The Comeback Codger
Tommy Thompson, 70, who last won an election in 1998, roared back to win a tough 4-way primary yesterday for the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat now held by Herb Kohl. If he wins the general election, as is expected, Democratic nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin will either get a plum appointment in the next Obama Administration or else become a lobbyist for a liberal cause group.
But what of the Republican losers? Eric Hovde, tall, fair and handsome, blew about $5 million of his own money for the privilege of finishing second after enduring weeks of TV attack ads on his character. He would be an impressive Republican candidate for high office, except that all the important statewide offices are already held by other Republicans. I expect him to return to his business ventures in an effort to recoup his massive wager.
Mark Neumann, former congressman from the southeast First Distrct, has now lost three out of three contests for statewide office (1), but is not out of Wisconsin Republican politics. If Rep. Paul Ryan, who now represents the First District, is both re-elected to Congress and elected Vice President of the United States on November 6, there will be a special election to fill his seat early in 2013. In that case, Neumann is perfectly situated to win the GOP nomination for that position. Otherwse, look for him to run for something sometime. He stil has the time and the money.
Jeff Fitzgerald forfeited his secure Assembly seat and role as Speaker to make this race against richer and better-known opponents. Governor Walker will no doubt appoint him to some high-level job in his administration early next year. Fitzgerald is young enough to have another crack at high elective office during the next twenty years.
In the hotly-contested race for the State Senate seat now held by City Treasurer Spencer Coggs, his cousin Elizabeth lost to Supervisor Nikiya Harris. The Coggs surname, which had been golden in the northside of Milwaukee for decades, has apparently lost its lustre, as Patricia Coggs also lost a race for County Supervisor for the 5th District in April. For the first time since 1982, there will be no one named Coggs in the Wisconsin legislature. Eliizabeth Coggs lost the white vote in this district when she urged black voters to "vote for someone who looks like you" in the Democratic primary for State Representative for the 10th District.
But the voters of that district rejected that racial appeal and nominated Rep. Sandy Pasch, who now represents the 22nd District . Pasch, of Whitefish Bay, was the only white candidate (out of four) in the primary; she will move into Shorewood, which is the eastern part of the new 10th.
All the Democratic candidates in this primary who supported School Choice ( including incumbent Jason Fields of the 11th District) lost their primaries, largely due to union opposition. The original program had bi-partisan support, but the changes enacted by the Republican legislature in 2011 did not. The program is very popular in Milwaukee, and the Democratic Party risks many votes by opposing it.
Gerald S Glazer
(1) US Senator in 1998, Governor (primary) in 2010, and now Senator (primary).