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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

 5:52 PM 

8th CD, legislative races highlight convo

A focus of the Dem convention will be the fall legislative races, with the Senate Dems trying to hold on to a three-vote majority and the Assembly Dems feeling optimistic about overcoming a 52-47 GOP majority.

State Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, who's leading the charge for the fall Assembly campaigns, said some of the candidates will be on hand Friday night at the convention. He said the party faithful are energized.

"People get that if we have a clean sweep of the Senate, Assembly and governor we can have some decent policy stuff moving," he said. "The volume of candidates speaks to the excitement that's out there."

Wineke said the Dems have 90-plus candidates for the Assembly and may field candidates in all 99 districts.

Besides the presidential and legislative contests, Wineke said an emphasis of the convention will be the 8th Congressional District race between incumbent Dem Steve Kagen and Republican challenger John Gard. Kagen narrowly defeated the former Assembly speaker two years ago, and the race is among the top targets for Republicans nationally.

Wineke said there will be a big push at the convention to participate in the party's neighborhood volunteer project, which enlists Dems to visit 25 people in their neighborhoods identified as undecided voters. There will also be a workshop on Saturday on how to register voters.

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