It is convenient in some respects that the Republicans finally devised a way to pass the budget repair bill (albeit perhaps illegally). If the gridlock had lasted any longer, we in the blogosphere may not have gotten any opportunity at all to bring up the spring elections that are coming up exactly two weeks from today, April 5.
Because of the limited time, I won't spend too much time talking about the county executive race. Parisi had it in the bag way before the showdown at the Capitol. Beating Eileen Bruskewitz, a self-identified admirer of Scott Walker, will now be so easy he can campaign from Bermuda if he wants.
In contrast, the mayoral race should be very close. I tend to think that the focus on the Capitol will benefit Cieslewicz, since it gave him the opportunity to publicly oppose Walker on the issue of collective bargaining, as well as to demonstrate his commitment to union rights by pushing through the approval of labor contracts. Although Soglin has also been outspoken in his support of public workers, I think the larger turnout the protests will spark will ultimately benefit the incumbent.
There are also a few interesting races for City Council. Today I'll concentrate on two: District 2 and District 8. Both races pit young professionals against UW students.
It seems that District 2 Ald. Bridget Maniaci will face a tough re-election battle against Progressive Dane-backed Sam Stevenson. Maniaci, who took down Brenda Konkel two years ago with the support of the mayor, has a number of prominent enemies (including Konkel and her supporters), as well as a number of prominent supporters, including both the mayor and Paul Soglin, both of whom have contributed to her campaign.* Interestingly, she has not promoted the support from either on her campaignthe website. Maniaci says the decision was made out of respect for the two mayoral candidates.
In contrast, Scott Resnick, the District 8 candidate, has proudly announced the support he has received from Cieslewicz and Soglin in a press release that should be available online shortly.
While Former Mayor Paul Soglin has a tradition of avoiding endorsement in contested alder races, he has lent his support for Resnick's candidacy. Soglin said of Resnick, "Scott is a knowledgeable, energetic candidate who understands campus issues." Soglin served as District 8 alder on City Council starting in 1968 until 1974 when he became Madison's Mayor.
Resnick is running against Kyle Szarzynski, another PD candidate who finished in a close second behind Resnick in the February primary. That gives Resnick a pretty easy case to make while canvassing: "Who do you support for mayor? Great! He supports me!"
However, the energy the protests have inspired among various left-wing groups on campus, including the TAA, will no doubt benefit Szarzynski. Peter Rickman and company won't have any problem getting their fellow TAs to vote this time around. Right now I'd guess Resnick is the favorite but I don't expect a blowout.