“Lastday, Capricorn 29’s. Year of the City: 2274. Carousel begins.” – Logan’s Run
As voters go to the polls in the August primary, here are some things to look for and to keep in mind as you watch the results:
Sen. Leah Vukmir vs. Kevin Nicholson in the GOP Senate Primary:
It’s the most highly visible matchup of the night, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) is facing Delafield business consultant Kevin Nicholson for the right to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in November. Baldwin will be waiting for the winner of the contest with plenty of cash, over $7 million at the end of the 2nd quarter, to turn the GOP nominee into a clone of President Donald Trump starting the day after the election. Both Nicholson and Vukmir probably helped Baldwin by trying to out-do each other in the “I support Trump” contest.
Nicholson has been able to outspend Vukmir from the beginning, but the last Marquette University Law School poll actually showed her slightly ahead – but well within the margin of error.
Vukmir needs to do well in southeastern Wisconsin, the vote generator for the GOP primary. It’s likely that over a third of the ballots cast in the primary will be from Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Racine and Kenosha counties. If any of the “WOW” counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington), especially Waukesha, fail to give Vukmir a big boost, it could be a long night for her.
On the other hand, can Nicholson really cobble together enough votes from the rest of the state to overcome Vukmir’s geographic advantage? Was his air war, including the last-minute attack on Vukmir’s lack of enthusiasm for Trump in the 2016 primary, enough to “send in the Marine”?
One interesting number to watch, overall voter turnout. Reports indicate absentee ballots are up. However, if Republican turnout is significantly lower than past competitive primaries (618,828 in 2010 and 578,984 in 2012), that may be a sign that Republican enthusiasm is down.
Vukmir’s victory party will be at The Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee. Nicholson’s victory party is at the Rustic Manor 1848 in Hartland.
The Democratic Primary for Governor.
And then there were… eight? And until the end, not one of them tried to take on the front-runner state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers. Only Milwaukee attorney Matt Flynn criticized Evers, saying Gov. Scott Walker would eat Evers’ lunch.
For the record, Walker brings a lunch to work and it’s a ham and cheese sandwich.
Helen Kelda Roys put her own money into the campaign and was endorsed by Emily’s List. Mahlon Mitchell has been using the state firefighter’s union as his piggy bank. Either of them could pull off the upset.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is not only running an ineffective “supper club” campaign, he’s not even planning on running for re-election as mayor. First the Berlin Wall came down, then Fidel Castro died, and now Soglin’s retiring. Maybe we will have peace with North Korea now that the Cold War is finally coming to an end.
Since the Democrats haven’t believed in competitive primaries in so long, it’s going to be hard to make any claims one way or the other about Democratic enthusiasm from the turnout. However, don’t be surprised if some pundits try anyway. They did have 670,278 vote in the 2012 Recall Primary. Before that, the last competitive primary for governor was in 2002, when 552,832 Democrats voted.
If he wins the Democratic primary, Evers will be making his prime time debut for most Wisconsinites. Will the “only Democrat who has won a statewide election (other than Doug La Follette)” be able to inspire Wisconsin voters to throw away the last seven years of economic progress? How much will he promise to spend without mentioning the taxes he’ll raise?
Expect Evers’ theme to be a story of neglect: for schools, for roads, for the environment, for cities, for state employees, for every Democratic constituency under the sun. Oh, and he hates Foxconn.
The Walker campaign is holding a rally tonight, too, in Waukesha County at the GOP field office on Pearl Street and Hwy 164 (the Les Paul Parkway). The real campaign starts tonight.
Randy Bryce vs. Cathy Myers in the 1st Congressional District Democratic Primary:
Bryce should win this election handily given the amount of resources his campaign has spent on the race. However, Myers has raised a fair amount of money, $1.3 million, while Bryce has had to deal with the failings of his past: nine arrests, failure to pay child support, an old debt mysteriously paid by a Democratic lawyer, fake Twitter followers, and a job as a “political consultant” while he runs for Congress that he won’t disclose the amount he was paid.
Is this the Year of the Woman in politics? Could Myers pull off the upset? She would be a more formidable Democrat in November, but she doesn’t have the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) or Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI02).
Bryan Steil vs. some other people in the 1st Congressional District Republican Primary:
If Bryan Steil, the GOP’s near-consensus pick, doesn’t win the primary in that district today, then the world is completely upside down.
Kevin “Adam” Steen was actually trying to coordinate a campaign event with Paul Nehlen, the racist who’s running a campaign to pay his wife a salary. Nick Polce moved to Wisconsin because Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wasn’t conservative enough. Jeremy “Segway Boy” Ryan is a recall protester refugee who has even ticked off Democrats at the Capitol.