nOVEMBER 5, 2014

Walker Defeats Burke


11/5/14 – Governor Scott Walker carried 56 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties – including Dodge County – in winning his second four-year term.  With all but one-percent of the vote counted, the Republican Walker defeated Democrat Mary Burke 52-to-47 percent.  The margin was about two points less than in Walker’s 2012 recall election, when he survived a fierce challenge from opponents of his Act-10 law which eliminated most public union bargaining.  That law isn’t going anywhere, and Walker has said he would not try to extend it to the groups that were exempt in 2011 — police, fire, and transit unions.  Walker’s victory also fuels speculation that he won’t serve his entire four years, so he can run for president in 2016.


The governor told the A-P he won’t consider a White House run until after he gets a new state budget signed next June.  However, his victory speech to supporters in West Allis was aimed at least partially at national supporters looking in. The governor said, “In America, the opportunity is equal, but the outcome is up to you.  That’s the difference between what we believe here in Wisconsin, and what they’re selling in Washington.”  In her concession speech in Madison, Burke quoted Packers’ legend Vince Lombardi in saying, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.  Tonight … for many of us … it feels a bit like getting knocked down.”   Burke was a state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle executive before she accepted the State Democratic Party’s overtures to run against Walker.  She remains on the Madison School Board.


Burke carried the state’s two largest counties of Milwaukee and Dane, both traditional Democratic strongholds.  She also carried five of Madison’s neighboring counties — Columbia, Sauk, Richland, Green, and Rock.  Burke also won in La Crosse and two counties to the south, Vernon and Crawford.  She was also victorious in traditional Democratic places along Lake Superior — Douglas, Bayfield, and Ashland counties.  She also won in Eau Claire, Portage, and Menominee counties in the state’s mid-section.


Schimel, La Follette, Adamczyk Elected


11/5/14 – The state Justice Department will stay in Republican hands, as Republican Brad Schimel defeated Democrat Susan Happ 52-to-45 percent yesterday.  Both were county prosecutors hoping to succeed outgoing Republican Attorney General J-B Van Hollen.  Schimel, from Waukesha County, said his top priority will be to combat the state’s growing heroin problem.  He told supporters, “I am sick and tired of meeting with parents who have buried their children.  Tonight, I am putting drug dealers on notice.  You are Public Enemy Number-One.”  Also, Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette was re-elected to the office he’s held for 36 years.  He defeated Republican Julian Bradley 50-to-46 percent.  La Follette and the state treasurer have virtually lost all of their powers in recent years.  Republican Matt Adamczyk ran for treasurer with the promise of trying to eliminate the office. He’ll get his chance, after winning 49-to-45 percent over Democrat David Sartori.


Wisconsin House Delegation Keep 5-3 GOP Edge


11/5/14 – Wisconsin’s U-S House delegation will still have a 5-to-3 Republican edge, after Glenn Grothman won the only open seat yesterday.  Grothman, a veteran state senator from Campbellsport, defeated Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris 57-to-41 percent to replace retiring Fond du Lac Republican Tom Petri. Grothman was one of the Legislature’s most conservative members, speaking out against what he called excessive public benefits and abortion rights.  He vows to take those causes to Washington.  Meanwhile, Janesville House Republican Paul Ryan — whom, like Walker, is considered a possible 2016 presidential hopeful — easily won yesterday.  Ryan got 64-percent of the vote over Democrat Rob Zerban.  The closest House race was in western Wisconsin, where Democratic incumbent Ron Kind out-polled Tony Kurtz by 14-percent. Menomonee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner had the largest victory margin among the state’s House contingent — 70-to-30 percent over Democrat Chris Rockwood.  Other easy House winners were G-O-P incumbents Sean Duffy of Wausau and Reid Ribble of Sherwood — along with Democrats Gwen Moore of Milwaukee and Mark Pocan of Madison.


Schmidt Defeats Ninmann to Become Sheriff


11/5/14 – Dodge County will have a new sheriff in 2015.  Sergeant Dale Schmidt defeated incumbent Sheriff Patricia Ninmann as he received nearly 80-percent of the votes cast.  Schmidt was the only name that appeared on the ballot after winning the Republican primary back in August.  Ninmann ran as a write-in candidate.  Schmidt says that the two decisive victories were a telling sign that the citizens of Dodge County have made their voices heard.  He says that the support he has received from a large amount of people had him confident all along that he would be victorious in the race.  Ninmann had served as sheriff since being appointed by Governor Scott Walker in April 2013.  Schmidt will take office in early January.


Born Convincingly Retains State Assembly Seat


11/5/14 – Republican incumbent Mark Born of Beaver Dam retained his 39th District Assembly seat by seeing off a challenge from independent candidate Richard Bennett of Horicon.  Born claimed 16,785 votes, which was 74-percent of the casted tallies, as compared to Bennett’s 5,975 votes.  Born says that he is glad to see the support for what he has done thus far from the people in the district.  He says that he was excited to see such a convincing margin of victory and looks forward to serving for an additional two years.


Fitzgerald, GOP Assembly Candidates Win


11/5/14 – Republican State Senator Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau defeated fellow-Juneau resident and Democratic challenger Michelle Zahn as he received 63-percent of the vote compared to her 37-percent.  In the state assembly, Republicans again fared well in the Dodge County area.  John Jagler of Watertown defeated Mary Arnold of Columbus in District 37.  Mark Born of Beaver Dam topped Richard Bennett of Horicon in District 39.  And in District 42, Lodi’s Keith Ripp bested Doylestown’s George Ferriter.  All three of those assembly winners were the incumbents.


Dodge County Referendum Questions All Approved


11/5/14 – All five of the referendum questions on the ballot in Dodge County passed.  Beaver Dam’s first question of having the town clerk position appointed received over 57-percent approval.  The second question of whether the town treasurer should be appointed passed with 55-percent saying yes.  The Westford referendum that proposed that all candidates for elected office be nominated at a non-partisan primary received over 71-percent support.  In Hustisford, the question of exceeding state imposed revenue limits by $240-thousand on an indefinite basis to help maintain current programs passed with 52-percent agreeing.  The second question in Hustisford was answered with a yes response by 55-percent of voters and allows the revenue cap of $150-thousand to be exceeded for four years to support technology expansion and educational opportunities. Also, Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly said yes to using gas tax revenues only for transportation purposes.  The vote was 80-to-20 percent in favor of banning raids on the transportation fund, like those made by former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle to prop up schools amid large budget deficits.


Voter Turnout Exceeds Projections in Dodge County


11/5/14 – Voting numbers in Dodge County surpassed expectations in yesterday’s election.  County Clerk Karen Gibson says it was a good turnout as nearly 37-thousand ballots were cast in Dodge County.  That equals a voter turnout of approximately 75-percent.  The number of ballots cast in the county this year’s election was up approximately 6-thousand from those submitted in the for the 2012 election and down about 2-thousand from the last governor recall election.


Convicted Fond du Lac Murderer Released


11/5/14 – A 66-year-old man who was found insane when he murdered his wife in 1998 is free from a mental commitment — and his sons in Fond du Lac County are not happy about that.  His lawyer said Keith VandeBerg was released this past weekend from a court-ordered mental confinement.  He’s now living in the Madison area under state supervision.  VandeBerg was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about three years before he shot-and-killed his wife Terrie almost 17 years ago, because he thought she was having an affair.  Chad VandeBerg of Rosendale tells the Fond du Lac Reporter his mother’s rights were trampled — and instead of living with justice, he and his two brothers now live in fear.  The youngest brother, Daniel VandeBerg of Oakfield, said his father needs to remain confined to ensure people’s safety.  Keith VandeBerg will continue to be supervised in a community treatment program.  His lawyer said he would like to live a quiet life and serve others.


Attorney Suing First John Doe Judge


11/5/14 – A Waukesha attorney is suing the presiding judge in the first Walker John Doe probe into the governor’s former aides when he was the Milwaukee County executive.  According to the Journal Sentinel, Christopher Wiesmueller accuses Reserve Judge Neal Nettesheim of not being “detached and neutral” in approving search warrants as part of the probe.  In the process, the attorney said the judge violated  the subjects’ constitutional rights.  Wiesmueller also accused Nettesheim of having a financial interest in pursuing the John Doe, since reserve judges are paid according to the tasks they perform. The lawsuit was filed in federal court, and it was referred to Milwaukee Judge Rudolph Randa.  Wiesmueller represented ex-Walker staffer Darlene Wink, who was convicted of a pair of misdemeanors for doing campaign work for Walker on taxpayer time.  Media reports said Wiesmueller avoided being charged for removing files from Wink’s work computer, and instead took a reprimand for violating ethics rules for attorneys.


Harvest Progressing


11/5/14 – Wisconsin farmers are making better progress in harvesting their crops.  The National Ag Statistics Service said 80-percent of the state’s soybean crop was brought in as of Sunday.  That’s just one-percent behind the average for the past five years, after farmers harvested a whopping 21-percent of the beans last week alone.  Thirty-three percent of the state’s corn for grain has been harvested.  That’s up from 20-percent a week ago, but still behind the norm of 58-percent for this time of year.  Farmers have been letting their corn dry out in the fields to try and reduce some of the high moisture content.  Thirteen percent of Wisconsin farm fields have surplus moisture.  Corn for feed is still being harvested, as farmers had to deal with light snow and colder temperatures last week.  The current forecast calls for a dry day with highs in the 40’s and 50’s under partly to mostly cloudy skies.  There’s a chance for rain and snow in parts of the Badger State tomorrow.