Posts Tagged ‘Mark Neumann’

Remember Mark Neumann?

January 26, 2010

What is his political life expectancy? When was the last time you read an article about him? He’s usually mentioned in passing in articles on the gubernatorial race. The only recent campaign news is that he has pledged to spend $1 million of his own money to try to beat Scott Walker.

I ran into a member of the Walker campaign last night who told me that Neumann would drop out of the race “when the party tells him to.” Looking back, I realize he might have simply meant that Neumann will leave the race when he loses the Republican primary, however, the sly grin on the man’s face seemed to imply something that would come out of a smoke-filled room. Did state Republicans hope that a competitive primary would energize the grassroots and draw attention to the party and its policies, or did they see Neumann as a nuisance who would threaten party unity?

Both parties have proponents of these two diverging philosophies, and they almost always clash during primary season. You might think the “unity” argument is less powerful in state elections because the primary is relatively cut and dry – one election, one guy or gal wins, and the party is forced to accept. Moreover, I would guess that political parties are open to any strategy that will increase awareness among voters, most of whom are less interested in state politics. However, the primary is also much closer to election day, and although the grass roots may be excited about a competitive primary, most voters just get confused. “I’m like, conservative, who am I supposed to vote for?”

I’m guessing the GOP will start to pressure Mark Neumann to leave the race pretty soon.

Any thoughts?

Walker, Barrett lead polls, elderly still read newspapers

October 4, 2009
UW political science professor Ken Goldstein conducted a survey of Wisconsin residents to gauge attitudes about the economy, state and national government and next year’s gubernatorial election.
Interestingly, Tom Barrett, if he declares, will start the primary race with a heavy advantage over Barbara Lawton. If the primary were held today, Barrett would get 38 percent of the vote versus Lawton’s 16. He obviously benefits from being recognized practically universally in the most important Democratic district in the state (Milwaukee), but I certainly would not underestimate the days of free press he got from the scuffle at the state fair.
Practically the same deal on the other side. If the Republican primary were held today, Scott Walker would get 38 percent and Mark Neumann would get 14.
Also of particular interest:
Among those aged 18-35, 8 percent get their news from newspapers and 40 percent from the Internet. Among those 65 and over, 60 percent rely on the papers and 2 percent on the Internet.

Mark Neumann?

September 11, 2009

You know it’s funny – I didn’t even know that Mark Neumann wasn’t an “officially declared candidate” until I read the news that he had declared yesterday. Does the official declaration matter, and why did he wait so much longer than Scott Walker?

I perceive three possible advantages in Neumann’s tardiness. First, it allowed him to circulate his name and gain support before people (especially pollsters) started matching his name against Walker’s. Even the polls that were run could easily be dismissed because he was not a declared candidate yet. Second, it isolated the younger Walker in the field for a period of time, allowing liberals to concentrate their attacks on him (although they certainly gave Neumann his share). Let me quote the self-described anarchist at the Badger Herald, Eric Schmidt: “Scott Walker is going to be the Republican nominee. Period.”

Lastly, it allowed speculation to build up about Neumann’s candidacy. As a veteran, he is now entering the race late because “he has to.” Meaning Scott Walker just won’t cut it. The Republican Party needs an alternative. Listen to what I’ve got to say.

This should be an exciting primary. Walker is absolutely unbearable to listen to. Neumann couldn’t possibly be any worse. It’s good for politics because now Walker has to do something besides attack Doyle, whose withdrawal from the race has left Walker’s campaign flailing for talking points material.

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.


Will Doyle run again?

July 30, 2009

Doyle, by all superficial criteria, is a perfect governor of Wisconsin. He’s cheery (at least in public), plump and he’s got just the right nasal touch to accent that reminds Wisconsinites that he’s one of them.

Unfortunately, however, the people of the Badger State are stubborn, and physical and linguistic characteristics apparently aren’t enough to guarantee Doyle their votes. Two different polls have shown Doyle to be at least relatively unpopular, with more people viewing him unfavorably than favorably in both instances.

Daily Kos/Research 2000Wisconsin poll conducted June 8-10 showed 43 percent of respondents viewed Doyle favorably while 48 percent were unfavorable. That was relatively Doyle-friendly, though, compared with a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey conducted June 9-10 that showed 60 percent of respondents disapproving of Doyle’s job performance, with only 34 saying they approved.

Moreover, the latter poll showed Doyle losing to Scott Walker in a showdown. Given this information, I was under the impression last month that Doyle would not seek re-election, and would allow Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton to declare her candidacy for the nomination. However, Doyle has continued to raise money, with the Cap Times reporting that his war chest is over $2 million – not a ton but certainly more than a lame duck governor would have. Contributors clearly believe Doyle is running again and the governor is doing nothing to dissuade these speculations. One Capitol staffer told me that people are pointing to phone calls Doyle is making to contacts in Washington D.C., to national interest groups, such as gay rights and women’s rights organizations.

Many Democrats, especially Lawton fans, are anxious for the governor to make up his mind. Three Republicans have already declared their candidacies and are out raising money, which Lawton can’t do as effectively unless she declares her governor. She’s already said she will not run for lieutenant governor again, therefore it’s hard for her to raise money without a campaign for higher office backing her up. One person told me that Doyle had better be running, because if he waits this long to drop out, “it would be a slap in the face to the Democratic Party,” as the Democrats would be caught off balance and behind the Republicans.

However, I still believe there’s a chance for Doyle to do either. Let’s say he’s weighing his options:

If he ultimately decides to run for re-election, he doesn’t have to worry about a primary. No relevant state Democrat, especially not Barbara Lawton, is going to waste time challenging him in a primary. He still has more money in the bank than any Republican opponent, and even though Walker has raised more in the last few months, he and Neumann are going to use up a lot of it in a primary contest, while Doyle will be free to raise funds for the general election.

That Doyle might wait so long to announce that he is not running leads me to believe that Lawton is the only viable candidate expected to declare for the nomination. Or at least that Doyle believes that to be the case. The longer he waits, the less likely it is for somebody else to try and challenge Lawton in the primary. Even if Lawton is behind Walker and Neumann in fundraising and campaigning, she will have the privilege of being unchallenged in the primary and not having to waste time and money in an intra-party showdown.

So there’s my analysis. What do you think? Are there other Democrats you could see running for governor?

Social media in Wisconsin politics

July 15, 2009

The importance of social networking services in politics and business cannot be overrated. OK, everything can be overrated. Even God.

However, from where we sit, the praise of Howard Dean’s “use of the internet!” to raise money seems pathetically antiquated. Blogs and social networks like facebook, twitter, and linked-in have become hugely influential in marketing candidates, as well as organizing supporters for campaigns. A campaign that neglects such tools is either irresponsible or has a comfortable enough lead to not bother.

Nowhere is the importance of open internet dialogue better displayed than in local politics. Ignored almost entirely by television and given only cursory attention by dying local newspapers, local pols often receive the most scrutiny from local blogs and other online discussion forums. Like I’ve written before, there is simply no better way to find out what happened at a City Council meeting than to read Brenda Konkel’s blog. Nowhere are issues of student government discussed more intensely than on the Critical Badger. In fact, the best analysis of local government from the local papers often comes on their blogs – which are usually entrusted to a recent college grad with a good understanding of the internets. Kristin Czubkowski at the Cap Times would be case and point, as would Bassey Etim, a former Herald editor who was recruited by the New York Times to work on their caucus blog.

Moreover, the social networks make it so much easier to market blogs and issues. Setting up a twitter and facebook account for the Sconz was easily the most productive decision I’ve made in getting traffic to this blog. While simply putting all my updates on facebook isn’t as helpful as say, a link from a big blogger, it helps to keep people in touch with the blog, even if they don’t click every time or visit every day. Simply claiming to write about local issues has gained me (very theoretical) followers from Madison lobbyists to gubernatorial candidates. And yes, unless I get a follow from Barbara Lawton, Jim Doyle, or Scott Walker, I will be forced to lend my extraordinarily heavy weight to Mark Neumann.

So it was good to see the Cap Times do a profile on the issue, discussing the implications on next year’s governor’s race.

“Around 11 in the morning, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker got online and did what his gubernatorial campaign manager had asked him to do several times a day. He reached out to his political supporters with a message that was simultaneously posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.”

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, under new young leadership, has pushed aggressively into social media as well, adding Sam Roecker, a UW student and facebook friend of the Sconz, as a staff member specializing in social networks. Perhaps one of the most visible things Roecker did was create a youtube video for the party convention. Youtube is incredibly important – 15% of ALL internet traffic at any given time is on youtube.

The next step will be the creation of networks specifically for politicians, campaign workers and activists. Services like “ning” already allow people to create their own networks – for a field or cause as specific as transportation, human services or sex toys. I haven’t actually discovered the sex toys one yet.

What these services do is merely expand what the communications revolution started with the telephone, the radio and the television. They make the country and the world smaller. They will allow campaigns to have a larger pool of applicants and will open a whole nation of campaigns up to young activists and consultants.

Mark Neumann will definitely fix health care

July 8, 2009

From GOP underdog Mark Neumann (my neuest follower on twitter):

During the course of this campaign Mark Neumann will be providing a great deal of details on plans to significantly change health care in Wisconsin in order to address the clear problems that exist.

The solutions will be private sector ideas applied on a larger scale to improve the health care system for everyone in Wisconsin. The solutions will simultaneously save the taxpayers of our state a significant amount of money. As the campaign progresses, there will be more information on this important issue.

That is essentially the sum of the health care section of his website. Granted, it’s usually a bore when politicians tell you exactly what they’re planning to do to make our lives better. Don’t they know that we like surprises? That’s why Mark keeps it short.

Neumann declares for governor

July 1, 2009

Mark Neumann, the former congressman who was narrowly defeated by Russ Feingold in a 1998 senate race, just declared his candidacy for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. He’ll be going up against Scott Walker, the Milwaukee County executive and heavy favorite, as well as Mark Todd, a businessman from Appleton. According to Chris Liebenthal, Neumann is the only viable one of the lot.

Neumann should market himself as a wiser alternative to his opponent with a more diversified record. Walker cannot be described as anything but a career politician; he was first elected to the state legislature in 1993, when he was only 26 years old. Neumann has already come out and emphasized his roots in the “private sector,” a subject that will no doubt appeal to the Republican primary voters. Neumann should go after Walker’s dubious record as a county executive, including the state takeover of county services due to serious concerns of incompetence at the county level. Granted, it’s unfortunate for Neumann that his only political experience took place in Washington D.C. Walker will be able to say that he’s been “serving the state” his whole life, and he’s (wait for it) had “executive experience,” while Neumann has only been a legislator.

I think the endorsements could play a relatively significant role as well. If Neumann could get some heavyweights on his side soon he might be able to cut back on Walker’s massive fundraising and publicity headstart.

What? New poll shows Doyle in big trouble

June 15, 2009

A new Public Policy poll shows Jim Doyle trailing both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann in a potential 2010 contest.

Walker beats Doyle 48 to 40 percent and Neumann is essentially tied, 42 to 41 percent. Doyle has an awful 37% approval rating.

It’s even depressing that Walker, who is a student of the George W. Bush school of incompetence, is performing better than Neumann in the polls.

But where’s the poll on Barb?