Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Breaking news! Van Hollen endorsed!


Back at the Wigderson home office this morning, catching up on the convention news from the safety of my kitchen. is reporting JB Van Hollen received the endorsement of the Republican convention this morning on a voice vote.

I think it’s fair to say most Republicans are relatively pleased with Van Hollen. Making Van Hollen’s re-election in November more likely is the lucky draw of an opponent: Scott Hassett. Hassett is a trial lawyer, former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and has no prosecutorial experience.

Hassett’s website makes the boast, “As Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources , I led an agency with 2700 employees and a budget of $500 million. The DNR‘s enforcement division alone represents one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the State, comparable in size to the Department of Justice.”

He might want to find a new talking point as every serious hunter or fisher I’ve ever talked to has a story about being harassed by an Agent of Damn Near Russia. (“So here comes this warden from the DNR, Damn Near Russia, and he’s already got an attitude…”) It’s also a year when much of the campaign season will be focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, and I’m sure the RPW is already digging up examples of the DNR causing jobs to be lost, lost, lost.

On the other side of the ledger, while there may be some red meat issues for the Democrats to cling to such as the Van Hollen’s willingness to sue the Obama Administration over the health care bill, an idea that will have more relevance and resonance than Van Hollen’s bizarre promises about fighting terrorism four years ago, they’re really reduced to some nit-picky attacks. For example, while solving the crime lab problems cost more money and took more time than Van Hollen originally said it would, the crime lab is finally caught up. It won’t be hard for Van Hollen’s people to find local law enforcement people (nearly all of whom will endorse Van Hollen) to appear in television ads thanking Van Hollen for making their jobs easier.

That’s not to say Van Hollen’s campaign can take a vacation once they turn in their nomination papers. Hassett should be able to raise money to put on a credible campaign. But expect Van Hollen to be equally adept at raising money for the race, probably outspend Hassett, and crush Hassett in November.

The question about Van Hollen is not whether he will be re-elected this November, but what office he might run for in a future November.

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