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Republicans have interesting choices Tuesday

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Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:Sep 9, 2010; Section:Opinion; Page Number:10A

Republicans have interesting choices Tuesday

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

Primary election day is this Tuesday. I have a stack of paper with information on just about every race and less than 700 words in a column. I want all of you to call the Sound Off line and demand more space for me.

That said, just a few last-minute observations about some of the races facing Waukesha voters.

Let’s start with the race for sheriff. As someone much wiser than myself said to me recently, “Sheriff’s races in Waukesha County aren’t for the faint-hearted.”

Tom Alioto’s explanation for his shoplifting arrest is just bizarre. He claims it was just a mistake over the pricing of an item. If there were several of the same items that had different prices, why not just point out the obvious error? Then Alioto decided getting a ticket for shoplifting wasn’t a big deal. Really? After they took a mug shot?

Alioto claims the sheriff’s department isn’t saving anyone money by taking over policing responsibilities for local communities, but then the only reason Trawicki is able to give so much money back to the county is because of the profits from doing local police work. The profits Alioto claimed didn’t exist.

On Tuesday, we learned Alioto stuck in $35,000 of his own money into the race for sheriff. Who puts $35,000 of their own money into a race for sheriff ? It’s not like sheriffs move up in the political world around here.

Is all this spite over the Waukesha sheriff’s department taking over for the town of Lisbon police, Alioto’s former department?

In the race for lieutenant governor, there is no perfect candidate. That’s because I’m not running.

State Rep. Brett Davis has experience and is great on education issues. Unfortunately, he is not running for president of the local school board.

Davis is mostly known for his compromises with the Democrats, including a vote for Gov. Jim Doyle’s 2007-2008 budget. Ironically, Davis is now campaigning against the “government waste” he previously voted for in that budget.

Davis’ defenders say he was only voting that way to hang onto to his Assembly seat in liberal territory. Fine, then Davis should have kept making those compromises in the Assembly rather than potentially make those compromises as a replacement governor. I don’t know what compromises Davis would make to be elected governor in his own right should something happen to Walker, and I don’t want to find out.

Unfortunately the conservative with some experience, Mayor of Superior Dave Ross, never caught on. His campaign is near AWOL .

That leaves Waukesha County’s Rebecca Kleefisch, a former television news personality. Kleefisch has solid credentials as a conservative and has been endorsed by nearly every conservative group in the state.

Kleefisch has also proven to be a much tougher politician than was expected. She even surpassed Madison insider Davis in fundraising.

I understand the concern about her lack of political experience. Should Walker beat Barrett, it’s unlikely Walker will be leaving Madison anytime soon. Kleefisch will have plenty of time to gain political experience, and hopefully not the kind of experience Davis has shown.

You may notice I haven’t mentioned Mark Neumann as a potential governor. There is almost no chance of that happening.

Neumann’s campaign gimmick is that he isn’t a career politician, even though he tried to be one but lost to Feingold in 1998.

Neumann ran a cheap-shot campaign for much of the year, even trying to blame Walker for the accident at O’Donnell Park in Milwaukee. Neumann sought the party’s endorsement at the Republican state convention (he even held a luau) and then lied about his supporters not being able to get in.

Neumann is now claiming he isn’t running a negative campaign even though he is running ads attacking his opponents as career politicians. I’m amazed at the dishonesty.

Walker has the support of the party base, the tea party activists, the Christian right, and every other segment of the Republican coalition.

Neumann’s campaign has been one long dishonest and grimy affair. Now he is whining because Walker is attacking Neumann’s voting record as a politician. Fortunately for the voters of Wisconsin, Neumann’s campaign comes to a pathetic end this Tuesday.

JAMES WIGDERSON

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