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Musings On Election Night Past

Musings On Election Night Past

By Jeff Wagner. CREATED Aug 13, 2014

There's lots of analysis today on the big winners and losers from yesterday's election - much of which I agree with.  Here are a couple of my thoughts:

You can't beat somebody with nobody. As I predicted, David Clarke was re-elected due in part to a large crossover vote and support from Milwaukee's African American community.  Still, if the anti-Clarke forces had been able to recruit a strong candidate in his or her own right, I wonder if Clarke would have survived?  Face it, Chris Moews brought nothing to the table.  Outside of Voces de la Frontera, I don't know anyone who was enthusiastic about Moews. Just like being the anti-Scott Walker didn't work for Tom Barrett (twice), running someone as the anti-David Clarke didn't work for the anti-Clarke forces.

Yard signs are a waste of money.  For weeks, people were telling me that they believed that Tom Alioto would  defeat Eric Severson in the Waukesha County Sheriff Primary.  Even though he ran a lot of radio commercials, I never understood why people took the Alioto candidacy seriously?  When I questioned people on why they thought Alioto would do well, they responded "He has a lot of yard signs".  However as I've been telling people since 1994, yard signs are a waste of money.  My latest evidence: Severson 32,940 votes (86%), Alioto 5485 votes (14%).

The Emily's List Ticket. I admit that I'm a bit surprised that Susan Happ, the largely unknown DA from Jefferson County, won the Democrat nomination for Attorney General by such a wide margin. State Rep. John Richards had money and organization but never caught on with voters.  Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne was once considered the favorite but ran one of the worst campaigns in Wisconsin political history (finishing third with a pathetic 15% of the vote).  Now we'll find out if Happ is ready for prime time?

There are second acts in Wisconsin politics.  Van Wanggaard, dumped in a recall election over his support for Act 10, is poised to return to the Wisconsin State Senate.  I'm not surprised that Wanggaard won, I am surprised that he crushed his opponent by 6000 votes (71%). 

Bret Hulsey, we hardly knew ye. It's no surprise that Mary Burke won the Democrat nomination for Governor.  It is a surprise that almost 52,000 people (17%) voted for crackpot candidate Bret Hulsey.  Seriously, who are these people?  What ever happened to writing in Mickey Mouse?

Don't give up your day job Marina ... oh wait.  Last November, seeing the handwriting on the wall and undoubtedly recognizing (correctly) that voters would turn the Milwaukee County Board into a part-time gig, the ever so politically ambitious Marina Dimitrijevic became one of the first rats to try to bail from the sinking ship - and announced her candidacy for a vacant State Assembly seat. Despite having an early start, a base of political power and the support of Mayor Barrett and a lot of Milwaukee's self-proclaimed beautiful people, Dimitrijevic ran second.  Ouch.

Dewey beats Truman.  Want to understand why newspapers are dying?  The banner headline at the top of the metro section of my newspaper screams "Grothman easily wins 6th District GOP primary".  This headline, perhaps true when it was written, became a joke when later results were tallied.  As it stands now, Glenn Grothman leads Joe Liebham by 215 votes out of over 64,000 votes cast. Hardly an "easy" win. Witness the danger of only being able to print news once a day when the world operates 24/7.

We'll discuss the results of yesterday's elections during the 12 p.m. hour of my radio program on Wednesday.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section - and be sure to check back later to hear a replay of the segment.

Jeff Wagner

Jeff Wagner

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Jeff Wagner recently completed his 15th year as a talk show host at 620 WTMJ. Jeff's show, which airs Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m., features stories which you might not have heard about elsewhere and emphasizes Jeff's common sense approach to issues.