You may have taken a few days off last week, but the state budget negotiators did not. Gwyn Guenther brings us up to speed on the latest on the transportation budget gridlock, takes a look at an ongoing dispute between Minnesota and Wisconsin and pays tribute to a former State Senator.
Over the weekend the Wisconsin State Journal’s Matthew DeFour asked for my thoughts on how Wisconsin’s declining unemployment numbers might impact upcoming elections.
Republican strategist Brian Fraley said for many voters trying to gauge how the broader economy is doing, the unemployment rate provides an easily understood statistic similar to the Dow Jones industrial average: “No one really knows what it is, but if the Dow Jones is high, that’s good, right?”
The latest Marquette Law School Poll gauged public awareness of the unemployment rate in Wisconsin and found 37 percent correctly said it is in the 2 to 4 percent range. Another 35 percent thought it was in the 4 to 6 percent range, 12 percent thought it was higher than 6 percent and 14 percent didn’t know.
Fraley said he expects Republican incumbents next year to play up the state reaching the lowest unemployment level in Wisconsin’s history should it reach that milestone.
“It’s definitely something they will champion,” Fraley said.
Check out the entire article here.
WTMJ radio’s Steve Scaffidi and Erik Bilstad invited me on their show this afternoon to talk about the new Marquette Law poll. Some take aways for me, despite the heat in the GOP budget debate, people still feel like the state is going in the right direction rather than on the wrong track. On the national scene it’s clear the GOP has a messaging problem (I’m looking at you healthcare bill.) The poll shows it hasn’t done a good job explaining the benefits of the reform long or short term.
Click here to listen to the whole segment.
Dark stores. Zero-based accounting. Budget stalemate. Despite these ominous sounding topics, this episode of The Wheelercast was upbeat and (as always) informative. Gwyn Guenther of The Wheeler Report brings you the latest from the State Capitol in Madison.
Washington Post reporter John Wagner reached out to me yesterday to get my thoughts on what President Trump gets politically out of visiting Wisconsin and whether local Republicans are energized by it. The president was in Pewaukee just last week, the third trip he’s made here since winning the election.
From a strategic standpoint, it makes sense for President Trump to do more events like these, even if it doesn’t move the needle on the public policy debates nationally. When he gets out of the Beltway bubble, he can control the narrative. He’d much rather talk infrastructure, apprenticeships and jobs than special counsels, and Congressional inquiries.
Read the whole article here.
Intra-party discord is a new thing in Madison, right? Actually, no, it’s not. We look into the Wheeler archives for details.
We also look ahead to potential Joint Finance Committee action this week and we pay special tribute to two important Capitol players.
The Wheeler Report’s Gwyn Guenther and I talk about this and more in this week’s Wheelercast.
Have state budget negotiations broken down? Can the Assembly and Senate get on the same page this week? This month? The Wheeler Report’s Gwyn Guenther and I discuss in this inaugural episode of the Wheelercast.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Stephen Loiaconi called me for my take on the last two weeks of the election and what it will mean for tight down ballot races.
“The Republican Party’s grip on the Senate is tenuous, at best,” said Republican strategist Brian Fraley. “With Trump surrogates berating vulnerable GOP senators who have not drank enough orange Kool-Aid, the Trump campaign’s last two weeks is shaping up to be a burn-it-all-down tantrum that could put the balance of power in the House in jeopardy, too.”
“Trump may damage the brand, relationships, donor stream and infrastructure of the Republican Party so much, that a rebound in 2018 will be a lot tougher,” Fraley said.
Read the rest of the article here.
Veteran journalist Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called me last week for my take on what Trump has done to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Its leading Republicans are in limbo, rendered mostly mute about Trump amid mounting allegations over his treatment of women. They aren’t recanting their support for their nominee. But they aren’t defending him or campaigning with him, either. The state’s top GOP officials will be absent when Trump holds a rally in Green Bay Monday.
….But while Ryan has angered hard-core Trump backers, “a lot of Trump’s most ardent supporters in Wisconsin never were (staunch) Republicans,” said Brian Fraley, a Trump critic who once served as the state GOP’s political director.
“There is going to be a lot of long-term shakeout with this no matter who wins, and no matter how large the defeat is,” said Fraley, who said he hasn’t given money to the party because he doesn’t want any of it to help elect Trump.