Wisconsin Democrats aim to energize grassroots and defy headwinds at this year’s state convention | WUWM 89.7 FM


Wisconsin’s annual Democratic convention is taking place in La Crosse this year, in person for the first time since 2019 and about five months before the 2022 midterm elections, which include big races for governor and the U.S. Senate.

JR Ross, editor of WisPolitics.com, said Democrats will try to present a unified front and show they are motivated and excited about the midterm elections. “Look, you know, Democrats are in a tough spot right now,” Ross says. “Looking at the polls for President Biden, he’s not doing particularly well. The ruling party, the White House, often struggles in midterm elections.”

He says that on top of this normal mid-term dynamic, add high gas prices, inflation, crime and the headwind coming out of Washington, DC. “So the Democrats kind of want to ignore that and focus on the positives. It’s like a rally for the fans to try to get them motivated a bit before the last six months of the year and prepare for the fall. “

Ross says Democrats will also try to use hot topics like gun control and abortion to energize their base.

“Democrats are making a conscious effort to try to portray Republicans as extremists as threats to A, B and C rights. ‘And that’s why you should make sure you vote’ because they can’t afford to have the base discouraged or not excited to be there.

He says Democrats will also want to offer solutions to these and other problems. “[Democrats will say] we have a plan to, for example, deal with a shortage of infant formula, don’t we? said Ross. “They voted for this bill in Congress that would help solve this problem. Republicans opposed it. They have this bill that would attack the price gouging of gasoline. They’re going to try to say, ‘We’re working on solutions to these problems and trying to help people.'”

Ross says Democrats want to portray Republicans as focused on 2020 and conspiracy theories or as a party beholden to Trump, which goes against Wisconsin values. He points out that a significant segment of the GOP base is still unhappy with 2020 and thinks the election was stolen or didn’t go right, including the top gubernatorial candidates on the Republican side. This despite recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties and multiple unsuccessful Republican lawsuits.

“Democrats want to argue that ‘Republicans are more focused on this than anything,'” Ross says. “Republicans, [on the other hand] they will say they can walk and chew gum at the same time and talk about election integrity, which is in their mind, safer elections. And they want to focus on a problem that Democrats have, which are, again, gas prices, inflation, things like that.

Wisconsin Republicans endorse candidates at their convention, so if 60% of delegates vote for a candidate, they win endorsement. But as of May of this year, there were no endorsement boxes to check, and none of the GOP gubernatorial candidates earned an endorsement.

Democrats don’t do sponsorship, so it’s not that kind of convention, Ross says. “But what you see are opportunities for campaigns to show that they are organized, like if there are mock polls, for example, like we at wispolitics.com do mock polls at every convention. .You will see campaigns trying to rally supporters to vote in the mock poll to show that they have organization, that they have support.” There’s also the possibility of visual promotion of contestants at conventions, whether it’s photo ops or crowds with signs.

Democrats are uniting around Governor Tony Evers, who is running for re-election. But it’s a complicated question who is the Democratic primary frontrunner for the U.S. Senate at this point.

The favorites are Sarah Godlewski, the state treasurer; Mandela Barnes, Lieutenant Governor; Alex Lazarus, who is on leave from his job with the Milwaukee Bucks; and Tom Nelson, Outagamie County Executive.

Ross says in the polls, depending on which poll you look at, it could be a two-person or three-person race. He says in TV commercials that Lasry and Godlewski have deep personal pockets and that Barnes, who has been the favorite and best-known, does not collect as much money as others can bring in personally. “So it’s an interesting dynamic,” says Ross.

“We’ll see the Marquette poll come out this week, I believe,” Ross said. “It can give us an idea of ​​where things are headed or if there has been movement. It will be interesting to see who projects their strength at the convention this weekend.


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