A New Low
In my maiden column on this site, I outlined the simple strategy of Nancy Mistele's County Executive campaign:
...very simple and consisted of two parts: 1) Exploit the Brittany Zimmerman murder and the mishap that happened at a 911 center that saves lives every day while doing everything short of planting the bloody knife that killed her in Kathleen Falk's hand, and 2) Pray fervently that Dane County voters have a short memory.
When I wrote that, I thought at the time that I might have been a little too harsh on Mistele. Unfortunately, it has sadly borne out that I was spot-on with my assessment. Mistele's latest radio ad goes beyond any spirited debate about the 911 center and shamelessly drags a grieving family into a political campaign and represents a new low in Dane County politics.
And this desperate move from the flailing and failing Mistele campaign has generated a bit of blowback in the form of the Wisconsin State Journal endorsement of Kathleen Falk's re-election on Sunday. Paul Soglin's analysis is a solid take - except for when he says Mistele "belatedly developed a message that addressed the other responsibilities of Dane County's top official."
Your Liberal Media At Work:
Before endorsing Falk on Sunday, the State Journal produced a feature about the race with not one, but two bizarre headlines ("Despite advantages, Falk re-election no longer a foregone conclusion" in the web version and "Could 911 issue alone sink Falk?" in the print version).
Contained in this piece, with headlines that suggest something altogether counter to the reality on the ground, is a classic example of burying the lede so obvious that even Dave Blaska was able to spot it:
"It's going to be difficult to win on one issue," said Dennis O'Loughlin, a DeForest County Board conservative who is staying neutral in the race.
You catch that, folks? In a county as politically progressive as Dane County, Nancy Mistele's main task is to not only consolidate support among the right, but to also pick off the center and a considerable chunk of the left-of-center. What that quote shows is that even the dean of the conservative minority on the Dane County Board can't even bring himself to back Nancy Mistele - and that means that even her base is not guaranteed.
You could have tossed a stink bomb into the Mistele campaign office and it would have not been as unwelcome as that sentence and Dave Blaska must have pulled a muscle or two containing his rage.
By the way, I don't know the affable O'Loughlin personally - Happy St. Patrick's Day if you're reading this - but I do know of him well enough to know that Blaska's story of how he was treated is certainly not atypical of him. It's an example of why Supervisor O'Loughlin is as well regarded as he is on both sides of the aisle.
Mayor Dave Goes All-In:
Clearly, I've demonstrated that I can use this blog to goad people into just about anything. Case in point: after wondering last week why Mayor Dave continued to stay out of the District 2 race despite all manner of reasons why he would jump in, he sure showed me by announcing his endorsement for Bridget Maniaci alongside former Mayors Paul Soglin (who, despite the fact I disagree in this case, has demonstrated good taste in aldermanic candidates in the past) and Joe "Mayor Joe" Sensenbrenner (last seen being bounced from office by Soglin twenty years ago).
The big story here is that Mayor Dave is, after staying out of the District 2 race, is putting it on the line with the idea that Maniaci can win this thing. We shall see, but those around long enough remember that Brenda Konkel and Dave Cieslewicz worked together in 2003 and the synergy between the two campaigns (as well as the spirited turnout in Brenda's fight against Erik Minton) resulted in Mayor Dave's margin of victory over Soglin.
The bottom line is this: Who wins in District 2 in three weeks will tell us whether or not Cieslewicz is still holding onto his progressive base and what that will mean for him and his agenda as he continues being Mayor.
(And some free advice for Bridget: You'll want to move that endorsement pdf off the wisc.edu server. You're welcome.)
Clearing things up
Last week's billboard posting on Maniaci's behalf by the Madison Professional Police Officers Association led to a spirited discussion on the Forum side of the site. And contained in that discussion were a few barbs directed towards me. Now, I'm a big boy and I can certainly take it as well as dish it out. However, I did find one statement by "Bad Gradger" that I need to address:
That having been said: Does Basford have anything to say on the race that isn't "LOL Bridget is dumb"?
Just so that we're all perfectly clear, I don't think Bridget Maniaci is dumb.
She fought her way through a crowded primary despite some glaring built-in disadvantages (among them lack of experience and being only a renter in the district for only two years) and by dint of her hard work, energy and, yes, smarts, she is in the general election. Believe me, I know just how difficult it is to do this and the dumb tend not to succeed under these conditions. She has earned all of our respect and certainly has mine. I'm still backing her opponent, but that's for reasons we already know.