Capital City Sunday: How does January 6 continue to guide WI policy? look to the future for the ’22 races | Politics

MADISON (WKOW) – A year after the worst attack on the United States Capitol in over 200 years, the beliefs that inspired the insurgency are influencing state-level policy making and Wisconsin is no exception .

Conservative grassroots groups lobbied Republican leaders, making it clear that their main legislative priority remains the review of the 2020 presidential election. The certification of this election was an opportunity for supporters of former President Donald Trump to fight by the police to get inside the Capitol.

A flurry of court challenges and recounts in the state’s two most populous counties have maintained that President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. External reviews of the election by non-partisan state auditors and the curator Wisconsin Institute for Law and Freedoms found no evidence of widespread electoral fraud.

Republicans in Wisconsin, however, continued to keep the 2020 election at the center of their work. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is in negotiations to expand the $ 676,000 taxpayer-funded contract with former state Supreme Court justice Mike Gableman to investigate the election.

Gableman continued issue subpoenas, focusing on the cities of Madison and Green Bay as well as the Wisconsin Election Commission.

Assembly Republicans also call on the electoral commission to return data of the 7 million voter records stored in the state database, especially when the statuses of those voters have either been deactivated or reactivated.

Democratic analyst Scot Ross said the lasting legacy of Jan.6 is that Republican lawmakers are allowing election plots to become the identity of the party.

“I think the tragedy of the insurgency is that it embodies what the Republican Party is right now,” Ross said.

Republican strategist Bill McCoshen countered that the seeds of Jan. 6 were sown when a number of large protests against police violence against blacks against Americans turned violent the previous summer.

“Whether it’s the riots on State Street where businesses are destroyed and looted, or businesses torched in Kenosha, or the storming of the Capitol on January 6, I think all of this violent activity is bad. , that’s wrong, ”McCoshen said. “It shouldn’t have happened in any of these cases, but it normalized in the summer of 2020.”

Ross countered that the two cases were incomparable because on Jan.6 a sitting president encouraged his supporters to disrupt the certification of an election that would remove him from power.

“Protesting violence against blacks, the murder of unarmed blacks by cops, is not the same as Donald Trump standing at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue and telling people to go to the Capitol,” Ross said . “And then they said ‘hang Mike Pence’ and went to the Capitol.”

On election inquiries, McCoshen said he wanted his party to focus more on crafting its message for 2022.

“We have to stop looking back and start looking forward,” McCoshen said. “The reality is that Democrats have taken advantage of the Covid problem and increased mail-in ballots beyond anything anyone has ever seen before, not just in Wisconsin, but nationwide. “

Strategist’s guide until 2022

Ross and McCoshen agreed that the most important midterm race this year is the governor’s race. Democratic Governor Tony Evers is seeking re-election while former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch is the Republican in the lead.

“I think the executive is the most important race on the ballot every time,” McCoshen said. “Governor Evers is in a fair position but not in an ideal position for re-election.”

Ross said he believed Republicans inside Capitol Hill were far more concerned with the gubernatorial race than anything nationally, even the high-profile race for the United States Senate where sources indicate that Senator Ron Johnson announce soon he is running for a third term.

“That’s what I think because they want to get the rest of the power to do what they want to do across the state of Wisconsin,” Ross said. “And Governor Tony Evers is the only person standing in their way.”

Regarding the issues that would lead voters to the polls, Ross accused Republicans of profiting from the recent surge of the Omicron COVID-19 variant because the worse the situation for Americans in November, the more likely they would be to punish. the Democrats since they control the White House and Congress.

“Republicans think and strategize that if we make it as bad as humanly possible Democrats are going to lose and it’s so despicable and disheartening,” Ross said.

McCoshen countered that Democrats have only themselves to blame in the pandemic that still affects people’s lives in November because Biden has vowed to end it.

“The reality is that Joe Biden ran to stop the virus,” McCoshen said. “It’s his biggest failure in his first year in office. There’s no question about it.”

Journalists’ roundtable: which races do you watch?

The races for Governor and the United States Senate will be making headlines this fall in Wisconsin. However, there are a number of substantial primaries in the intermediate card races that will impact the state as well.

Patrick Marley of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Jessie Opoien of The Cap Times have shared the secret contests they will be following more closely.

“Is anyone really going to step away when we start to see fundraising reports coming out in the handful of races that we are watching, which obviously would be the Democratic primary in the US Senate,” Opoien said.

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes is the frontrunner in the top few polls so far. Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry are closest in the polls and have the wealth to keep their names in front of voters. Outagamie County Director Tom Nelson also has a notable following and crossed the state as the first Democrat to enter the Senate race.

Opoien said she is also following the Attorney General’s Republican primary between Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney and former State Representative Adam Jarchow.

Marley said he was curious which Republicans would challenge Kleefisch in the gubernatorial primary. Kevin Nicholson has supporters with deep pockets and he may be on track to enter the gubernatorial race now that Johnson appears to have vowed to be re-elected. Madison businessman Eric Hovde could also mount a race and Franklin businessman Jonathan Wichmann is already in the race, challenging Kleefisch from the right.

Marley said the primary and general gubernatorial races will include a lot of talk about upcoming electoral politics. He said the challenge for Republicans was to satisfy far-right support for a “forensic” audit without pushing back moderate voters who are fed up with Republicans questioning the 2020 results.

“The answer seems to be that they are going to pass legislation similar to the legislation they have already passed which was and will again be opposed by Gov. Tony Evers and therefore all of this is going to fuel the 2022 election,” Marley said. .

For Democrats, Marley said it would mean pitching Evers as the one person who can stop Republicans from revising the state’s election laws, as well as a number of other contentious issues like abortion and tax policy. .

“I think what you’re going to see the Democrats do is portray this as an attack on democracy, say that the Republicans are going to undermine the will of the voters and that the only way to ensure that we get a true reflection of the The will of the voters in the next presidential election is to keep Tony Evers as governor, ”said Marley. “They’re going to say he’s the hockey goalie, so to speak, and that he can block what they consider to be bad election law bills from being passed.

Regarding Johnson’s decision to run for another term, Opoien noted that Democrats and Republicans would agree to campaign for and against Johnson.

“If you talk to Republicans behind the scenes I think they’ll say ‘go ahead.’ Democrats want Ron Johnson to show up, they want him to show up too,” she said.