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A new report finds that millions of potential voters in states that require photo ID at the polls live more than 10 miles from the office that issue IDs. Nearly half a million of these people don't have access to a car or other vehicle. With the new requirements, "it certainly looks and feels like a poll tax," says one voter advocate.

A national Tea Party group is running a TV ad in Wisconsin attacking the two frontrunners in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.
The Club for Growth ad makes no mention of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin. Instead, it goes after former Gov. Tommy Thompson and hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, “On taxes, Hovde's like Thompson, only worse. Club for Growth Action is responsible for the content of this advertising.”
The club has endorsed former Congressman Mark Neumann in the race for Senate. Two polls released this week showed Neumann significantly behind both Thompson and Hovde.
Carrol University Political Science Professor Lily Goren says it's not unusual for a conservative group like the club to get involved in a GOP primary. “This has been going on, to some degree recently, across the country on the Republican side with regards to the Tea Party.”
Democrats have been quick to highlight the disunity among Republicans in the Senate...

A new Marquette University poll shows former Governor Tommy Thompson leading hedge fund manager Eric Hovde by 12-percentage points in the Republican primary for US Senate. It comes on the heels of another poll showing Hovde ahead.
Thompson led Hovde 35-percent to 23-percent in the latest Marquette poll of people likely to vote in the August Republican primary. Former Congressman Mark Neumann was the top choice of 10-percent of those polled while six-percent picked Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.
Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says Thompson's numbers were largely unchanged from the same survey taken in June while Hovde made significant gains. "I think on Hovde's side, we're seeing the cumulative effect of a tremendous amount of TV advertising, and advertising that's largely gone unresponded to by other candidates," he says.
Another survey released by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling had Hovde up by two points over Thompson. Franklin said it wasn't clear why the two polls differed.
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One of the Democrats running for the seat being vacated by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin says he's in it for the long-run and hopes to some day use seniority in congress to benefit Wisconsin.
Assemblyman Mark Pocan told a Wispolitics forum in Madison Tuesday that if he's elected, he'll do his best to work his way up the ladder in Congress, understanding that the longer you're there, the more you can accomplish for your state. "I'm in this for the long-run," he says. "I mean I really, I know when you get to Congress seniority does matter a lot. You know I've been here for 14 years because I got a lot done in those years. I plan on doing that in Congress."
Pocan says it's a lesson he learned in the state legislature, where he was what he calls a "bomb thrower" when he was first elected, but learned to work with other legislators as his career progressed.
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A new poll shows a near dead-heat in the Republican primary for U-S Senate between hedge fund manager Eric Hovde and former Governor Tommy Thompson. The survey's release comes as a third Republican, former Congressman Mark Neumann, begins to ramp up his campaign.
The automated survey taken Thursday thru Sunday by the firm Public Policy Polling showed Hovde with a 31-to-29-percent edge over Thompson in a four-way Republican primary. Neumann was the choice of 15-percent of those polled while Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald was the first pick for nine-percent of respondents.
Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen says it shows Hovde has the momentum in this race, but he thinks either Hovde or Thompson could prevail in August. "It shows you that voters' preferences aren't really that firm," he says. "I think that this is probably sort of a soft lead for Hovde."
Jensen said the Republican primary was looking more like a two-person race, adding that...

Governor Scott Walker raised three-quarters of his campaign funds from out-of-state donations in the closing days of the recall.
Walker raised seven-million dollars from May 22nd to the end of June with 74-percent of the money coming from people who don't live in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Director Mike McCabe says it continued a trend for the Governor who relied heavily on out-of-state donors to fight off this recall. "Overall if you look back to January 2011 and you look at all the money he raised, and he raised over 37-million dollars to ward off this recall election, overall 64-percent of his money came from outside of Wisconsin," he says. "So he was very heavily reliant on outside donors but that reliance increased the closer he got to the election."
McCabe said Walker's ability to accept donations of any size was a factor in his fundraising, but so was the way the race was seen as a national...

During a campaign tour of the state this week, Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin was urged to be more assertive against her Republican opponents.
A backyard party for Baldwin in suburban Milwaukee was by and large a sedate and friendly event for the Madison Representative. But during a question and answer session, three supporters urged the often soft-spoken and typically pleasant candidate to get ready to hit back hard against unfair Republican and third party attacks. One man put his concern this way: “I think that's one [way] of saying the word ‘lie.’”
Baldwin's replied that over the next few weeks, she's working on introducing herself around the state and building name recognition. She promises a spine of steel in responding to attacks, but mainly wants to wait until after the Republican Senate primary next month.
Prior to the primary, Baldwin says the Republicans will be brawling with each other, and she says she's inclined to let...

Democrat John Lehman says Republican Van Wanggaard has insulted the voters of Racine by refusing to concede in their state Senate race, even after a recount showed Lehman still up by more than 800 votes.
Lehman held a State Capitol press conference, flanked by the Democratic caucus in the Senate, urging Wanggaard to concede in the 21st state Senate district race. Lehman said he had expected a congratulatory phone call from Wanggaard on election night a month ago when returns showed him up by more than 800 votes. The official canvas left Lehman with a similar margin, as did the recount.
Lehman says Wanggaard should respect the will of the people. “We have a long history of close elections in Racine. But for somebody to stretch that and to say that we want to keep talking about this as some kind of a fraudulent situation is just really inappropriate and doesn't respect the long tradition in this country...

Wisconsin tribal governments want to make more of their members heard in the November election. They say this month’s recall showed their “get out the vote” effort is working.
Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Tribal Chairman Tom Maulson says Wisconsin’s 11 tribes can make a difference, so they’re making extra efforts this year to get the vote out, “They’ve got to start to realize that we are a force to reckon with. I guess it’s just a matter of how we pursue and get our people out to vote.”
This isn’t a partisan effort for one political party. Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Attorney James Schlender Jr. says the recall election was a chance to register more voters and educate local polling officials about accepting tribal IDs. Although a precinct turned away one person using a tribal ID, he says that was ironed out. He says the recall paves the way for a better turn-out in August and November elections....

Talk of the Nation

Ranking presidents is a favorite pastime of historians and political scientists, writes author Bob Merry in his book Where They Stand. Merry and Political Junkie Ken Rudin discuss how voters and historians evaluate presidents, and how those ideas change over time.

Democrat John Lehman is declaring victory after a state Senate recount in Racine. Republicans could still challenge the result in court, as the GOP tries to hold on to control of the Senate.
On election night last month, Democrat John Lehman outpolled incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard by 834 votes. Wanggaard later demanded a recount. The Racine County clerk says the new result shows Lehman winning by 819 votes. Wanggaard can stay in office longer if he files a legal challenge to the recount in the next few days. Lehman, however, is calling on Wanggard to leave the Senate now.
Republicans claim there were voting irregularities in Racine. Jonathan Strassburg is legal counsel to Wangaard's campaign; he says there were ballot security problems, including tampering with ballot bags. He says those problems need to be investigated, as Wisconsin remains in the spotlight.
But Racine County clerk Wendy Christensen says she's confident the vote and the recount process would...

Thursday's landmark Supreme Court ruling comes just a month-and-a-half before Wisconsin's Republican U.S. Senate primary. It shines an even brighter light on an issue that was already a focal point in that race.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, former Congressman Mark Neumann, and former Gov. Tommy Thompson each issued statements after the ruling saying that if elected, they'll vote to repeal the health care law.
But even though they're ostensibly on the same page, there's friction between the Republican candidates. Neumann has tried to own the health care issue, “Well the only one that's been active in opposing ObamaCare from day one is myself.”
He won't personally criticize other candidates, but the national Club for Growth has endorsed Neumann and has relentlessly attacked Thompson for at one time supporting the type of individual mandate the court upheld.
In a conference call, Hovde leveled some of the same charges at Thompson, ”Tommy changes...

Gov. Scott Walker says the state of Wisconsin won't take any steps to implement the federal health care law, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision upholding it.
Walker says the lawsuit challenging the health care law was only the first step in trying to overturn it. The governor says the next step is in November, when Republicans will have a chance to elect a President and a Congress who will repeal it.
Walker says Wisconsin won't implement any part of the law until after that election. “It doesn't do a whole lot of good if after November—if you've got a new Congress and potentially a new President who will seek to make dramatic changes. You've already had one of the candidates saying his priority on day one is going to be to repeal ObamaCare. For us to put time and effort and resources into that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and I think you're going to...

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down an implicit challenge to the Citizens United case that allows for unlimited corporate contributions to election campaigns. The director of a Wisconsin campaign finance watchdog group says the ruling reinforces the role of corporate spending in elections.
The court ruled a Montana law banning corporate contributions to candidates cannot be enforced because violates the ruling in Citizens United v. FEC ruling the court handed down two years ago. Montana's governor and attorney general defended Montana's law, passed in 1912, and called the high court's decision a political one that will promote corruption in election financing.
Jay Heck of the Wisconsin Chapter of Common cause agrees. He calls Citizens United and this most recent defense of it “activist rulings” from a court that claims to oppose judicial activism. “This is a decision that is not based on any precedent. It's really based more on the ideological disposition of the conservative members of...

The Republican primary for U.S. Senate is less than two months away. One of the wild cards is how much personal wealth some of the candidates will sink into the race.
Personal wealth has been a big factor in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate races. Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's ability to self-finance his campaign helped him come out of relative obscurity to defeat Russ Feingold in 2010. Democratic U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl's personal wealth helped him launch his political career and helped him fend off challengers over his several terms in office.
There are a few millionaires running for U.S. Senate this year on the Republican side. Reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission show hedge fund manager Eric Hovde had already contributed $1.5 million to his campaign by the end of March. Former Congressman Mark Neumann spent millions on his failed bid for governor in 2010 and won't rule out spending money on his Senate race: “I would...

U.S. Republican Senate candidate Eric Hovde says he expects the four way primary race he's in to get nastier over the eight weeks. Speaking at a Wispolitics luncheon in Madison Thursday, (6/21) Hovde responded to allegations that he's rich guy who doesn't care about poor people.
A recent column in the Huffington Post quoted Hovde asking reporters to stop writing ‘sob stories’ about people who will be affected by proposed cuts in the foodstamp program. Hovde's reponse is that his banks and finance companies fund numerous charities around the world and in the U.S. to help the economically disadvantaged. He defended his plan to eliminate food stamp and Medicaid fraud, which he says costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year: “You have to make sure it's operating, because if you break it then the people who really need it are devastated. That's my whole point: if we don't reform Social Security, if we don't deal with some of these...

Here and Now

With just six weeks until the Republican U.S. Senate Primary, Professor Charles Franklin talks about the latest Marquette University Law School poll and the political pulse in Wisconsin.

Here and Now

Coming off Mitt Romney's campaign stop in Wisconsin last week, reporter Zac Schultz previews the November presidential election and examines the historical implications the race might have.

A new poll shows Tommy Thompson still ahead in the Republican Senate primary, and Barack Obama continuing to lead the presidential race in Wisconsin.
The poll, by Marquette University Law School, interviewed about 600 likely voters late last week. In the Republican Senate primary, Tommy Thompson polled at 34 percent, with Mark Neumann at 16 percent, Eric Hovde at 14 percent and Jeff Fitzgerald with 10 percent. The poll also shows Thompson continues to lead likely Democratic nominee Tammy Baldwin in a hypothetical matchup, while the other Republicans either trail or tie Baldwin. But Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says the GOP contest isn't over, because 25 percent of poll respondents are undecided about the race.
Professor Franklin says the gubernatorial recall election may have distracted some GOP voters from making up their minds about the Senate contest. In Marquette's presidential poll, President Obama leads likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney 49 to 43 percent. The poll was done before...

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Neumann says his top priority, if elected, is the repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act. He made a whistle-stop tour of three Catholic hospitals Wednesday, calling abortion language in the law an attack on religious freedom.
Neumann's three-city campaign swing began at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, where he said the new law requiring all hospitals to provide what opponents say are abortion-inducing drugs in their employee insurance plans violated the constitutional separation of church and state. He says if elected he'll work to dismantle the bureaucracy the act has already created, even if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the law in the next few days. Neumann offered his own plan for dealing with health care insurance: “Employers and employees should get together, decide what they want in their insurance plan, and then the insurance companies should provide that at a market price to the company. If the government would get out...

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