Strategy Hub


The Strategy Hub comes back with the top Democrat Legislative Targets in 2010 as the top five Senate targets and the top ten Assembly targets are published

Top 5 Democrat State Senate 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.

Top 10 Assembly Democrat Targets for 2010

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.


Today, The North Shore Exponent talks about the Race for the Assembly.  Today, we are talking about what is at stake for the Wisconsin State Assembly.  In 2006, Republicans barely held the Assembly 52-47, despite in 2004 the Republicans nearly had sixty seats in the majority.  Now, this is considered to be the most targeted race in a long time for the Democrats to regain control.

Who Are The Targets

For the Republicans they are targeting a variety of seats.  The 49thDistrict currently held by Phil Garthwaite is a targeted seat as people in Southwest Wisconsin have not had a popular view of the Democrat.  Also, the 51st District in Southwest Wisconsin is another target along with the 43rd district held by Kim Hixson who won a battle in 2006 against Debi Towns.  Towns is running to regain her seat and the battle can be expected to be very close as the GM plant closing in the 43rd District is a issue that is seeming to put the Democrats that represent Rock County under fire.  Other targeted races to watch out is Jim Stienke in the 5th District who is running a hard race against Tom Nelson.

The Democrats have had their eyes set on five seats and a few more to regain the majority.  First, they are targeting since 2007 Terry Moulton in the 68th District, Karl Van Roy in the 90th District, Doc Hines in the 42nd District, Brett Davis in the 80th District, and also the open seat in the 47th Assembly District.  Also, take a look at the battle for the 94th District which is Speaker Mike Huebsch’s seat.  This may be a race that could tip the balance.  But, with Jeff Wood defecting the Republicans, the big question is who will in the GOP take on Jeff Wood in a write-in campaign.  There are a lot of angry Republicans near Chippewa Falls, and they want to find a person to put on the ballot to take on wood who is facing an libertarian challenger and no one on the Democrat side is running.  The thing to watch is really what resources each party is putting into the Assembly battle.  The Democrats strategy is dependent on Obama, because the Obama camp is running on a down-ballot strategy to win, but because the DNC is not putting resources at the national level this could hurt the Dems.  The GOP is running a coordinated effort.  Do not expect to see a coattail effect from the Presidential race run into the State Legislatures.

Next time, we will talk about the races to watch on both sides


Strategy Hub is a new feature to North Shore Exponent.  This page will go beyond what is said in campaign led strategy briefings to provide you the voter, with a clear, objective look on how both the Obama and McCain Camps, and other races will go forth in the remainder of this election cycle.

Today, we are examining both the recent McCain and ObamaStrategy Briefings to give you an objective look on what is said beyond each camp’s maufactured data to learn what strategies the campaigns are going towards.

I.  Political Environment

There are two key statistics that both the McCain and Obama campaigns will base their strategy off of which is the current Presidential Approval Rating of George W. Bush and whether our country is going off the right or wrong track.  According to information from the McCain camp, they claim that 68 percent of the nation disapproves of President Bush while close to 76 percent claim that our country is going on the wrong track.  In the McCain strategy briefing, their Campaign Manager claims and acknowledges that yes for the GOP this is the worst climate they have ever faced as a party for an election.  From these numbers, the parties have a strategy in place in how they will thrive in this tough environment.

GOP Strategy-Must reach out to indepenedent voters and also must reach out to disaffected Democrats.  The McCain camp says in their briefing, that this is going to be key for John McCain to win is reaching out to the moderate and independent voters.

DEM Strategy-Must Reach out to independent voters and must reach out to disaffected Republicans (more moderate to Liberal Republicans).  This strategy has been key to the Obamacamp as the Moderate vote is the key.  Simply, both candidates campaigns realize that independent voters are going to decide the election. It will be up to each candidate to control their own negatives

II. Current Electoral Standing

In the current Electoral Map, there are the historical trends first, here are the states that have historically trended towards the Democrats:

Eight states and the District of Columbia are traditonally Democrat.  States like Illinois, California, New York State, Maryland, DC, Massachuesstes, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont are traditionally Democrat which entails 8 States and DC and 143 Electoral Votes.  GOP Traditional States are Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Georgia, Mississippi, Alamaba, and Virgina which are 17 States and 153 Electoral Votes.

This means over 24 States have over 242 Electoral States andare the battleground states.  States like New Jeresy, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisana, Florida, West Virginia, Deleware, Connecucit, Tennesse, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The Obama Strategy is this:

The Obama camp says their offense is on all 256 Electoral Votes Kerry won in 2004 including Wisconsin.  David Plouffe their campaign manager claims that McCain does not have the offensive upper hand in states like Wisconsin and Minnesota.  But, Minnesota will come down to if Tim Pawlenty is going to be McCain’s running mate.  Virginia could fall into Obama’s camp if Senator Jim Webb is his running mate.  Whoever is going to be the candidate’s running mate will play big in their own strategy.  Key states the Obama camp will try to steal in McCain’s strategy to win are Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, North Dakota, Montana, Georgia, and South Carolina.

The McCain camp Strategy is that they can do well in all the traditional GOP States which could net them 153 Electoral Votes, and make gains in states like California on the basis of unaffliated voters, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecuict, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada.  Southwestern Pennsylvania, and Southeastern Ohio could be a critical area for the Obama camp to win in as the Clinton Camp won the camp these regions during the 2008 Ohio and Pennsylania Presidential Primaries in a landslide.

However, current polling according to Obama camp is exact with McCain’s Projections as of the Obama strategy briefing run according to Public Polls Here is which states are in Play

Obama Strong (178)-CA (55), IL (21), MN (10), NY (31), MA (12), RI (4), DC (3), ME (4), CT (7), MD (10), HI (4), OR (7)

McCain Strong (128)-ID (4), UT (5), WY (3), AZ (10), NE (6), OK (7), MO (11), AR (6), LA (9), TN (11), KY (8), WV (5), GA (15), AL (9), MS (6), VA (13)

Toss-Ups (231)- WI (10), NV (5), MI (17), OH (20), PA (21), TX (34), AK (3), ND (3), SD (3), WA (11), KS (5), NC (15), SC (8), CO (9), NM (5), MT (3), FL (27), IA (7), IN (11), NJ (15), NH (4) This shows that a lot of McCain stronghold states that would go his way will be a hard fight like Kansas, Indiana, and Colorado which lean Republican.  Obama’s appeal in North Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alaska, andMontana could give the McCain camp a lot of problems.  It will be up to the McCain camp to defendtheir own home turf vigorously.  Still, despite the current polls show McCain behind, the difference in this race will be independent voters without a doubt.

III. Money

The money gap will be a big issue.  With the Obama camp, it will come down to if the DNC will play by David Plouffe’s rules as the Obama camp has to do the majority of the fundraising themseleves while only the DNCwill give $4 million dollars right now in the bank to their campaign.  Combined the efforts with the RNC and McCain and their combined campaign finances will be over $50 million dollars.  The key for the McCain camp is to attack the Obama camp on the public financing decision the campaign made, however it will be up to McCain’s campaign to use its campaign organization of regional campaign headquarters to do well versus the Obama 50 state grassroots strategy.  However, how much the campaigns will burn through on their funds raised (burn rate) will be critical as the Obama camp spent over $1.40 over $1 raised in the April primaries.  The Obama camp views the low DNC financial support as their big concern and yes the money aspect will be big.

So Finally here is our assessment of both camps

McCain Camp

Strengths-Strong RNC and Campaign Financial Support, Strong Independent Voter Base, Ability to do well in Battlegrounds.

Weaknesses-Not Polling Good in Traditional Republican States, Bush’s Approval Rating, Not Able to do well in some states Kerry won in 2004.

Obama Camp

Strengths-Strong Grassroots Support, Ability to win moderate and Liberal Republicans, and Ability to steal from McCain’s GOP Base.

Weaknesses-Southeast Ohio and Southwest Pennsylvania Perception Gap with Older Democrat Voters, Not Enough Financial Support from DNC, No Public Financing Decision


One Response to Strategy Hub

  1. The RNC has alot of money power this year? That’s news to me. Why can’t McCain raise as much as Obama? Maybe that’s why McCain is being a pussy and using Public Financing (he basically has to because of that bill he co-oped with hypocrite russ f. who is against political free [speach] but then tries to *bash every piece of legislation that keeps us safe. As far as I’m concerned, if McCain can’t raise cash then neither can the RNC. Looks like someone’s going to be sucking **** for quarters this fall.

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