No one doubts the campaign intensity that Democrats are feeling concerning Wisconsin’s 17th Senate District where that open seat is required to be won in order for any chance of their party to control one body of the state legislature. But as I read one of the latest reports on the race being waged by Pat Bomhack I was again reminded why he was never the best option to be the nominee for that district.
The Capital Times is an essential source for political news, and as a progressive newspaper they report objectively, but certainly with the hope they can educate and enlighten readers about the issues, and as we head towards the mid-terms help sway some partisan votes for their candidates. So with that said I was struck by the way one of the paragraphs was written regarding this district. It says a great deal about this race, and why Democrats should not be thinking of moving into larger senate offices under the dome just yet.
Bomhack, 32, is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. He lives in Spring Green and hopes to set up a law practice there. After growing up in Brookfield and attending Stanford University and the London School of Economics, he moved to southwestern Wisconsin four years ago. He professes a love for the Driftless region and plans to stick around.
Anyone who knows anything about this district knows that folks who live there are rooted deep to the land and have generations of stories they can tell. They pride themselves on close knit families and communities and contain a hardy bunch of farmers and businessmen.
So to read a reporter’s words concerning a candidate who is youthful and not yet established as having ‘plans to stick around’ strikes the wrong chord.
Meanwhile consider Republican candidate Howard Marklein’s ties to the land and district.
Marklein has emphasized his roots in the district in his bid for the seat. His campaign draws heavily on his agricultural ties, his fiscal knowledge and his deep-seated connection to the region.
“My roots are deep here. Incredibly deep,” Marklein said. “I was born here and raised here. My great-grandparents are buried here, my grandparents are buried here, my dad is buried here. It’s where I’m going to die.”
Whoever was the master puppeteer in Madison who thought Bomhack the perfect candidate for this office was not thinking clearly. While I very much appreciate the education that Bomhack has, and know it would be of great service to the issues that need attention in this state, there is no way that independent-minded voters of the 17th are going to gravitate to someone so fresh to the area.
Bomhack was to have run for the open 51st assembly seat that Marklein had left so to seek the senate position. But then the Democratic Party thought it best to rearrange the deck chairs and in so doing deeply injured well-established Ernie Wittwer from running what many in the district thought would be a most competent general election race.
But the race has not created the buzz on the ground that all those party Democrats had once hoped for when urging Bomhack to enter the arena.
Will Buros, chairman of the Richland County Democrats and a former state assembly candidate gave what has to be the saddest line that ever will be written about this race in the 17th. Had it not been in print I would not have believed it.
But Buros said local Democrats are excited about candidates at the top of the ticket. Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and attorney general candidate Susan Happ will energize local supporters, he said, and he thinks that might translate to a “coattails” effect for candidates like Bomhack.
I was a Democratic county chair myself for a few years and I understand needing to roll with the dice that one is given when election cycles come around. But if anyone is hoping that Burke has coattails in this election to carry Bomhack to victory had better have some chocolate on Election Night for comfort. It just is not going to happen.
I know this post will irk some readers who might call me a defeatist over the 17th with three weeks to go before the election. But I remind them that many real Democrats were irked when Wittwer was purposely undermined by his own party. Talk about something that bites and tastes foul!
I just write it as I see it.