Six defining moments in Wisconsin politics in 2006
1. The state election board rules against Congressman Mark Green, taking over $400,000 from his campaign. This equalized the ethics issue, removing the one reason voters had to replace Governor Doyle with Green.
2. The Adelman Travel contract scandal breaks and Governor Doyle decides to keep the money even after declaring the contract process and the contribution tainted.
3. The failure of Republicans in the legislature to pass a Taxpayer Bill of Rights or a Taxpayer Protection Amendment. This removed any reason for the voters to support Republicans in November.
4. Conservative bloggers and talk radio (and a few liberals) stop Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz’s proposed ethanol mandate. This issue defined and divided the Republican Party philosophically, tactically and geographically.
5. The failure of the Republican Party to recruit anyone with credibility to run against Senator Kohl, including former Governor Thompson.
6. JB Van Hollen defeating Kathleen Falk in a very tight race despite WTMJ TV in Milwaukee calling the race for Falk immediately after the polls closed. Exit polling is still flawed and prone to inaccuracy. Meanwhile, Van Hollen demonstrated how to build a state-wide campaign even with a tough primary opponent and almost no name recognition.