Friday, September 30th, 2016

Why 2010 still haunts Neumann

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The Daily Caller explains the anger directed at former Congressman Mark Neumann, the natural result of the kind of campaign he ran in 2010 against Walker, and how it is affecting the current senate race. In the article, once again I give good quote the way a pundit should.

Neumann has previously told The Daily Caller that the nasty ads from that primary are a non-issue between the two men.

But some Wisconsin Republicans remain unwilling to let him off the hook. The ads that Neumann ran in 2009 and 2010 went beyond nasty, according to writer James Wigderson, particularly on Neumann’s side.

“Primary voters don’t like it when Republicans attack Republicans; however, I think most of them are mature enough to handle honest criticisms. But Neumann’s attacks were so over the top in 2010,” Wigderson said.

The negativity was even more offensive, Wigderson said, because at that point, “Republican voters were sensing a real chance to win and … take back the governorship in 2010, and here’s Neumann’s campaign just doing everything that they could to wreck that opportunity.”

After Neumann ran an ad accusing Walker of running up state spending faster than former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, 12News reported that several prominent Wisconsin Republicans called for Neumann to stop attacking Walker, saying that it was only helping the Democratic opponent. Jim Klauser, a former campaign chief for former Thompson urged Neumann to drop out. The Wisconsin Republican Party also pushed Neumann to stop the attacks.

Wigderson is one of several conservative Wisconsin bloggers who made a point to criticize Neumann for these things in 2011, when he first announced he would run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Herb Kohl. In a letter to Club for Growth president Chris Chocola and Sen. Jim DeMint, both of whom quickly endorsed Neumann after he entered the race, the group of bloggers expressed “great disappointment” that national figures were coming in to Wisconsin to try to influence the race.

“It is our responsibility to bring Mark Neumann’s lack of character to your attention,” the letter says.

Let’s look at the problem for Neumann. There is a sentiment out there that Neumann’s campaign crossed the line repeatedly in 2010 against Walker, and that it reflects badly on his character. That sentiment must be having an effector else we would not be hearing the radio ads by Neumann that, had he only known what kind of governor Walker would be, Neumann would not have run for governor.

Neumann got 39% of the vote against Walker in the primary two years ago. If Neumann were to get 39% of the vote this year, there would be a good chance of winning the Republican primary next Tuesday. However, that 39% was in a two-man race. Now there are four attractive candidates and it’s likely that a number of Neumann voters from 2010 were siphoned off by the other campaigns. (Certainly some of Neumann’s former staffers are voting against him.) In order to make up for those losses, Neumann needs to attract primary voters who did not vote for him the last time, and many of them are bitter over his campaign’s behavior in 2010. There may not be enough other Republican voters willing to forgive, forget, and vote for Neumann to fill the gap caused by attrition to other campaigns.

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