Outgoing County Board Chairman Lee Holloway got some unwelcome press when it was revealed that he had asked each of his fellow board members to contribute $100 from their office account to pay for a celebration of Black History Month to be held on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at the King Community Center.
The event was actually a going-away party for Holloway, critics said, and should not be funded by taxpayers to the tune of $1,900, an amount that would finance Chris Abele’s inauguration festivities for another 40 terms, based on precedent.
With a cash balance of $4,395 in his campaign account, you’d figure Holloway would have enough cash to pay for his own party, especially after a year-end transfer of $2,808 from what remained of his campaign funds from his race for County Executive.
However, the balance sheet shows that the Friends of Lee Holloway carry a $6,550 debt from a loan issued from the candidate himself. It doesn’t take a cynic to figure that is one debt that may never be repaid.
CROSSOVER VOTING IN WISCONSIN?
News reports following the Michigan primary show that about 9 percent of the voters there identified themselves as Democrats and that most of them voted for Rick Santorum. Some of these may have been motivated by Operation Hilarity, a Daily Kos stunt designed to prolong the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Michigan has had a rich history of crossover voting by both parties, with mixed results. This year, in an effort to suppress such crossovers, voters in Michigan had to specifically request – and sign for – a Republican ballot. Furthermore, there were no other significant races in Michigan at the time.
So, could it happen here?
Firstly, our primary election is April 3, which is geologic years removed from today in political time. But, pundits have been saying for some time that the race might still be lively by the time our state gets to vote.
Secondly, unlike Michigan, Wisconsin has a number of other races on the ballot, with varying importance from locale to locale.
Thirdly, in Wisconsin, Republican and Democratic races are on the same ballot, so every person who goes into the voting booth can theoretically vote for either party.
REASONS TO GO TO THE POLLS
In the City of Milwaukee, for example, there’s a mayoral race. However, there’s no serious challenge to Mayor Tom Barrett. More likely to motivate voters are locally significant aldermanic races in about two-thirds of the districts here, which might bring out voters. There is also an open seat for City Treasurer.
Milwaukee County also has some contested races, depending on your supervisory district, and there are also a few races for county court.
So, overall, this is a mildly interesting election, as far as expected turnout is concerned, but we must remember – this is Wisconsin, the bellwether state for all that is political this year.
Voters here are resigned to the fact that they are in a nonstop election cycle until November, and Democrats, in particular, have been very motivated, what with various recalls and the like. So expect a fair-sized crossover vote on election day.
However, conservative blogger Jim Wigderson disagrees, saying, “Never happens. I think Larry Sabato wrote about it recently. The only exception I've seen is Ron Paul. Insanity knows no party affiliation.”
Also, unlike Michigan, where the Democratic Party encouraged – or did not discourage – crossover voting, the state party here is taking a high road approach, with communications director Graeme Zielinski telling Plenty of Horne:
We're focused on ensuring that President Obama wins four more years to continue the progress he's made on behalf of the middle class. We're interested in continuing to build our strong statewide organization to this end – not in any Republican sideshows.