With a bad state budget being passed, now with people asking who to hold accountable, today I will preview who will be the top ten most vulnerable Democrats in the Wisconsin State Assembly in which could be key for the Wisconsin GOP to regaining control of the Assembly. After this, we will preview the top five most vulnerable Senate Democrats.
1. Terry Van Akkeren (D-Sheboygan-26th District)
With Thomas Products moving close to 400 jobs to Louisiana makes Terry Van Akkeren, target number one. His double digit defeat in the April 7th mayoral election can be viewed as a result that the people of Sheboygan are starting to have enough of his lack of leadership for the City of Sheboygan. The only elected official who fought for the people of Sheboygan when the Dems could not take leadership is Senator Joe Liebham (R-Sheboygan/Manitowoc 9th Senate District). With Sheboygan seeing this ripple to their economy over Governor Doyle’s budget policies and the secret backroom state-level stimulus bill that Rep. Van Akkeren voted for we believe that despite there has only been one Republican in the last 40 years elected in the 26th district who is now Sen. Joe Liebham, there is a strong possibility this seat will flip to red.
2. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Central Appleton-57th District)
Penny Bernard Schaber will be considered as target number one in the eyes of the pro-family lobby in Madison and family values issue watchers in Wisconsin. Rep. Bernard Schaber last year bought her way into the seat because a majority of her money came from out-of-state special interest groups funded by Tim Gill who is using his stealth conduit to try to flip state legislatures across America as the political environment favored the left. The values of the Fox Valley region do not equate to Rep. Bernard Schaber’s values as her votes against good paying jobs for Appleton at a time when high-end jobs are leaving a city that had fast job growth for most of the decade and also because Appleton is a heavily cath0lic city in which would draw ire with Rep. Bernard Schaber’s pro-gay marriage beliefs. If there is an excellent candidate running in the 57th, this seat will return to being a reliable GOP seat.
3. Kristin Dexter (D-North Eau Claire-68th District)
Freshman Democrat Kristin Dexter rounds up at number three. Like Bernard Schaber, Dexter received a majority of her funding from out of state special interests including the Tim Gill conduit. Eau Claire is a bellwether region in Wisconsin politics like Missouri which has a large amount of independent voters and right now, with how unpopular the Governor’s business and tax policies are in the Eau Claire region and with 800 jobs being killed for a re-development project in Eau Claire due to Democrats tax policies and card check, Dexter may be one and done as this is considered to be a top target for the state GOP and part of the plan to also unseat Senator Pat Krietlow (D-Chippewa Falls/North Eau Claire 23rd Senate District) is by winning back the 68th. Also, Rep. Dexter’s inflammatory comments about job creators during a April edition of the Eau Claire Leader Telegram will draw ire too joining in the same capachony like Senator Krietlow can come to haunt her come November 2010
4. Ted Zigmunt (D-Francis Creek-2nd District)
Ted Zigmunt in his short tenure has shown to be one who has benefited the special interests in Madison more than the constituents of the 2nd Assembly District. Ted Zigmunt bought his way into this seat thanks to WEAC who had poured thousands of dollars to defeat long standing incumbent Rep. Frank Lasee. Zigmut will come under the fire for not answering reporter’s legitimate questions on a big pork barrel earmark of recycling bins for the Village of Wrightstown when the Village President did not know about this as Zigmut benefited off of the backroom budget deal in the Legislative Joint Finance Committee.
5. Phil Garthwaite-(D-49th District-Platteville)
Phil Garthwaite in his three plus years in the Assembly has demonstrated a pure lack of leadership as right now with the political climate worsening for the liberals, Phil Garthwaite was a target in 2008 but was re-elected. Garthwaite recently drew shame for remarks he said on the Assembly floor on business who are critical on the Democrat’s tax policies. Garthwaite said “If you don’t like it, move your *** back down to the South.” At a time when Southwest Wisconsin is lacking leadership as companies like IBM decide to move to nearby Duboque, Iowa over Platteville or Madison, voters in the 49th may use these comments Garthwaite said to send him back to the private sector.
6. Ann Hraychuck-(D-Balasam Lake-28th District)
As Ann Hraychuck considers herself a “moderate”, Hraychuck has only had been half as reliable in promoting economic opportunity for the 28th District which is next to Minneapolis-St. Paul in which MSP is one of the most booming economic regions in America even in bad economy. Ann Hraychuck has been well respected by the law enforcement community scoring 100 percent in the last legislative session from the Wisconsin Professional Police Association being a former police officer, Hraychuck’s votes for the backroom-dealt state level economic stimulus bill shows that Rep. Hraychuck may be vulnerable especially in a region in Wisconsin that has been dormant on economic growth in this decade.
7. Gordon Hintz-(D-North Oshkosh-54th District)
Rep. Hintz despite coming from a moderate section of Oshkosh which makes up the 54th District, Rep. Hintz has had a very liberal voting record in his three year tenure in the Assembly including a NO vote on 2007 Assembly Bill 67 that would give companies incentives through tax credits to get people better educated by deducting the tuition payments that are reimbursed back to employees who seek to further their education and voted against delaying smart growth (2007-2008 Assembly Bill 718) at a time when cities like Oshkosh are starting the question the over-regulated community planning approach in Madison. In this session, his liberal voting record came to light by voting for the combined reporting tax that was put in the state-level stimulus bill that was passed with no transparency despite during the 2007-2008 session voted for Wisconsin to have comprehensive fiscal disclosure and transparency. If a fiscal conservative candidate comes out of the 54th, this seat can flip back to red.
8. Tom Nelson (D-East Appleton, Little Chute, Kaukauna-5th District)
Rep. Nelson represents the most moderate to liberal section of the Fox Valley region, but since becoming Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Nelson may be on the conference committee for the State Budget in which is coming up after the First Assembly and Senate votes and what he does on the committee will be key in whether he may be vulnerable in 2010. So far, Rep. Nelson has voted for the backroom dealt state-level stimulus deal and the Combined reporting tax in the bill that has already halted the chances of the laid off employees of NewPage paper which is in his district to find new jobs or to return to NewPage as the hint of a new owner is not coming. If Rep. Nelson is on the committee and passes more backroom-dealt provisions like the JFC budget was passed in secret we can expect Rep. Nelson to be a election target.
9. Rep. Cory Mason (D-South Racine-62nd District)
Rep. Mason who serves on the Joint Finance Committee worked hand in hand with Rep. Pocan to craft a backroom budget deal that is considered to be the worst in Wisconsin’s history. Rep. Mason worked also with Senator John Lehman (D-Racine County-21st Senate District) from Racine who is considered to be a very vulnerable Senate Democrat and a top target for the GOP next year. As a majority of the Democrats who serve on Joint Finance come from strong Democratic districts, Racine County has the second highest unemployment rate next to Janesville and Beloit and if the economy continues to sour into 2010, Rep. Mason may be two and done in 2010.
10. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse-95th District)
Rep. Shilling also serves on Joint Finance Committee but could be a target as La Crosse may be trending red with the recent election of Republican Matt Harter for Mayor. As LaCrosse has lagged behind Minnesota and a majority of Southeastern Wisconsin on economic growth, Rep. Schilling will have a lot of explaining to do for her part being part of the backroom budget deal. If a good candidate emerges for the conservatives this could be a seat to watch as this seat went unopposed in the last election. If the conservative candidate gets the backing of Mayor Harter and possible Congressional candidate Dan Kanapke, the 95th District could be a possible upset in 2010.