Saturday, December 10th, 2016

The end is near

4

I have never seen a poll
absent a man impaled.

– James Wigderson

As former Congressman Mark Neumann rides the magic bus around the state hoping for that last-minute magic, some final thoughts, observations and predictions on the state-wide races.

This would be the moment for some hedge-betting. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker should win tomorrow. Is it a lock? No.

About a third of the Republican vote will come from the following five counties: Milwaukee, Washington, Racine, Waukesha, and Ozaukee. Some simple algebra will tell you that if Walker averages 60% from those counties, he would only need 46% on average from the rest of the state. That is the built-in advantage for Walker. Given the unanimous support from talk radio and the number of Republicans in Milwaukee County already in the habit of voting for him, 60% is not unreasonable, especially when you consider that there is no significant faction of the Republican coalition that is opposed to Walker’s candidacy. Across the spectrum, from the GOP regulars to the Tea Party, from economic conservatives to social conservatives, not one of those groupings should cause Walker any headaches tomorrow.

That said, Neumann’s ad buy and the high turnout projected by the state GAB could mean a more casual voter showing up to the polls Tuesday. Less informed, the big media campaign of Neumann may persuade them, possibly on name recognition alone. Add in the factor of people outstate just hating Milwaukee and Neumann could squeak it out.

Maybe. But not likely.

It looks like Neumann doesn’t believe he has a chance either. From WisPolitics.com:

— Having already sunk $4 million of his own money into his guv campaign, Mark Neumann didn’t make any more significant personal contributions in the final weeks of the primary, according to reports filed with the GAB.

Since the close of the pre-primary period Aug. 31, Neumann had received $14,397 in late contributions of $500 or more by mid-afternoon. His report listed no contributions from himself.

The last days are the days when the consultant comes to the candidate and says, “If we can just get a little more money, we can do x. C’mon, just a little more money. Please? One more mailing/radio ad/television ad/set of potholders is all I’m asking for.” And the underdog’s consultant will usually add, “We’re so close.”

For some reason, Neumann said, “nope.”

By the way, a Republican in Madison passed this last minute election thought to me,

Legislative Republicans are mortified at the thought of a Neumann win. If either or both houses flip, they will be brief majorities as Neumann is Tom Reynolds on steroids and the GOP will suffer in 2012.

Not to mention, no one has any confidence that Neumann is a draw as a fundraiser and he’ll likely be more interested (and need to be) in paying himself back than helping the GOP raise money for Legislative races.

(And if David Clarke loses, Neumann is the only one to blame)

Recognizing that I will look like a complete idiot if I’m wrong, I do think Walker wins. It’ll be closer than initially thought, but a Walker loss would be on a level of the New York Giants overtaking the Brooklyn Dodgers with “the shot heard round the world,” and Bobby Thompson is no longer with us.

As for a likely percentage, I think 53% to 55% for Walker. But once you get above a half-million Republicans showing up for a primary, who knows?

Lieutenant Governor: I think former Governor Tommy Thompson doing the last minute campaigning for Brett Davis is a two-edged sword. On the one hand* Thompson is a reminder of when times were great in Wisconsin. There was a chicken in every pot and brandy in every old-fashioned. On the other hand**, the Tea Party voters and the conservatives in this state also remember all the big spending under Thompson. Is that the image of the new, conservative Brett Davis? Or is that the Brett Davis that voted for spending and ethanol?

On the other hand***, who benefited from Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner campaigning for Scott Walker? That’s right, Rebecca Kleefisch. Driving up the turnout of conservatives in southeastern Wisconsin can only help her.

Checking in with the social conservatives, they seem to be breaking for Kleefisch. That’s not good for Davis, either.

Conservatives are stuck with a dilemma. Do they vote for Superior Mayor Dave Ross, a conservative with more experience than Rebecca Kleefisch, or do they vote for the candidate that can win? If enough conservatives prefer Dave Ross, does that kill the electability argument for Kleefisch?

By the way, is a Dick Morris endorsement for Kleefisch a good thing, or is there still an “ewww” factor with him?

Treasurer

I think some Democrats made a big mistake when they circled the wagons to save Dawn Marie Sass. I predict she’l survive the primary against Dan Bohrod, even though he’s much more qualified for the office.

On the Republican side, I’ll predict Scott Feldt just because he worked for Jack Voight. That’s not a bad track record to run on. But really, this office should either be appointed or combined with the Secretary of State. If you skip that line on the ballot, who would blame you?

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