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Fasten Your Seat-Belts As Tony Evers-Scott Walker Race Will Be Bumpy Ride

August 14, 2018

Now we know the candidates for the main event for Wisconsin governor.

Tony Evers overcame what surely was the largest slate of gubernatorial candidates ever to be listed on a primary ballot.  He was not my first choice many months ago, but little-by-little I came to see him as a strong candidate with a message I could truly embrace.  I cast my ballot for him on the Madison isthmus.

What I found truly heart-warming, within minutes of the victory call being made for Evers, was the statement from Mike McCabe.  He was the only Democrat who didn’t take a party loyalty pledge during the primary.  But once the race was called McCabe stated he would be voting for Evers.  Just that fast the process turned from a competitive contest of getting-out-the vote for individual candidates to the start of the much needed rally-round-the-nominee.  It will be all hands on deck as the real work now begins to defeat Governor Scott Walker.

With the political talent of Evers being quite evident, having been elected Public School Superintendent statewide three times, will likely mean the professional political class will see the wisdom of moving this race from leaning Republican to a complete toss-up.  And in a number of weeks perhaps to leaning to the Democrats.  Anything can happen given the dynamics this year with highly energized Democratic voters.   Even Walker has to be nervous.  Previously he warned Republicans that Democrats could turn him out of office this year.

It is a good sign that in Wisconsin, like many other states with races for governor, Democratic voters selected an establishment oriented candidate.  As opposed to the ones aligned with the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.  From my conversations with friends and neighbors the need to be pragmatic and select a candidate who could run a smart race and defeat Walker was more important than being a purist with their primary vote.

As we start the bumpy trek to November Wisconsin Democrats can smile knowing Evers has led Walker in several recent polls.  When given a chance at the ballot box in special elections Democrats have won seats.   Democrats  also prevailed with the election of a Supreme Court Justice in April.

I truly want to see this race focus on the needs of our public schools along with our university system.   It is simply rib-splitting to hear Walker tout himself as “the education governor”.  All one needs to do is pull the headlines and lead editorials from newspapers of every size to show the fact Walker has undermined schools and uses the funding cuts to further his own political ladder-climbing.

The race will be costly as Republicans will spend many millions to hold the seat, and if the professionals change the rating for his race Democrats will be pouring cash into the state, too.  But at the end of the campaign it comes down to issues and personalities.  I am betting the mid-western values and demeanor of the seasoned and wise-looking Evers will prove to be just what Wisconsin desires for the change they are seeking.

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