Knives out in the big blame game!
The battle for leadership of Dane County’s Republican party is a microcosm of the civil war Republicans are waging nationally within itself. The attempt to purge popular chairman Scott Grabins, a citizen volunteer who teaches computer science in his day job, echoes the insurgency that played out in 15 roll call ballots before Kevin McCarthy could be elected Speaker of the House.
A closer analogy is the challenge to national Republican chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel, who campaigned alongside triumphant Ron Johnson here in Wisconsin. Republicans disappointed that the projected “Red Wave” yielded only a thin majority in the lower house of Congress are scapegoating McDaniel and not the former President who recruited losers like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Kari Lake in Arizona, or (for that matter) Tim Michels in Wisconsin.
Challenge to Grabins comes from three quarters:
1) Election deniers, who flatter themselves as “draining the swamp,” in their hero’s words. Many of them are convinced (however implausibly) that Nancy Pelosi is responsible for the January 6, 2021 assault on the Constitution.
Their fight is first with fellow Republicans. Party purists eager to purge dissenters for being “Republicans In Name Only” if they don’t buy into the Stolen Election Lie. Their bête noir is Robin Vos, the Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, because he refused to throw Wisconsin’s electors to the loser of the 2020 Presidential election. Their hero is Timothy Ramthun, who hosted the My Pillow man at his state Republican convention hospitality room in May 2022.
It was Ramthun who took aim at Rebecca Kleefisch’s teenaged daughter for the unforgivable sin of attending her high school homecoming dance on the arm of the son of Brian Hagedorn. The latter was the deciding vote on the WI Supreme Court to deny Tr•mp’s bid to overturn the Wisconsin election. Tr•mp then vented about that imagined conspiracy in a face-to-face meeting after which he endorsed Michels. (More here.)
Clash of egos?
2) The other challenge comes from Tim Michels’ backers, who need their own scapegoat for their expensive crash and burn. “In some ways it was the Thompson era versus the Walker era,” Jim Piwowarczyk & Jessica McBride at Wisconsin Right Now concluded.
A small group of Republican insiders parachuted Michels into the gubernatorial primary at the last minute to blow up the two good conservatives already in the race, turning it into a money-draining bloodbath.
The people searching for a Rebecca Kleefisch alternative and pushing Michels early on included former RNC chair/attorney/Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus, lobbyist Bill McCoshen, lobbyist John Gard, and former Gov. Tommy Thompson. … They were concerned Kleefisch couldn’t win, but it’s not a gamble that makes sense now: She certainly wouldn’t have done worse.— “We warned you.” Wisconsin Right Now
Kleefisch was an Energizer Bunny of a campaigner and would have checked off some boxes as Wisconsin’s first female governor.
3) Republicans frustrated that Dane County drags down the statewide ticket by giving Democrats an increasingly large head of steam and think we can do better. Democrats have been rolling up ever-greater margins in Dane County while the Republican take has been shrinking as a percentage of the total vote.
|Dem v. Republican|
in Dane County
|Michels v Evers 2022||62,300||174,277||20.7%|
|R. Johnson v Barnes ’22||68,228||163,541||22.7%|
|Trump v Biden ’20||78,800||181,327||22.9%|
|Vukmir v Tammy B. ’18||65,515||162,535||22.3%|
|Walker v Evers ’18||69,206||150,846||23.5%|
|Bush v. Gore ‘00||75,790||66,527||32.6%|
Blame Dane County if you want but:
• Ron Johnson got 5,928 more votes in Dane County — against Mandela Barnes, progressive and black! — than Michels. (RoJo had an office in Dane County; Michels did not.)
• Michels lost votes in the WOW counties compared to Scott Walker in 2018.
• Michels under-performed victorious Sen. Johnson by 68,667 votes statewide.
• Dane County Democrats were smart. They put up advisory referenda on repealing the ban on abortion and for legalizing marijuana — both of which prevailed with 82% of the total vote.
• The Act 10 reform of government employee unions was good policy but (face it!) it salted the earth in a county where the biggest employer is government.
• Michels was endorsed by Tr•mp, who rallied in state for him, and was the darling of the election deniers, RINO-purgers, anti-vaxxers, and QAnon addicts. “Never Trumpers are at it again,” Michels cried during his unsuccessful and divisive campaign.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Regrettably, this intra-party feud will fracture local Republicans.
→ NEXT: Blaska offers The FINAL SOLUTION!
You have a perspective on the GOP primary that I don’t share.
Where we would find agreement is on the unproductive internal squabble that is going on.
I received the following: “Blaska is part of the old guard in Dane County GOP politics that has been losing for two decades – by larger margins each cycle.”
In my experience, it is very hard for those active in politics to look in the mirror and ask whether they might be a part of a problem. My own history over several decades includes a long list of errors.
sorry that wrong. It is the old guard that last won for the GOP in Dane county and Wisconsin.
Do YOU think Becky Kleefisch could have beaten Evers?
“The Act 10 reform of government employee unions was good policy but (face it!) it salted the earth in a county where the biggest employer is government.”
Anyone who ventures outside of the Tofu Curtain (H/T GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN) which envelopes the 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality knows Act 10 has been/is/will continue to be wildly popular!
Act 10 kneecapped the despicably predatory WEA Trust; former thrice-elected Governor Scott “Walker says collective bargaining enabled WEA Trust, which is affiliated with the state’s largest teachers union, to dominate the health insurance market for school districts — and fleece taxpayers with excessive premiums.”
Without a gun to their head, WESconsin school districts have amassed 10’s, if not 100’s of million$ of premium savings.
Funniest thing, now that the despicable WEA Trust no longer has a sweetheart deal, not only was it forced to negotiate/supply lower cost coverage, but it has now EXITED_THE_GROUP_HEALTH_INSURANCE_PROGRAM
Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish!
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“Ron Johnson got 5,928 more votes in Dane County — against Mandela Barnes”
Credit for that goes to Big Peanut Butter, forced into choosing sides after Barnes’ PB&J debacle.
David Blaska wrote, “this intra-party feud will fracture local Republicans.”
That might be true; however, the exact opposite can also be true.
Passionate debate can also lead to firm foundational grounds to build a better future upon, that’s what happened in the very early days of the United States of America. Be patient, the sky is not falling on the Republican Party.
I will always promote passionate debate that’s rooted in facts and the core beliefs of the United States of America.
David Blaska asked, “Do YOU think Becky Kleefisch could have beaten Evers?”
Personally, I don’t think there was a candidate in the Republican Party that could actually beat Governor Evers this time around but I thought Michels had the best chance being the political outsider, that is until he made what I think was his biggest mistake by arrogantly thinking he was a shoo-in after the primary, at least that’s my perception of his attitude after the primary.
Kleefisch may have fared better, if only because she was much less sweaty than Michels. Lesson is always,always,always screentest under hot lights.
Not sure she could have won, but I think Becky would have done better.
In 1972, I defeated a Democrat incumbent by 9 votes for a seat in the Massachusetts Senate in a 4-1 D district. I was reelected 4 times and retired undefeated in 1982. (2 year terms in MA) But I campaigned full time after I graduated from U-Mass in June. Candidates matter.
I think Scott has done a great job.
Robert A. Hall
Scott seems like a nice guy & I’d be willing to give him another kick at the can.
Anyone who still thinks about the “stolen election” needs to be ignored. When will they learn you can not re-litigate this particular election?
National RNC Chair: Ronna needs to go. She can’t/won’t tell Trump to take a hike. His time Has come & gone. BUT, AND IT’S A BIG BUT, how freaking disingenuous it is of you to mention Mike Lindell as Ronna’s competition! You know he has a snoaballs chance in hell of winning a national RNC campaign. Why not mention her biggest challenge comes from Harmeet Dillion. Now SHE is the person that should head the RNC. She has new ideas, knows Republicans have to stop bitching about early voting, ballot harvesting and get on that train. It’s not stopping and we need to get on it. Plus, I think she will, in a polite way, edge Trump out and that’s what we need. And YOU, BLASKA, were snookered by all your old pals from the Thompson era. it was evident that Michels did not have his heart in the race and I blame all of those GOPe people (and that’s who all those that supported Michels were!) who always think they know better than the ordinary citizens who don’t live and breath politics every day.
“When will they learn you can not re-litigate this particular election?”
Uhmm, never. It is apparently impossible to reconcile the feeling of being cheated with the overwhelming evidence that they were in fact, not cheated.
I have several friends and relatives who are all-Trump, all the time.
I have never understood why they save up their most vile vitriol for the Republicans who have abandoned Orange Man. They now hold people like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as lower than low. They are far more despised than Chuck Schummer or Nancy Pelosi. Trumpsters think the worst person on Earth is Liz Cheney, and not AOC (who IS the worst person on Earth.)
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