September 22, 2014

First Lady to campaign in Wisconsin for Mary Burke

First Lady Michelle Obama (PHOTO: White House)

First Lady Michelle Obama (PHOTO: White House)

Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke will be getting some help on the campaign trail from the White House.

Burke’s campaign announced Monday that First Lady Michelle Obama will come to Wisconsin on September 29th to take part in a grassroots campaign event. The event will be in Milwaukee, although a specific location or time have not yet been announced.

Burke met privately with President Obama during a stop in Milwaukee on Labor Day, although did not appear on stage with him. The First Lady’s visit comes on the same day that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans to be in the state to campaign for Burke’s opponent, incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Mary Burke stands by jobs plan amid copying controversy

Mary Burke (Photo: WRN)

Mary Burke (Photo: WRN)

The Democratic challenger for governor is standing behind her plan to create jobs and grow the economy.

Republicans on Friday hurled accusations of plagiarism against Democrat Mary Burke, following a BuzzFeed report that found paragraphs in her jobs plan matched language in proposals offered by Democratic candidates for governor in other states in previous elections. The language was added by a consultant to the campaign, Eric Schnurer, who had worked on the other campaigns where the wording had been used.

Speaking to reporters in Appleton late Friday afternoon, Burke said that Schnurer was one of many experts her campaign worked with in developing the jobs plan. Much like in the private sector, Burke said she studied ideas from around the country because “the good ones are the ones that are based on ideas that have worked in other places.” She said the state does not have to “reinvent the wheel” to move the economy forward.

AUDIO: Mary Burke defends jobs plan.

While Burke stood by her plan, she also noted the Schnurer was never supposed to submit the exact same words he used when contributing to other plans. As a result of that, Burke said the campaign has terminated its relationship with him.

Affiliate WHBY contributed to this report.

Walker responds to Burke copying claim

Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker says a report that his Democratic opponent’s jobs plans includes text copied from proposals offered by candidates for governor in other states “doesn’t change much” about the real discussions of the campaign.

Democrat Mary Burke’s campaign says a consultant who worked on the jobs plan is responsible for the text, which was the same or similar to paragraphs found in campaign plans offered by Delaware Governor Jack Markell in 2008, Ward Cammack of Tennessee in 2009, and John Gregg of Indiana in 2012. The consultant, Eric Schnurer, had also worked with those candidates. Burke’s campaign says it has cut all ties with Schnurer, following the revelations.

During a stop in the Green Bay area on Friday, Governor Walker said “it was disappointing to hear” about the situation. Still, Walker said he would rather be “talking about the positives of our plan, rather than who may or may not have been involved in writing our opponent’s plan.”

AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker (:11)

Burke’s campaign notes that she worked with a variety of experts in putting together her jobs plan. Walker admitted that’s it not unusual to use ideas from other politicians, but said it’s typically to give those individuals credit. He pointed to his “Better Bottom Line” proposal announced in his State of the State Address, which originated with Governor Jack Markell. Walker says he asked Markell in advance about using the term and acknowledged its origins in his speech.


Many Wisconsin student ID cards will not work for voting

File photo

File photo

Wisconsin’s Voter ID law does allow the use of qualifying student identification cards to obtain a ballot at the polls. However, very few campuses in the state are currently using card designs that comply with the requirements of the law.

According to the state Government Accountability Board, a valid student ID for voting must include the student’s name, signature, and photo. It must also feature an issuing and expiration date, which cannot be more than two years after the ID was issued, and students must present documentation at the polls proving they are currently enrolled.

GAB director Kevin Kennedy says student IDs “continue to be a challenge,” although he notes that many students already have other types of ID that are valid for voting, such as a Wisconsin-issued driver’s license or a passport. A state issued ID can still be used at the polls, even if the student’s address is not current. If they are registering to vote on Election Day, they will need to have other documentation proving their residency though, such as a lease or housing contract.

The University of Wisconsin System has been working to make sure students have what they need to vote in November. They System has put up a website outlining voting information for multiple campuses. The UW-Madison has also announced that it will begin issuing free ID cards to students who request them, which can be specifically used for voting.

Kennedy says the key is for students to know in advance what they are going to need at the polls. He says “just like you give a lot of thought to who you’re going to vote for, give a lot of thought to what it takes to get a ballot.”

Wisconsin attorney general candidates agree to debate

Susan Happ, Brad Schimel (Photo: WRN)

Susan Happ, Brad Schimel

The two major candidates for Attorney General in Wisconsin will meet in at least one debate before the November 4th election.

Republican Brad Schimel and Democrat Susan Happ have agreed to both attend a debate that will be held on the evening of October 24th. The debate, which will air statewide on TV and radio, is sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio and Television, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Schimel’s campaign says he had agreed to participate in at least four debates, and renewed a call on Thursday for Happ to participate in “more joint exchanges.” Happ’s campaign says they expect there will be more debates between the two, although those discussions are still underway.

Schimel is the Waukesha County district attorney, while Happ is the chief prosecutor in Jefferson County. The most recent Marquette University Law School poll shows the race between the two is a dead heat, although roughly 20 percent of registered voters still say they don’t know enough about either candidate to have an opinion about them.

The winner of the race replaces outgoing Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who is stepping down after eight years in office.