A while back, I introduced to you the Top Ten Assembly targets to look for in next year’s election, as promised here is the Senate side as the top five targets in 2010.
1. John Lehman (D-Racine County-21st District)
Senator Lehman is the most targeted as he is a member on the Joint Finance Committee and in this past year his voting record shows why he is vulnerable with Racine County having one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Lehman who was part of the backroom budget deal in Joint Finance voted for a unreliable funding source for the KRM rail which is to fund rental cars over a sales tax in which Racine County voters are calling for his head right now even with a Recall Lehman effort beginning to build. Senator Lehman has also not exhibited a strong sense of leadership when times are tough for Racine County both economically and politically. If you are looking for a pocketbook issues election, Racine County may be the place to be as if Rep. Robin Vos (R-Western Racine County, 63rd District) who represents Western Racine County may run to take on Lehman and if Vos runs, Vos has a strong shot of winning the 21st for the GOP since 2002.
2. Pat Krietlow (D-North Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls) 23rd District
Out of all the newly elected Senators in 2006, Pat Krietlow has been known as one who has not passed a substantive piece of legislation in his tenure. Krietlow a former TV journalist for WEAU NBC 13 ran on the theme of health care during the 2006 election and also banked on a higher than normal voter turnout during the 2006 elections when the gay marriage amendment was on the ballot. With Eau Claire seeing jobs and economic projects being shelved due to the policies Senator Krietlow has advocated for shows that Kritelow out of the two Eau Claire area State Senate candidates is more vulnerable in 2010 as two out of the three Assembly seats in Krietlow’s Senate district are GOP targets Jeff Wood in the 67th and Kristin Dexter in the 68th. The state GOP will invest heavily in Eau Claire in 2010 as this is part of the plan for winning the Governor’s office and regaining legislative control.
3. Kathleen Vinehout (D-North Eau Claire, Tomah, Sparta) 31st District
Kathleen Vinehout, like Krietlow banked on a higher than normal voter turnout in Western Wisconsin during the 2006 elections to win the 31st against the moderate Republican Ron Brown who did not rate well from groups like Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity. Vinehout however has more negatives than positives coming. Some voters do not know that her husband Doug Kane is a former consultant to impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and that may raise questions by voters on how much Senator Vinehout has made off her husband’s connections to the impeached Illinois Governor and newly elected Governor Pat Quinn. Also, many voters may not know about her agenda driven plan for government run health care as many voters now are knowing that Senator Vinehout’s comment calling job creators “freeloaders” may cost her in 2010. Unemployment is higher than normal than the State average of 8 percent in her district as its up to 8.5% and trending towards 9 percent.
4. Jim Sullivan (D-West Allis/Wauwatosa) 5th District
Jim Sullivan like Pat Krietlow has not been an active State Senator as Senator Sullivan has demonstrated a very liberal voting record in a moderate to conservative district. Right now, there is a imminent recall threat in the 5th District right now for his support of the statewide smoking ban as both Lehman and Sullivan face recall threats. Over 125 voluteers in the 5th have recently filed the paperwork and right now what we may see in the recall effort could determine who will run in 5th. There is word rumbling around that Leah Vukmir may run in 2010 for the 5th District as the political climate favors her candidacy like Robin Vos in the 21st District.
5. Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Wausau, Schofield, Weston, 29th District)
During the 2007 budget battle, Russ Decker was known for ousting former majority leader Judy Robson (D-15th District-Janesville, Beloit, Whitewater) from her role as majority leader as Senator Decker has been adamant in the past and now today for supporting the oil franchise fee tax which according to many legal experts is unconstitutional along with the Corporate combined reporting tax which is driving jobs out of Wisc0nsin. The 29th district could be the wild card pickup for the GOP and it could be move up in priority if CRG Network is successful in recalling Jim Sullivan before the election.