[Full Disclosure: I am consulting with several candidates, including Dave Glomp. Can you blame me?]
Seventeen of the 37 seats on the Dane County Board are contested this year. Election Day is Tuesday, April 1. If you are a moderate or conservative, get out and vote. Otherwise, stay the hell home. The Progressive Dane/liberal contingent holds a 22 to 15 lead over the moderate/conservative cabal. There are Democrats in both camps.
County boards in Wisconsin are nominally non-partisan but in Dane County, Progressive Dane broke that cherry at least 14 years ago and the Dems quickly followed suit. The Republicans held out as long as they could but this time did a "reverse endorsement," listing candidates who did not deserve election. For this table, I counted such calls as an endorsement of the other guy.
As a public service and out of idle curiosity, I decided to limn the endorsements of as many political players as I could. In this table of candidates (PDF), I organized the endorsing organizations according to my perception of their place on the political spectrum. That The Capital Times newspaper/blog might appear in the middle is merely a parallax view caused by the atmospheric pressure of this left-o-centric community. I put the Teaching Assistants Association even farther to the left than Progressive Dane because these militant social study grad students fancy that they are engaged in the mother of all economic and identity class wars. They are truly an argument for enrolling at one of Wisconsin's fine technical colleges.
The incumbency party
One of the truisms of endorsements is that the endorser wants to pick a few winners, lest they look upon the next legislative body and see an amalgam of some very angry Visigoths and Huns ready to plunder. That explains the Sheriff's Deputies -- where there was an incumbent, that is whom they chose -- except for Steve Ingham against Al Matano, a nice guy who can joke about how far left he is. With that exception, the Deputies decided -- better safe than sorry -- not in the public safety sense, of course. I mean politically safe. (Despite the Sheriff's assertions, the Deputies did support Dave Glomp, not Matt Veldran.)
Endorsements bring any of three things
- Credibility, especially if the organization is seen as being of Mt. Rushmore caliber. At the very least, it means somebody is taking this guy seriously. The Wisconsin State Journal has this effect.
- A money magnet. It's a signal for members to write their checks to this guy. True especially for the Realtors, who have a wonderful conduit (in which individuals contribute as such but indicate their interest in so contributing). A subset of this category: some groups aren't good with cash but contribute foot soldiers: lit droppers and the like.
- Or just, he's one of ours. Pro-life groups don't bring much cash with them but a lot of single-issue voters take the cue. If pro-life is involved in this county board race they did not spatter on Blaska's Blog's radar screen.
Quid pro quo: The special interest group making the endorsement hopes to get more like-minded people in office. Once in, they hope the winner won't forget who loves 'em, baby.
The Capital Times went solidly for the most liberal choice in each race, even praising young master Ashok Kumar, Prog-Dane of the UW campus, for his "two years as a rabble-rousing representative." Every time I celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day I'll think of Ashok and laugh. So take each one of the Progressive Dane newspaper's endorsements with that grain of salt. No surprises this time. Libs and wobblies all the way. (Two years ago they tried to give me a Fred Sanford and Son moment by endorsing your very own Blaska Blogger. "I'm coming, Elizabeth!")
Progressive Dane had only three endorsements of the 17 contested races (it endorsed three more unchallenged incumbents), proving only that the brand has achieved a certain toxicity. Notice the avidity which Lisa Subeck, one-time co-chair of the PD cadres, has denied at least three times her affiliation with the Party. Running on a far west-side Madison district can douse such delusions with the bracing cold water of reality.
As for the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce -- once again missing in action. Like they say at the lottery, you can't win if you don't play. The business community deserves everything it gets from the next County Board and, if the libs hold serve, get it they will.
- The South Central Federation of Labor had better endorse Susan Beil in Vern Wendt's northwest Dane County district. She is WSEU boss Marty Beil's spouse.
- Q. What is the teachers union doing in County Board races? A. Meddlling.
- The Realtors made dual endorsements in some cases.
- The Sierra Club, if it is making endorsements this year, is holding them close to the vest. Would not disclose to Blaska's Blog. What does that tell you?
- Wyndham Manning. Shouldn't he be writing for The National Review? And have a Roman Numeral digit after his name?
And the envelope please
With a 15 to 22 disadvantage, the moderate/conservatives would need to pick up four seats to hold a 19-18 edge. I don't see that happening. From the get-go, the mod/conserves give up Monona, where a sole liberal is running uncontested for an open seat once held by Dale Suslick. But I think we pick up Pertzborn's seat in Stoughton and Veldran's seat here and possibly knock off Opitz in Middleton (he's never had an opponent in six terms!) I'm calling a net gain of one for the good guys.