September 30, 2014

State elections agency asks for funding to promote voter ID requirement

(File photo: WRN)

(File photo: WRN)

State election officials are asking the Legislature for funding, to help inform the public about the reinstatement of Wisconsin’s Voter ID requirement.

The Government Accountability Board is asking lawmakers to release $460,800 in already-appropriated state funds. The money was earmarked for five new employees to help implement voter ID, but with the election just five weeks away, GAB spokesman Reid Magney says it makes more sense to use the funds for TV, radio, and online campaigns about the requirement that voters show a government-issued photo ID at the polls.

A federal appeals court lifted an injunction blocking the voter ID requirement in early September, more than two years after a judge issued the first of multiple orders blocking the law from being enforced.

Magney says the GAB will rely mainly on the same ad campaign that was used before the law was put on hold. He says two ads have already been updated to include information about a new system that’s in place to help verify the identity of voters who lack a birth certificate and need an ID for voting.

Michelle Obama returning to Wisconsin to campaign for Mary Burke

First Lady Michelle Obama (PHOTO: White House)

First Lady Michelle Obama (PHOTO: White House)

Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke is getting a second round of help on the campaign trail from the First Lady. Just a day after Michelle Obama campaigned for Burke in Milwaukee, Burke’s campaign announced the First Lady will be in Madison next Tuesday for another “grassroots campaign event.”

The Burke campaign said the time and location of the event will be announced later.

Mrs. Obama spoke to a large crowd of Burke supporters Monday during a rally in Milwaukee, where she urged them to get out and encourage people to vote in what could be a close election between the Democrat and Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Michelle Obama and Chris Christie campaign in Wisconsin

There was high-profile help, for the candidates for Governor in Wisconsin on Monday. First Lady Michelle Obama took to the stump for Democrat Mary Burke during an afternoon rally in Milwaukee, while earlier in the day, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined Republican Governor Scott Walker on the campaign trail in Hudson. The locations couldn’t have been farther apart, but the message was essentially the same: with most polls showing a close race between the two candidates, their supporters will need to turn out every potential vote between now and November 4th.

“If we don’t elect leaders like Mary Burke, who will put people first instead of just fighting for special interests, then we know exactly what will happen. We can’t pretend we don’t know,” Mrs. Obama warned. She urged Burke supporters to keep working to connect with voters. “Tell them that we’ve got just a little over a month until Election Day, and we all need to be as passionate and as hungry for this election as we were back in 2008 and 2012.”

In Hudson, Christie warned supporters that “big government union bosses” want to make an example of the Republican governor, whose signature Act 10 legislation greatly diminished the impact of public employee unions on state politics.

“One of the reasons you go to Hudson is that the rest of the state is not going to hear much about it, said Wisconsin Democratic Party Mike Tate. Hudson is only a half hour east of St. Paul, and in the Twin Cities media market.

National figures join candidates for Wisconsin governor on campaign trail

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File photo

With the election just a little over a month away, the candidates for governor in Wisconsin will be calling on a little star power today to help give their campaigns a boost.

Republican incumbent Scott Walker has a late morning rally scheduled in Hudson with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, while Democrat Mary Burke has an afternoon event planned in Milwaukee with First Lady Michelle Obama

Both Christie and Walker have been mentioned as possible Republican presidential hopefuls for 2016. They’ll appear at the Empire Bucket in Hudson. Burke and Michelle Obama will speak to supporters at Milwaukee’s downtown convention center.

The most recent Marquette University Law School poll showed both Burke and Walker in a virtual dead heat.

Republicans file complaint against Happ over sexual assault case

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Susan Happ

The state Republican Party is accusing the Democratic candidate for attorney general of misconduct in office.

The complaint centers around how Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ handled the prosecution of a man accused of sexual assaulting a girl. Happ’s husband was involved in a land deal with the man, and the state GOP argues the man was not charged until after the deal was paid off, 16 months after the initial accusation.

An assistant district attorney handled the case, which resulted in a deferred prosecution agreement.

A spokesman for Happ’s campaign called it a baseless complaint and just another piece of a right wing smear campaign. Campaign Manager Josh Lease said “District Attorney Happ did everything right, followed the rules laid out by the State Supreme Court, and screened herself off from any decisions about this case. We are confident that will be GAB’s finding and conclusion.”

The complaint was filed just hours after the state Democratic Party accused Republican attorney general candidate Brad Schimel of cutting a deal with a man accused of sexual assaulting an intoxicated 14-year-old girl, which allowed him to plead guilty to a reduced charge and serve six months in jail. Schimel is the Waukesha County district attorney.
Schimel and Happ face each other in a race the most recent Marquette Unversity Law School poll showed is a dead heat.