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July 4, 2015

Walker expected to announce presidential run on July 13

Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker

Several published reports indicate Governor Scott Walker plans to launch his presidential bid on July 13.

POLITICO reported that aides to the Republican governor said he will file paperwork today with the Federal Election Commission, with plans to formally announce he is seeking the GOP nomination in Waukesha later this month. The item in Thursday morning’s Playbook quoted the unidentified aides as saying “After hearing from countless Americans during the Testing the Waters phase, Governor Walker this morning will file his papers of candidacy with the FEC. Governor Walker will announce his intentions in Waukesha on the afternoon of Monday, July 13th.”

WisPolitics.com reported that Walker has reserved the Waukesha County Expo Center for July 13, citing a “source with knowledge of his plans.”

Walker’s presidential bid has long been expected, although the governor has said he would wait until work on the state budget was completed before making an announcement. Lawmakers have not yet finished the budget, but are hoping to advance the package next week.

Bernie Sanders draws big crowd at Madison rally

berniemadisonU.S. Senator Bernie Sanders had an appreciative audience in Madison Wednesday night, as the Democratic presidential candidate barnstormed at the Alliant Energy Center. Sanders touched on a variety of domestic policy issues, but focused on what he refered to as a “grotesque” level of economic inequality. He spoke for an hour before a near capacity crowd at the arena, which seats about 10,000. The Vermont liberal said it was the biggest crowd of any candidate rally thus far in the presidential election cycle.

Sanders, who is challenging Hillary Clinton for their party’s nomination, called for “a political revolution,” and said that income inequality represents the great moral, economic and political issue of our time.

“The time has come, when people in Wisconsin, Vermont and all over this country, create a political movement which says to the billionaire class ‘you can’t have it all,'” Sanders said. “What we are saying to the Koch brothers, Governor Walker and all of those people, is that this great country and our government, belong to all of the people, and not just a handful of very wealthy people.”

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has served in the Senate as an Independent since 2007. Prior to that, he held Vermont’s single seat in the House of Representatives since 1991. Sanders called for the breakup of Wall Street’s largest financial institutions and for free tuition at all public colleges and universities in the U.S., pledged not to nominate any U.S. Supreme Court justices who are not committed to overturning the Citizens United decision, and to pursue reform of policing policies.

“Our job is to make sure that young African-Americans can walk down the street, without being abused or worse,” Sanders said.

Sanders, who described the current federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25 as “a starvation wage,” returned to the issue of economic inequality as he wrapped up his remarks, and he called on his supporters in engage with Republicans they know. “Ask your Republican friends at work if they really think it makes sense to vote for people who are going to send their jobs abroad, vote for people who will not raise the minimum wage, vote for people who are going to take health care away from their own children.”

While conceded that his opponents will be much better financed, Sanders insisted that “if we develop the grass-roots national movement that I know we can, at the end of the day they may have the money, but we have the people. And when the people stand together, we can win.”

Poll: Walker’s lead in Iowa shrinks

Gov. Scott Walker addresses an NRA convention in Tennessee.

Gov. Scott Walker

A new poll of likely Iowa Caucus-goers shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker holding on to a slim lead over a rapidly growing field of Republican presidential candidates, all of which are essentially tied for second.

According to a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in June, Walker had support from 18 percent of likely Iowa Caucus goers. That’s down from 21 percent in May and 25 percent in February of this year. Poll assistant director Peter Brown notes that Walker still has the highest favorable rating among the likely candidates, and added that a lot of Iowa Caucus-goers who say they are not voting for Walker still like him.

Brown said that Walker has “strong” favorability ratings, but with 16 candidates vying for attention — it’s just “simple math” that support is shifting. “Walker is losing votes…because there are so many candidates that people are moving a little bit to Joe, a little bit to Tom, a little bit to Harry over here.”

Donald Trump and Jeb Bush are bunched in a group of six candidates vying for second place in Iowa, although both Trump and Bush have the highest unfavorable ratings in the poll.

Governor Walker has made multiple visits to Iowa this year as he considers a presidential run. He’s expected to formally announce his bid for the Republican nomination later this month.

Pat Curtis with Radio Iowa contributed this report.

Democratic presidential candidate Sanders plans Madison visit

Sen. Bernie Sanders (Photo: US Senate)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (Photo: US Senate)

A Democratic candidate for president will rally with supporters in Madison later tonight.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) says the rally could end up being one of the largest of his campaign so far. In a call with reporters Tuesday, Sanders said “one never knows how RSVPs correlate with actual turnouts, but so far we have some 9,500…which is pretty good.”

Sanders, a Democrat from Vermont, believes he’s been building support due to people wanting to hear the truth about what’s happening in the American economy. “The middle class for the last 40 years has been disappearing, people are working longer hours for low wages, while at the same time, the people on top and the largest corporations are doing phenomenally well”

Sanders visit comes as Governor Scott Walker is expected to announce a run for the Republican presidential nomination later this month. The Senator said he’s “strongly opposed” to Walker’s agenda, and believes the country needs leadership that stands up for working families and is willing to fight big money special interests, something he “suspects” the two have different views on.

State reaches out to 100,000 inactive voters

Sample postcard

Sample postcard

State election officials are trying to verify the status of nearly 100,000 registered voters.

The Government Accountability Board has sent out “Notice of Suspension” postcards to registered voters who have not cast a ballot in the last four years. The state is required by law to remove inactive voters from its registration list, in order to protect the integrity of elections.

Anyone receiving a card who wants to remain a registered voter has one month to fill it out and return it to their municipal clerk. Those who fail to respond or have their card returned as undeliverable will be marked as inactive and will have to re-register before they can vote in future elections.

Voters who have changed their name or address should not return the postcard. Instead, the GAB says they should re-register under their current name or address.