• WisPolitics


Saturday, June 30, 2007

 3:27 PM 

WisPolitics.com: Edwards, Lautenschlager & Lawton favored in WisPolitics Dem Convo Straw Poll

Contact: JR Ross, WisPolitics Editor, 608-669-8418

MILWAUKEE -- Democratic activists voting in the annual WisPolitics.com Convention Straw Poll this weekend favored John Edwards for president. Straw poll voters also favored Peg Lautenschlager for attorney general in 2010 and Barb Lawton for governor three years from now, should Gov. Jim Doyle decide to pass on a third term.

Of the 389 delegates, alternates and guests who voted, 153 backed Edwards, while Hillary Clinton came in second with 83 votes and Barack Obama was third with 74. In the February 2004 Wisconsin presidential primary, Edwards finished a strong second to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the eventual Democratic nominee.

Lautenschlager won the attorney general's office in 2002 but was knocked out of last year's race in the Democratic primary by Dane Co. Exec. Kathleen Falk. Lautenschlager was favored by 158 of those who voted this weekend, while Falk was second with 95 votes. Falk lost to Republican J.B. Van Hollen last fall by fewer than 10,000 votes.

Doyle hinted in his keynote speech to the convention Friday night that he may run for a third term in 2010. The straw poll asked delegates, alternates and guests to pick a 2010 favorite if Doyle doesn't run. Lawton, the lieutenant governor, came in first with 129 votes, while Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was second with 63 votes.

Last year in La Crosse, Russ Feingold was the overwhelming favorite for president among those who voted. Lautenschlager also was favored over Falk in the Democratic primary for attorney general.

WisPolitics, since its launch in 2000, has conducted straw polls at state Republican and Democratic party conventions and considers them but one measure of a candidate's popularity and viability. Paper balloting was conducted Friday and Saturday at this year's convention, and only official attendees of the convention were allowed to vote.

WisPolitics.com is an independent non-partisan political news service based in Madison, Wis. WisPolitics also operates these companion sites: WisOpinion.com, WisBusiness.com and IowaPolitics.com.

2007 STRAW POLL QUESTIONS, RESULTS
389 total ballots cast

Which Democratic candidate do you support for president in 2008?
_Joe Biden 4
_Hillary Clinton 83
_Chris Dodd 1
_John Edwards 153
_Mike Gravel 2
_Dennis Kucinich 12
_Barack Obama 74
_Bill Richardson 39
_No votes 5
Write-ins:
_Al Gore 13
_Barb Boxer 1
_Russ Feingold 1
_Jim Doyle 1


If a 2010 primary for attorney general were being held today, which Democrat would you choose to be the party's nominee?
_Brian Blanchard 19
_John Chisholm 10
_Pedro Colon 22
_Kathleen Falk 95
_Matt Frank 13
_Peg Lautenschlager 158
_Lena Taylor 40
_No votes 23
Write-ins:
_Jon Richards 6
_Marc Marotta 1
_Scot Ross 1
_Barack Obama 1


If Gov. Jim Doyle does not seek re-election in 2010, which Democrat would you choose to be the party's nominee?

_John Antaramian 4
_Tom Barrett 63
_Libby Burmaster 5
_Dave Cieslewicz 17
_Russ Decker 17
_Jon Erpenbach 14
_Kathleen Falk 30
_Ron Kind 26
_Jim Kreuser 17
_Peg Lautenschlager 17
_Barb Lawton 129
_Judy Robson 17
_No votes 19
Write-ins:
_Pedro Colon 2
_Jim Doyle 2
_Marc Marotta 2
_Nino Amato 1
_Spencer Coggs 1
_Joe Czarnezki 1
_Russ Feingold 1
_Dave Hansen 1
_Lena Taylor 1
_Kathleen Vinehout 1
_Josh Zepnick 1

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 1:54 PM 

Lobbying resolution defeated

In a move spurred by those opposed to DPW Chairman Joe Wineke previously lobbying for AT&T on a so-called cable competition bill, a resolution came forward barring all elected officers and employees from lobbying for the interests of another entity.

One delegate argued that lobbying for the bill was tantamount to repeating Republican talking points.

Those opposed to it argued that the resolution would have unintended consequences, barring people from lobbying for causes and organizations that have goals in line with the DPW.

The measure was defeated with a resounding no, the loudest of the day.

Another resolution that would make the chairmanship a fulltime position, that stated "therefore the chair must avoid significant outside commitments," failed with another loud no and scant ayes.

Listen to the debate: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/070630LobbyingDebate.mp3

-- By David Wise

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 1:29 PM 

Back in business

The convention is back on track.

Apparently, rules call for 50 copies of resolutions be distributed on paper to the convention.

As for the constitutional questions, they have been rendered moot as copies of the resolution were found in a box behind a table and are being passed out.

-- By David Wise

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 1:23 PM 

Convention in short recess

The convention has moved into a brief recess following a heated argument about some resolutions being presented via PowerPoint, instead of on paper.

A delegate challenged the ruling of the chair, raising questions about constitutionally mandated parlimentary procedures.

Delegates have been informed they must clear the room by 3 p.m. so the hotel staff can set up for a wedding.

-- By David Wise

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 12:58 PM 

Delegates vote to impeach Bush, Cheney

Delegates just passed a resolution calling for immediate impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Supporters argued the two engaged in criminal behavior, while detractors said impeachment proceedings would distract Democrats from other issues.

-- By David Wise

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 12:19 PM 

Masel says he'll run in 2012

Activist Ben Masel says he'll be running for U.S. Senate again in 2012.

"This gives me a chance to take perhaps a longer look and longer perspective than those candidates who are running next year," Masel said. "I sure hope I don't have to deal with getting us out of Iraq by then."

Masel challenged Kohl for the party's nomination in 2006, but his candidacy failed to gain traction.

-- By David Wise

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 12:14 PM 

Sick leave resolutions

Resolutions are surfacing against the sick leave policy for elected state officials. Though some are amended, many have spoken against it -- including an address by Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee -- and Dem delegates vote against the measures criticizing the sick leave packages.

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 11:27 AM 

Amendments

Democrats are discussing various amendments, many dealing with President Bush and the war in Iraq. One such amendment said the troops need to come home from Iraq, followed by "now" listed 34 times.

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 11:00 AM 

Kittleson asks for support to unseat Petri

6th Congressional District candidate Roger Kittleson called for ending the Iraq war, providing access to affordable healthcare and balancing the federal budget in his pitch for support from delegates and guests today.

Kittleson was critical of U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, on each issue, forcefully saying he has done nothing to address any of them.

Kittleson laid out his personal, professional and political background, which includes experience with the dairy industry and the U.S.D.A dairy division and internships at the state Capitol and in Washington, D.C., and a congressional run in 1982.

-- By David Wise

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 10:05 AM 

First District candidates make their pitches

Congressional candidates vying to unseat U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan in the 1st Congressional district made their pitches before delegates and guests this morning.

Paulette Garin, who gave the longest speech of the three candidates, hit on the issues of health care, education, the Iraq war and fiscal responsibility.

Garin criticized Republican leaders who she said use "fear and intimidation as a management style" and added that while fear can be healthy, "it should never be used like it has been to manipulate or incapacitate us."

Garin also spoke against the Iraq war calling it "illegal and unconstitutional" and said it "is and will be the greatest shame ever to be brought upon this nation of ours."

Garin said Democrats "must project an attractive thoughtful platform" and that there is no need to tell Americans what they already know is going wrong. Instead Democrats need to offer solutions, she said.

Another 1st CD candidate, Marge Krupp, gave a lower-key speech, but laid out a multi-pronged platform of ending the Iraq war, fostering family-supporting jobs, and increasing access to affordable health care.

On the Iraq war, Krupp said she's been "against it from the start" and "its end is long overdue."

Krupp said she's for strengthening labor unions and said, "we need more than a higher minimum wage, we need family supporting jobs."

Krupp denounced the high cost of health care in the U.S. and Wisconsin, adding, "it's just not right."

A third 1st CD hopeful, Steven Herr, called for America to travel in a new direction toward a future where the environment is protected, war is engaged in only when necessary, where government is fiscally responsible, stem cell research is supported and the priority for security is social security.

Herr called for making Gov. Jim Doyle's Wisconsin Covenant a national program and extending Senate Dems' Healthy Wisconsin plan nationwide as well.

Herr said the Democratic party is "alive and kicking" and will "kick Paul Ryan out of office."

-- By David Wise

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 10:05 AM 

Health care reform one way or another

Delegates interviewed expressed support for Senate Dems "Health Wisconsin" plan for universal healthcare, and also voiced support for Doyle's expansion of BadgerCare Plus, hoping to see at least some movement on health care reform.

Timothy Rotter, 1st Congressional District delegate, said he prefers the Senate plan. "I think it does more for working families and working men and women of the state," Rotter said.

Others echoed that sentiment, but also voiced support for Doyle's plan.

Peter Rickman, delegate from the 2nd Congressional District, said the Senate plan would help Wisconsin's economy as the state competes with countries that provide universal health care.

"I really hope the plan does get passed," he said, but added whether it's the Senate plan or Gov. Doyle's plan, "we need to see some action on health care now."

Susan Menzel, delegate from the 7th Congressional District, said at some point everyone needs health insurance, but urged Doyle to press on with his BadgerCare Plus plan.

"I want him to continue with it," Menzel said, "one step at a time is fine."

Rep. Robert Turner, here as a delagate from Racine, said he thinks "either plan is better than what we have now," but added that Doyle's plan would have a better chance in the Assembly and he was fine with taking health care reform a step at a time.

-- David Wise

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 9:55 AM 

Kohl says troops need to come home now

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl slammed President Bush for the direction and entry into the war in Iraq, calling the conflict a "collosal mistake."

"We must end that conflict. Iraqis have failed time and time again, we can no longer wait for reason or hope or clarity from the Bush administration," Kohl said. "We need to bring our troops home now and only Democrats can lead the way."

Kohl also said that the Dem success in 2006 was a signal that the country believes in their message.

"The success of the 2006 election shows that we are on the right track," Kohl said.

Kohl also slammed the Bush administration for its management of the U.S. Department of Justice, and touted Congressional Democrats for holding Bush accountable.

"You could say the Democratic Congress put the spice back in the supboena," Kohl said.

Kohl ended his speech with a heartfelt thank you.

"Thank you very much for all you've done for me, I do deeply love you," Kohl said.

Kohl came back to the microphone after his speech and exit music, saying he is going to work "awfully hard" to internationalize commerce for our state.

"A fellow by the name of Yi ... we're going to try awfully hard to bring Yi to Wisconsin," Kohl said, referring to Yi Jianlian, the MIlwaukee Bucks first round draft pick who was initially reported to not want to play in Wisconsin.

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 9:42 AM 

Dems high on Butler, legislative races

Buzz about the convention is that state Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler's latest campaign finance filing will show a big improvement in his warchest.

Supreme Court races are non-partisan, but Butler's spot is seen as pivotal to the balance of the court. Butler, a Doyle appointee, is viewed as part of the court's liberal wing.

According to a source close to the campaign, Butler will report $150,000 raised on his June 30 report. His January continuing report listed just $8,938 cash on hand.

Butler faces re-election in April 2008. There are no declared candidates

Dems are also hyped about legislative races. One prominent Dem strategist says that the worst case scenario in the Senate is that the Dems gain only one seat. A particular target will be Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, who the strategist points out is in a district that voted 60 percent for Kerry in the last presidential election. One potential challenger to Kapanke is Dem Rep. Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse, said the source.

Other targets include Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, who is being challenged by Dem Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, and Sen. Carol Roessler, R-Oshkosh, the Dem source said.

"We are taking back the Assembly," the Dem source said. The Dem feels it's possible to knock off Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, who the strategist says holds a 52 percent Dem seat. The source said there is an "exciting" candidate being
recruited, but wouldn't name the potential challenger yet.

-- By Greg Bump

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 9:17 AM 

Let there be eats

Many Democrats are clutching coffee cups from the downstairs Starbucks as they wander in to the convention this morning.

The AFL-CIO is hosting a breakfast for delegates with a menu of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, muffins and fruit. About 40 people were eating at 9 a.m. Herb Kohl's annual breakfast featured a light continental breakfast, where he worked the room talking to guests.

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 7:43 AM 

Kohl breakfast

The annual Herb Kohl breakfast isn't going to start until 8 a.m., but already more than 50 people are lined up outside the door ready to dig in.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

 10:42 PM 

Doyle hints at another term



After a roughly 30-minute speech in which he touted the progress Democrats have made and potentially stand to make through the rest of his term, Gov. Jim Doyle signaled tonight that he may run for another term in 2010.

"And at the end of these four years of working together, who knows, we may need four more," Doyle said to rousing applause and cheers.

Much of Doyle's speech focused on the state budget battle and bread and butter issues of jobs, education and healthcare.

While the state Senate's universal health insurance plan has won applause when mentioned tonight, Doyle urged members to support his BadgerCare Plus plan, which aims to provide 98 percent of Wisconsinites with access to health care.

"We're going to have an important debate in this state - a debate we should have - about how we ensure every single person in this state has health insurance," Doyle said.

But he urged Democrats to back something "we should all agree on" - providing health care to children and low-income adults, even if they do not have children.

"Let's all agree, and let's get this done this year," Doyle said.

Doyle bashed "extremists" in the Republican-controlled Assembly for threatening to delay action on the budget, calling for them to "get it done now."

"They would delay a budget that funds education, makes health care affordable, and cuts taxes on real people, all because they don't like that my budget holds oil companies accountable and makes them pay their fair share," Doyle said.

Doyle held up the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against using race as a factor in admitting children into schools to add diversity as a case that highlights the importance of winning elections.

"Can you believe what we woke up and read about in the paper today?" Doyle said, adding the decision "practically overturned Brown versus the Board of Education" that desegregated schools.

Doyle said that wouldn't have happened had George W. Bush had not been in office to nominate justices who influenced the decision.

"This is the difference that elections make," Doyle said

-- By David Wise

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 10:20 PM 

Doyle's funny

The overhead lighting flickered on and off twice midway through Doyle's speech as the convention was entering its fourth hour.

"That means it's bar time," Doyle said. "You know, when they flick the lights off and on fifteen minutes before you got to leave."

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 10:18 PM 

Lawton endorses Clinton

Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton endorsed U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton following a speech in which she came and left the stage to a standing ovation after praising candidates from the Democratic presidential field while lobbying support for Gov. Doyle's budget plan.

Lawton said "this is our moment to seize" to support Doyle's budget that she said would put health care and education within reach for everyone, including the foreign born, while setting Wisconsin entrepreneurs free to pursue stem cell research.

Lawton said this can only happen with a Democrat in the White House, bashing Bush while praising each of the Democratic presidential candidates for being trendsetters in talking about Iraq, poverty and health care at the forefront of their agendas.

As Lawton rounded out the field, she saved her final comments for Clinton.

"I declare my unequivocal endorsement for Hillary Clinton," said Lawton. "As a trailblazer, she long had the courage to put health care at the front of her agenda.

"She has the breadth of national and international experience to make her poised to take office in 2009."

-- By Patrick Fitzgerald

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 9:26 PM 

Kagen blasts Bush



U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen shifted the boisterous mood of the crowd to a decidedly serious tone, blasting the White House and President Bush for taking the country to war in Iraq on false pretenses and delegitimizing presidential elections where "all votes are not counted."

"We have a lot of cleaning up to do in Washington," said Kagen. "People across the country demanded change and we delivered."

"The 110th Congress is fiscally and socially responsible."

Kagen commended fellow Democrats for raising the minimum wage, striving toward energy independence, accepting environmental accountability, and passing veteran's health care while also praising his home state for leading the way on health care reform.

"Don't think it's doctors or nurses that determine who live or die, it's politicians," said Kagen while quoting a Native American activist he heard as a young man.

Kagen continued lashing the Bush Administration, commenting that yesterday's decision by a U.S. Supreme Court influenced by Bush appointees once again brought back segregation in schools.

Kagen said Americans still face the reality of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove in the White House, drawing a strong chorus of boos from the audience as he said each of their names.

Kagen also called for ending the Iraq war.

"Until we change the color of the White House door from red to blue, we will be unable to stop this war."

"Folks, if you still don't understand it, making war is our worst human failure."

-- By Patrick Fizgerald

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 9:17 PM 

Moore says GOP helping Dems win

U.S. Rep Gwen Moore animated the crowd tonight calling Republicans "bumbling idiots" who are helping Democrats win elections by making mistakes and alienating minorities.

Moore praised the slate of Democratic presidential candidates saying they are "almost too good."

"This president has set such a low bar; he's made so many mistakes," she quipped, adding that President George W. Bush has not only gone down the wrong path but "he's blazed dozens of new wrong trails" and has "taken us to new heights of hypocrisy."

Moore said it's "plain and simple" that Democrats wouldn't be in the majority if Bush hadn't "botched" the Iraq war, creating what she called the "worst U.S. military crisis since the Vietnam War."

She also said Republicans have alienated both Muslims and Hispanics, two groups she said used to be Republicans and are now becoming Democrats.

"They're bumbling idiots, and they're helping us win," Moore said of Republicans.

To keep winning elections, Moore said Democrats need to focus on their "bread and butter" issues of health care jobs and education.

-- By David Wise

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 9:13 PM 

Feingold said Dems must unite on Iraq policy



U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold aimed some of his criticisms at fellow Democrats, saying all of his colleagues in the Senate need to stand by a new Iraq policy that would bring troops home from the war in Iraq.

"I'm not here to criticize my party," Feingold said, but added the reason Congress' approval rating fell below President Bush's because many do not see any change from the policy in Iraq. "This will be the number one test if whether we are worthy of the mandate you gave us in November."

Feingold said that he is going to reintroduce his timetable amendment soon with Senate Leader Harry Reid, hoping he gets more solid support in the Senate.

Feingold also applauded the Dem slate of candidates in 2006, saying it was the "best group of candidates I've ever worked with."

Feingold talked about his nationwide tour in 2005 and 2006, saying he didn't travel around while considering a presidential bid.

"I went to 19 states, and everyone said 'Oh, he's running for president.' No, I just wanted different people to work with in Washington," Feingold said.

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 8:57 PM 

Baldwin touts Dem successes



U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison got a standing ovation for her address to the Dem convention where she slammed Bush and touted Dem gains.

Baldwin touted the successes of the Wisconsin Democratic congressional delegation, including raising the minimum wage, keeping the prescription drug plan SeniorCare, college loan legislation, the employee free choice act and cleaning up corruption.

Baldwin also mused on how the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House is advancing her own successes in Congress.

"I've seen my legislation all of a sudden start to get passed," Baldwin said.

She also slammed the Bush administration, pointing to mismanagement and the war in Iraq. She also relayed a story she told a friend that a Dem Congress has to first "fix things" that the Republican majority and administration wrecked.

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 8:42 PM 

You've been warned

Chairman Joe Wineke told a herd of chatty Cathys in the back of the convention room to quiet down or have the DPW sergeant-at-arms take the talkative offenders out of the room. The order was met with applause from the delegates from the front of the room.

The next speaker, Milwaukee's U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, made a little fun and said, "That's OK, you can talk all you want when I'm speaking."

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 8:26 PM 

Robson touts Senate Dems' health plan



State Senate Democratic Leader Judy Robson rallied the convention crowd around increasing Democratic momentum nationwide, their winning of the majority in the state Senate and touted the state Senate's passage of a universal health insurance plan.

"Happy days are here again," said Robson. "Isn't a great to have a state Senate that is back to putting Wisconsin families first?"

Robson led the crowd with the rallying cry of "enough is enough" over Republicans opposition to universal health care.

"This allows doctors and nurses to be in charge of health care again instead of some bureaucrat in Texas."

Robson lamented those without access to health care, and said over 355,000 state residents have lost insurance provided by their employer over skyrocketing health care costs and company outsourcing abroad.

"Republicans have cut and run on the issue, and Democrats are delivering on universal health care."

-- By Patrick Fitzgerald

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 8:14 PM 

Kreuser promises "extreme makeover" in Assembly



State Assembly Democratic Leader Jim Kreuser reveled in gains Dems made in 2006 and pressed delegates and guests to work to pick up at least three more seats in the state Assembly so they can win the majority in both houses in 2008.

"We're going to fight tooth and nail to get those three seats," Kreuser said, adding that Democrats will build on gains in 2006 and "flip this house."

Kreuser promised an "extreme makeover, Assembly edition."

With winning those three seats, Kreuser said "education will take precedence over incarceration," taxes for the middle class will drop while corporations will be made to pay their "fair share," healthcare reform will pass both houses, and Democrats will make the hard fiscal decisions instead of "signing silly pledges on extremist websites."

Kreuser, however, said there is no need to stop at three, noting that 15 Republicans hold seats in areas Doyle beat Green. In those areas, Kreuser said Democrats are going to "play hard."

Kreuser thanked U.S. Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold for working to get former Republican congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mark Green's appointment as ambassador to Tanzania approved.

"As far as I'm concerned, we can't get rid of that guy out of Wisconsin into Tanzania fast enough," Kreuser said.

-- By David Wise

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 8:04 PM 

Treasurer Sass endorses Edwards campaign



State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass broke the mold and endorsed the candidacy of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-South Carolina, for president.

The speakers thus far have shied away from giving an endorsement for 2008 during the convention thus far, but Sass took the opportunity to give her full-throated support for Edwards.

"I believe he can most effectively convey the message to America" and better the country, Sass said.

Despite the endorsement, Sass told the party faithful they should support whomever they believe is the best candidate and "work as hard as they can."

Sass also said Wisconsin may be losing its "battle ground" state status.

"And when we control all of the offices ... and both houses ... that's when the Republican National Committee will move the tally sheet from a battle ground state to a safe Democratic state," Sass said.

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 7:53 PM 

Wineke celebrates Democratic gains

State Democratic Chair Joe Wineke amped up the capacity convention crowd with a victory recap of 2006, drawing the raucous applause from a boisterous crowd while pressing them to keep Wisconsin a blue state.

Wineke recalled how detractors declared he was "full of crap" when he called on Dems to re-elect Gov. Jim Doyle, and gain clout in the state Senate.

"People said 'Joe, you're full of crap,'" Wineke said. "And we won four state Senate seats."

Wineke complimented the party on for their solidarity on universal health care, taking a stand against discrimination, creating an LGBT and Latino caucus and for caring about the average American.

"We are a party that is diverse, they aren't," Wineke said of Republicans. "Republicans spent their convention trying to re-brand themselves."

"We're the party that stands for ending the war in Iraq, balancing the federal budget, saying no to Exxon-Mobil and yes for energy dependence, and yes for America's workers."

Wineke set the stage for Democratic presidential aspirations, saying "We need to elect a president in two years that will give us our country back."

"For the sake of our country, for the sake of our world, we must elect a Democrat as the President of the United States of America."

-- By Patrick Fitzgerald

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 7:36 PM 

Barrett say 2008 will be a "banner year" for Democrats


Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said it's going to be a "banner year" for Democrats in 2008 and that any of the current Democratic presidential candidates could beat any of the Republicans.

Barrett said that's because Americans understand now what's at stake at the Supreme Court level, in Congress and in the way America is viewed around the world.

"I want America to be respected again in the world," Barrett said. "I think Democrats can provide that for us." Barrett compared the Democratic and Republican lineup of presidential hopefuls to the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Wizards.

Barrett welcomed delegates and guest to a city he said is undergoing a "renaissance" but is still facing challenges and encouraged them to visit the many attractions.

-- By David Wise

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 7:24 PM 

Taylor touts Senate version of the budget


DPW first vice chair Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, touted the state budget that was passed out of the Senate this week, especially the Dem-inserted "Healthy Wisconsin" health care overhaul plan.

"Health care reform is on the table," Taylor said in her address at the DPW convention. "You know us Democrats in the Senate, we delivered it."

Taylor also praised Gov. Jim Doyle for his work on the budget, applauding him for his work on funding education.

Taylor urged for continued support for Democrats in the Senate, Assembly and President in 2008.

"We need to make Wisconsin a blue state, not a purple state -- not just in the Senate -- but in the Assembly and the President," Taylor said.

Taylor also relived her cheerleader days from high school, leading the state Dems in a cheer, chanting, "When I say Demo, you say 'Crat -- Demo-Crat! Demo-Crat!

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 7:08 PM 

Dem Convention hospitality suites

Dems will have five hospitality suites to visit after the convention closes after Gov. Jim Doyle's keynote address.

The hosts of the suites are Doyle-Lawton, Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore and the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee.

Herb Kohl is hosting a breakfast tomorrow morning

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 7:02 PM 

Convention opens


Following opening formalities, speakers are addressing the convention.

Milwaukee County Chair Martha Love welcomed delegates and guests to Milwaukee.

Mayor Tom Barrett is up now, to be followed by State Chair Joe Wineke and state Sen. Lena Taylor.

-- By David Wise

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 6:04 PM 

Kagen hopeful for Dems in '08


U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen arrived at the convention about 20 minutes ago and says it's good to be in Wisconsin again.

"I'm out in Washington, D.C.," Kagen said. "Sometimes I don't understand what they're saying and I'm not sure if I can believe them; here in Wisconsin, I can believe what you're telling me."

Kagen said Democrat's are looking good going into '08.

"What you're going to find is the Democrats are united," Kagen said. "We are the party of peace, the party of prosperity and the party of justice for everyone.

"It's our core values that really reach out and attract everyone to our message."

"I think people are still listening," Kagen said. "They're looking for believability, someone they can trust."

"If we've learned one thing in the past several years with this Republican administration is that you cannot trust Republicans with money anymore and you cannot trust Republicans in the administration anymore to tell the truth," he added.

Kagen said he's not had a chance to review Senate Dems' universal health insurance plan yet, but said he's been working to get a national solution to what he called a "crisis" in healthcare.

"I'm working hard to gain access to affordable healthcare for every citizen, no matter where they are in these United States," Kagen said.

-- By David Wise

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 5:24 PM 

Dems converge


DemsConv
Originally uploaded by WisPolitics.com
State Democrats converge at the Hilton Milkwaukee City Center tonight as the start of the annual convention begins.

The Democrats are crowding busy halls on the fourth floor where vendors, party reps, politicians and candidates set up tables.

The tables include:
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Barack Obama
Bill Richardson
Gwen Moore
Herb Kohl
Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots
Racine County Democrats
Waupaca/Waushare Counties Democratic Party
College Democrats
Senate Democrats
Progressive online radio state MKEtalks.com
Democrats for Peace
Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans
Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families
Democracy for Wisconsin
Fair Wisconsin
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin
NARAL
National Women's Political Caucus
Why Mommy is a Democrat? book table

Tiger Eye Design
Tony Doom Supply
K Enterprises


-- By Matt Dolbey

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 5:11 PM 

Two Times is Enough


While buttons promoting Senate Dems' universal health coverage plan at the convention declare "Enough is Enough," two-time congressional candidate Bryan Kennedy said today "two times is enough."

Kennedy says he won't challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner again for the 5th Congressional District seat, which Sensenbrenner's held since 1978.

-- By David Wise

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 9:59 AM 

Straw poll rules

WisPolitics is conducting straw polls at both party conventions this year. Results from the Dem straw poll will be released late Saturday afternoon.

The following are the rules for this year's poll:

--A list of possible candidates will appear in alphabetical order on a paper ballot for each question. A blank-line labeled "Other" will follow the names.

--All convention delegates, alternates, and official guests will be eligible to vote. Only one vote may be cast per person. WisPolitics staff will stamp the credentials of all voters and use other means to ensure nobody votes more than once.

--Ballots with more than one name marked will not be counted. Ballots with an illegible write-in name will not be counted. WisPolitics will be the sole judge as to whether a ballot should be counted.

--The results will be counted by WisPolitics staff and released at http://www.wispolitics.com on the Saturday of the convention.

Here are this year's questions for Democrats:


Which Democratic candidate do you support for president in 2008?
Joe Biden
Hillary Clinton
Chris Dodd
John Edwards
Mike Gravel
Dennis Kucinich
Barack Obama
Bill Richardson
Other

If a 2010 primary for attorney general were being held today, which Democrat would you choose to be the party's nominee?
Brian Blanchard
John Chisholm
Pedro Colon
Kathleen Falk
Matt Frank
Peg Lautenschlager
Lena Taylor
Other

If Gov. Jim Doyle does not seek re-election in 2010, which Democrat would you choose to be the party's nominee:
John Antaramian
Tom Barrett
Libby Burmaster
Dave Cieslewicz
Russ Decker
Jon Erpenbach
Kathleen Falk
Ron Kind
Jim Kreuser
Peg Lautenschlager
Barb Lawton
Judy Robson
Other

Check the GOP Convention Blog for results from the Republican party convention:
http://blogs.wispolitics.com/GOPconvos/

-- JR Ross

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

 4:03 PM 

No prez candidates at Dem convo

Unlike the Republicans, who were able to draw two second-tier presidential candidates to their event -- Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson -- the Democrats weren't able to draw any of the candidates from their presidential field. The last time the Dems had a speaker with even tenuous ties to the presidential race (outside of U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold) was 2005, when Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh was the Friday keynote speaker.

Gov. Jim Doyle will be the keynote speaker this year. Feingold, D-Middleton, and Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton will also address the convention on Friday, along with state legislators. Congressional delegation members will speak over the weekend as their schedules permit. U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Milwaukee, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass will appear on Saturday.

"When it became fairly obvious that the major candidates for president were not going to states that have primaries after February 5, we wanted to move toward celebrating the successes we've had with the governor being re-elected, and taking control in the Senate and making big gains in the Assembly," DPW Chairman Joe Wineke said. "We could have gone out and gotten some name, some governor from somewhere or something, but that really didn't fit our goal."

TENTATIVE SPEAKING SCHEDULE

Friday, June 29

6:30 p.m. Call to order
Presentation of colors & pledge National Anthem
Invocation

7:00 p.m. Welcome: Milwaukee County Party Chair Martha Love
Mayor Tom Barrett
State chair's report: Joe Wineke
1st vice chair's report: Lena Taylor

7:20 p.m. State Assembly Democratic Leader Jim Kreuser
State Senate Democratic Leader Judy Robson
State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass
Secretary of State Doug LaFollette

7:50 p.m. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin
Members of our congressional delegation

8:30 p.m. Senator Russ Feingold
Lt. Gov. Barb Lawton
Keynote speaker: Gov. Jim Doyle

Saturday, June 30

8:30 a.m. Platform and resolutions debate

9:30 a.m. Convention reports

10:00 a.m. Senator Herb Kohl
Congressman Steve Kagen
Members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation
Paulette Garin, candidate for Congress, 1st district
Marge Krupp, candidate for Congress, 1st district
Steve Herr, candidate for Congress, 1st district

11:00 a.m. Announcement of raffle winners
Platform and resolutions debate continues

12:00 (approx.) Convention adjourns

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

 4:30 PM 

Dems ready to revel in '06 successes

Whereas Republicans viewed this year's state convention as a chance to regroup, state Dems go into their convo looking to celebrate.

"It's about celebrating '06," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman Joe Wineke, who couldn't resist a dig at the GOP. "I tell you one thing -- we're not going to come out of our convention saying we need to 'rebrand ourselves.' I seem to remember the Republicans doing that."

"We have not been able to come together and celebrate," said Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee, the first vice chair of the state party. "The last time we got together we talked about what we wanted to do. This is actually the homecoming, the reunion where we say, 'This is what we did, and this is what's next.' I think it's going to be an exciting time."

Dems are hoping to ride the momentum from an '06 election that saw Gov. Jim Doyle become the first Democratic governor to be re-elected in Wisconsin since 1974, saw them re-take control of the Senate for the first time since 2002, saw them win the Republican-leaning 8th Congressional District and saw them narrow the GOP margin in the state Assembly to 52-47. The Democrats are giddy about their chances to take the presidency and the majority in the Assembly in '08.

"People can see what's happened in the Senate," Taylor said. "Knowing that we only need three seats in the Assembly, there's a desire to want to see a difference. People can see a difference already in how things are being done."

Dems see enough vulnerability to flip the three seats needed to swing the majority. Rep. Eugene Hahn of Cambria won his '06 race by less than 1 percent, while Rep. Brett Davis of Oregon is back with a 1 percent margin, and Westby Rep. Lee Nerison won re-election with less than a 3 percent margin.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

 4:10 PM 

Wineke dodges potential chair challenge


After taking his lumps from the party's liberal wing, Dem Party Chair Joe Wineke dropped a gig as a lobbyist for AT&T in early June.

The non-salaried Democratic state party chair says the job was distracting attention from the party's mission and that he wanted to head off the possibility someone would challenge him at the party's state convention.

"We were going into a convention, and the whole issue seemed to be about me," Wineke said. "Am I confident I would have won in the end? Yes, but what would the story have been coming out of the convention? I'm not the story."

Some Dems still grumble the whole situation should have never happened in the first place. But insiders on both sides generally cut him some slack and give him credit for helping Dems to a lot of victories last November.

Wineke said AT&T is the only lobbying gig he has taken since becoming state chair. He said he has worked as a consultant for other interests while chair, but declined to say who they were. He also said he hasn't made a decision about taking another lobbying job while chair.

"Lobbying for labor organizations is OK, but if you lobbying for anyone else, it isn't. The Democratic Party needs to get its act together on that one," Wineke said.

Potential challengers faced a June 8 deadline to file the paperwork to take on Wineke, but no one did.

-- By JR Ross

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