Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Curious Campaign Of Dan Adams

As I have reported before, the race for Assembly District 19 is one of the more interesting races to watch.

AD 19 is currently represented by Representative Jon Richards, but Richards is stepping down from that seat in order to run for Attorney General.  This leaves this as an open seat in a strongly Democratic district.  As a result, no less than five people - four Democrats and one member of the Pirate Party - have put their names in the ring.

The two top contenders in the race are Milwaukee Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Jonathan Brostoff, former legislative aide to Senator Chris Larson.

This made Milwaukee County Emperor Chris Abele very upset.

Chris Abele
Despite all of his claims to the contrary, his feud with Dimitrijevic is indeed very personal.  There was no way he would support her.  Abele feels that Dimitrijevic should be punished for daring to oppose him on anything and to tell him no.

Likewise, he doesn't like Larson who refused to support his power grab and also had taken Abele's personal state senator, Lena "Sellout" Taylor, off of the powerful Joint Finance Committee. Being the petty little man that he is, Abele was not about to support Brostoff either because of his connection to Larson.

So Abele did what comes naturally to a plutocrat such as he and went out and got his own hand-picked
candidate - Dan Adams.  No, nothing personal about that at all.

And then things got really weird.

Last week, Abele sent out this email blast via his campaign:
Happy New Year! There are many things happening in Milwaukee County and I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a few important issues facing Milwaukee County.
In 2012, Milwaukee County sought ideas for the redevelopment of the Milwaukee County Transit Center. After reviewing several proposals, I recommended Rick Barrett’s development, the Couture, as what I believe is the best use for this valuable space. This $180 million investment in Milwaukee will add over $10 million to the local tax base and create 2,600 direct construction jobs as well as hundreds non-construction jobs.

This is an exciting time for all of us who enjoy Milwaukee’s lakefront. The State Legislature is currently considering a bill that provides clarity on the boundary that development is permitted based on the shoreline that was created by a 1913 agreement between the City of Milwaukee and the Chicago Northwestern Railroad. This boundary definition is critical for this project to proceed. Please call or email your Representatives or Senators and urge them to support the bill (co-authored by Representative Sanfelippo and Senator Vukmir) and help this project move forward. 
I also wanted to make sure you were aware of a potential threat to necessary services for our most vulnerable citizens.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors recently considered mandating a raise in the minimum wage for county employees and employees of companies with contracts with the County. While the proposal may sound good in theory, in practice it will have a devastating effect on Milwaukee County. I appreciate the Board’s motives, but research shows proposals such as this create an island in which it is more difficult to provide the necessary services.

I am committed to a different approach — one that will improve the lives of the working poor throughout our state and country. I have been working diligently on this issue on the federal level with advisors to the President, Senators and Representatives to address income inequality by supporting a raise in the federal minimum wage. I introduced a resolution for consideration by the County Board to support state and federal legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Please contact your County Supervisor and encouraging the passage of this broader initiative. 
Over the last three years I have realized the importance of working with partners who share a vision of enhancing our community. Two such people who have committed to serving the public are Dan Adams, who is running for the State Assembly, and Chris Moews, who is running for Milwaukee County Sheriff.

I’ll be sharing more information on both of them in the future but if you are free tonight, January 22, at 5:00pm I’d love to see you at Dan Adams campaign kick-off at Belmont Tavern, 784 North Jefferson Street.

As always, please share your thoughts with me on these issues or anything else on your mind.


What basically Abele is saying is that it's wonderful that he is teaming up with rabid Teapublicans and ALEC leaders to change state law in order to benefit his fellow plutocrats; it's horrible that the County Board wants people to get paid a living wage; and, hey, by the way, come out and support my hand-picked candidate to show that uppity Dimitrijevic and Larson who's emperor around here!

Not exactly a great way to support your candidate, in my humble opinion. Brag about helping the wealthy, screwing the poor and then adding the fundraiser as an afterthought.

Yes, apparently Abele's ego is that damn big.

Anyway, Michael Horne of Urban Milwaukee covered that fundraiser. Judging from Horne's report, it was not much more than a mutual admiration session between Abele and Adams:
Dan Adams
Abele praised what he called the “real world experience” of the former assistant District Attorney who is now in private practice at Adams, Urfer, LLC. “It’s not about who sucks up to him,” Abele added.

Abele stresses that he doesn’t “care what letter is behind your name,” when it comes to “D” or “R” politicians, but whether the officials can work across the aisle. “Dan’s the right guy and I will do everything I can to help him win.”

Adams returned the favor by calling Abele “the epitome of a public servant.” He thanked the attendees for braving the chilly weather to show up at the Belmont for his event, which featured a cash bar and a bunch of bags of chips that remained largely untouched. “Its so cold even downtown lawyers have their hands in their own pockets. Now I have my hands in the lawyers pockets,” he joked as he made an appeal for funds.
Also of interest was that Abele's personal county supervisor, Deanna Alexander - another rabid Teapublican who doesn't even live in that district - was present. (She did not donate any money to Adams however. She must have been there hoping to see a purple unicorn and eat Chick Fil A sammiches.)

But there is more.  There is always more.

Political wonks know that campaign finance reports are due this Friday, January 31.  But Adams is apparently a Johnny-on-the-spot guy and has already filed his report.  In the short time since he announced - or to be more accurate, since Abele announced Adams' candidacy, he has raised a fairly impressive $14,000.

But what is interesting is where that money came from.

Of course, Abele put in his $500 and Adams put in another $500.

But out of the 76 donations listed, only 19 of them came from with Milwaukee County.  And a handful of those came from outside of his district.  Twenty-one donations came from other parts of the state and a whopping 36 donations - nearly half - came from outside of Wisconsin.

Just who is Adams planning on representing?  It sure doesn't seem to be the people of AD 19.

Fortunately, the people in AD 19 can and will do better than go along with the candidate of the special interests.


  1. Not too difficult to see the awful power of money to corrupt elections, even inconsequential primaries. When the vast majority of a candidates financing comes not from his home district, and not from the county in which he resides but from mostly out of state or elsewhere in the state it is obvious that if special interest money can buy a candidate and in turn by that candidate an elective office that special interest now has management and control of the policy of said candidate. As we've seen in Madison this very same money buys and controls government. Our democracy is dying when there is no brake on the power of money to subvert the electorate.

  2. Now the question is will this latest example of a politician campaigning with public resources on public time be added to Son of Doe or will we now get Grandson of Doe?

  3. Just a note about the out of Milwaukee people contributing to Dan's campaign. I recognize many as people he's known through the years. While it's easy to cast aspersions and raise the "special interests" bogeyman, last I checked, there's nothing wrong with friends supporting a friend's run for office, is there?

    1. How convenient that an anonymous commenter just happens to recognize Adams friends from through the years. Yeah, that seems legit.

      It's pretty obvious that he need the help from his friends abroad since he's not getting a lot of help from his own district.

  4. Anyone supported by Abele has earned skepticism, but Horne notes that Nik Kovac was also at the fundraiser, and I trust Nik as much as anyone in Milwaukee to have his head in the right place.

    Interesting race, to be sure.

    1. Nik Kovac was also at a Dimitrijevic fundraiser. I think he is staying neutral and showing support for all the candidates.

  5. You're welcome to delete the comment, capper, since everything is fodder for suspicion. Yeah, I have no desire to have my name out in the open and since you provide the option for anonymity, I took it.