Posts Tagged ‘Ron Kind’

Nothing Kind about this race

September 24, 2009

Ron Kind has officially announced he has no intentions to run for governor next year:

In a conference call Thursday, the La Crosse Democrat cited his work in the U.S. House on health care reform as his reason for deciding to stay in Washington.

“My job is to stay focused on the health care reform that’s pending so that we deliver affordable, quality, accessible health care for all Wisconsin families,” he said. “I’ve got a primary responsibility to do this job well.”

Predictably, there’s nothing particularly interesting in what Kind has to say about the decision. I found the Journal-Sentinel’s article on the matter slightly too deferential to Kind’s talking points “Kind to stay in Congress to work on health care.” However, he did cite his commitment to health care as the overarching reason for him to stay in the House, which made his statement slightly less formulaic than the usual reasons.

However, no analysis in the media has emerged that looks into the pragmatic reasons Kind may have stepped out. For instance, only a small fraction of the money in his war chest could be used to fund a campaign for state office. Considering this, Herb Kohl’s senate seat may be a much more realistic target for Kind, financially as well as politically. The governor’s race would not only feature a daunting primary against at least Barbara Lawton, but a general election in which voters are hostile to the Democratic incumbent and may opt to hand power over to the GOP. Kohl on the other hand is a relatively popular guy who voters may be more interested in replacing with a Democrat.

The person the most unhappy about this decision is without a doubt State Sen. Dan Kapanke, Kind’s apparent Republican challenger in next year’s Congressional election. The western district could have been competitive had Kind left for the governor’s race, however, with ten terms behind him, no Republican has a glimmer of hope unseating the incumbent.

Barrett vs. Kind (what do they have in common)

September 7, 2009

Kind has virtually no money to run a state campaign on. Only a pittance of the money he’s raised for his congressional campaigns can be used to wage a campaign in the Badger State. Last I heard it’s somewhere south of $40,000. Nevertheless, after more than a decade in Congress, Kind no doubt has a strong network of state contributors, especially in his western district.

Starting from scratch, it’s unfortunate for Kind that he doesn’t know as many people in Madison – there are plenty of lawyers and lobbyists, the types who fund Doyle’s campaigns, who are willing to write $10,000 checks. It’s not that Kind or Barrett won’t be able to win their contributions come the general election, but Lawton will likely have an advantage among them in the primary. At this point, she is the only likely nominee of the Democratic Party. Giving to her is less of a crap shoot.

Barrett similarly has an array of big money interests in the Milwaukee area who’d like to get on the mayor’s good side by making a contribution. You can even give him a contribution and hope he loses – especially if you’re interest is more local.

I do believe that Barrett’s story of heroism at the state fair will play an important role if he does run for governor. It is great publicity and it will affect the gut response to Barrett, especially from people who aren’t familiar with him. The non-partisan electorate often votes based on subtle gut reactions to personal characteristics of the politician – is he/she trustworthy, does he/she seem genuinely good or smart? By listening to his speeches, watching his interactions, a voter attempts to guess. Barrett’s act makes the guessing unnecessary for many – it is evidence that he has a trait that is very rarely attributed to politicians: courage.

I think in a race where both Kind and Barrett run, Kind will be overshadowed by Barrett’s publicity and overwhelmed by his fundraising.

Ron Kind gearing up for run

September 1, 2009

Or rather, he would like somebody with “experience outside of Madison” to run.

It is perhaps the height of irony when a man who has spent the last decade in D.C. runs as an “outsider” candidate in state government.

Governor’s race…

August 24, 2009

Only 13 months until the gubernatorial election. Where are my polls? Where is my 24/7 analysis?

First, we need some primary polls. What kind of name recognition do the candidates have? The most high profile candidate on either side is Barbara Lawton, although frankly there are plenty of voters who don’t know the name of the lieutenant governor. What percentage of Milwaukee County knows the name of their executive, Scott Walker? Do people remember Mark Neumann? The only potential candidates I can see with a lock on a certain bloc of voters are Rep. Ron Kind (D), who likely has quite a bit of name recognition with the western Wisconsinites he’s represented for seven terms in Congress, as well as Mayor Tom Barrett, who not only has great name recognition in Milwaukee, but has gotten the BEST press out of any of the candidates when he saved a grandmother and her grandson from a deranged drunk last week.

A poll that came out yesterday shows the two Milwaukee-area candidates, Walker and Barrett, in a dead heat, 44-43. As Zach at Blogging Blue notes, despite the good press, Barrett is still not a declared candidate. Scotty has been for months.

Of course, we haven’t even discussed the possibility of a bid from Tommy Thompson. And no, Kathleen Falk is not going to run.

Thoughts?

Brunch Links

August 20, 2009

Good morning Wisconsin! For the next couple days you’ll be getting your dose of Madison from New Jersey, where the Sconz was actually started nearly three months ago.Today we’ve got some Huveos Rancheros, with what I believe is a margarita in the background. It’s 11 AM somewhere.

CFACT, a group of right wing lunatics, sues UW after being denied funds. They have also won the representation of the Alliance Defense Fund.

Super mayor emerges from hospital (is “hospitalized superhero” an oxymoron?) and says he’s no hero.

Dan Kapanke, the state rep running to unseat Rep. Ron Kind, continues to face a barrage of ethics complaints from the Democratic Party. “It is becoming a distraction.”

Drinking with parents at age 14 may soon be history in Wisconsin.

Smoking ban exemption for a Hookah bar?

What are Dems thinking about 2010?

August 16, 2009

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of state Democrats are feeling bewildered by Jim Doyle’s apparent decision not to run for re-election. Although Doyle’s future has been the subject of continual speculation this summer, there was very little dialogue about who would actually run in his stead against either Scott Walker or Mark Neumann.

Some people have been throwing around the name of Rep. Ron Kind, a 7 term congressman who represents much of western Wisconsin (Menominee down to the border). Kind has made a name for himself as somewhat of a moderate (but not a Blue Dog!), advocating on behalf of NAFTA and other free trade agreements. The Blue Dog distinction is important – Blue Dogs are typically ready to forfeit the most important of progressive ideals for political convenience. Kind, perhaps because he has a truly moderate constituency and not a rabidly right wing one, has a pretty solidly liberal voting record, which displays a commitment to civil liberties and basic services, such as health care, for the people. However, in a primary he might have to prove his liberal credentials against Lawton, who is generally referred to as very liberal. Perhaps Lawton will have to do the opposite in a general election.

What are you thinking dear readers? Who do you want to see run and who do you think has the best chance?

DOYLE NOT RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION

August 16, 2009

Wow. It hurt to be away yesterday when this came out.

Gov. Jim Doyle, the first Wisconsin Democrat to win re-election as governor since Patrick Lucey in 1974, will not seek a third term, sources confirmed to WisPolitics.com Saturday.

Doyle spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner said Doyle will make an announcement about his future on Monday but Sensenbrenner wouldn’t elaborate further.

One source said Doyle is expected to serve out the remainder of this term, which ends in January 2011. Doyle turns 65 in November 2010.

The next couple weeks should be very interesting. Although so far nobody is commenting on gubernatorial ambitions, there will inevitably be a bid announced very soon. There is not much time. The Republicans have been campaigning for months – if Barbara Lawton or another Democrat wants the nod they need to get a move on. The Cap Times has apparently been contacting the offices of Lawton, Kathleen Falk and Rep. Ron Kind. A lot of people have been throwing Kind’s name around – he’s youthful and experienced. Falk would make interesting competition for Scott Walker – two county executives, which one screwed up more?

What is good for the Democrats now? A competitive primary, which keeps the GOP on its toes? Or should the party seek to unite behind a single candidate ASAP? I would say it depends on the Republicans. A long primary campaign might keep the public interested and excited, but it will also lend itself to infighting and mudslinging that could hurt in the general. However, if there is not one clear nominee the Republicans will have a much harder time doing their own mudslinging. It’s tough to slime three candidates at once.

When a story like this finally breaks to the press you have to wonder when the decision was actually made. When did Doyle decide and who did he inform? How long has Lawton known? Was her decision last week to oppose Doyle on the DNR issue guided by her knowledge of his intention not to run? The sooner Lawton and other prospective Democrats can distinguish themselves from Doyle, the better. Doyle may leave office more popular than he is now but in politics, now is what matters.


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