And it's all about timing.