hearts and minds

July 15, 2008

Races for Wisconsin Legislature in Ozaukee-Washington counties confound the MSM

The July 13 OZAUKEEWASHINGTON section lead article in the Journal-Sentinel, “State Races Attract Attention”, is appalling journalism. The errors, misinformation and irrelevancies in this article are too many, and it needs major revision or a fresh start from scratch.

Half of the Senate and the entire Assembly is up for election every two years. There is no news there. But it is news that three-fourths of the Assembly (74 seats) and over half of the Senate offices up for election (nine seats) will be contested elections this November, where the voters will have a choice. And it is news that two-thirds of the contested Assembly seats, and over half of the contested Senate seats are currently held by the Republican Party. It is startling news that two of the nine contested state senate seats in Wisconsin (districts 8 and 20) and four of the contested Assembly seats (districts 23, 24, 58, and 60) represent Ozaukee and Washington counties. But the J-S three-member reporter tag-team missed that news entirely in their piece ostensibly focusing on Ozaukee and Washington counties.

Why was no mention made of these races and the candidates running in them? Since there have not been challenges in those general elections in the past, did these reporters just assume there wouldn’t be any this year? Or were the editors hoping that by ignoring them, the voters would, too? Maybe they just failed to check the official listing of candidates who will be on the November general election ballot.

The article somehow neglected to mention the following candidates running in Ozaukee and Washington counties for the state legislature:
Dr. Rene Settle-Robinson (D) is running against incumbent James Ott (R) for the 23rd Assembly District.
Greg Dombro (Ind) is running against incumbent Pat Strachota (R) for the 58th Assembly District.
Perry Duman (D) is running against incumbent Mark Gottlieb (R) for the 60th Assembly District.
Clyde Winter (Ind) is running against incumbent Glenn Grothman (R) for the 20th Senate District.

This curious article did mention the unsurprising (but is it accurate?) news that “Incumbents are running unopposed in the county-wide races for clerk, treasurer, register of deeds, and district attorney …” and it digressed for many paragraphs into an unrelated discussion of a certain Mequon utility referendum.

There is overwhelming support over the kitchen tables in Ozaukee and Washington counties for “A Choice for A Change“.

Who really wrote this Journal-Sentinel article? How many column inches were eaten up giving the people such truncated, misleading news about the “State races” in Ozaukee and Washington counties?


  1. It’s possible that what the reporter meant was that “Burkee was one of only two candidates for the U.S. House challenging an incumbent from his own party.” At least it’s plausible. Except that St. Amant didn’t actually go through with filing his nomination papers.

    To be fair, Wiesolek didn’t file any nomination papers either, so your post criticizing the J-S for its inaccuracies is itself somewhat inaccurate.

    Besides the aforementioned Burkee, about twelve incumbent legislators face primary challenges from their own party, although two of those are very likely to be thrown off the ballot tomorrow.

    Comment by Al W — July 15, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  2. Reply to Al: I think you are clearly right that whichever of the three writers who penned the part about “challenging an incumbent from his own party” may have intended to refer only to Congressional districts. But that’s not what the article said, and in the context of an article about “state races” in Ozaukee and Washington counties, which failed to mention four of the six contested races for the state legislature in those counties in the general election, the inaccuracy only served to reinforce the misinformation and the missing information.

    Thank you for the new information about Wiesolek, and other intra-party challengers. Before writing my reply to the J-S article today, I did not look again at the G.A.B. site to see if there was new information. I used the same information that was available to the three reporters and the editor for the Journal-Sentinel when their article was submitted for publication. I assumed Wiesolek to be a bone-fide challenger, not a stalking horse, with, as I recall, sufficient nominating signatures. And G. Grothman, on July 2 had applied for a grant for taxpayer provided matching funds, in apparent anticipation of a challenge. Go figure.

    Comment by clyde "Hearts and Minds" — July 15, 2008 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  3. Have you created a site or page about your state Senate campaign? I am glad to see this race contested.

    Best of luck, Sarah

    Comment by Sarah R — July 31, 2008 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

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