By Jeff Simpson
With the unfortunate retirement of the Dale Schultz, that left a wide open seat in the 17th Senate District. On the republican side, far right extremist (he who voted on the side of cancer and against cancer victims) Howard Marklein declared the first time Senator schultz showed any independence. Immediately the far right donors started throwing money at him.
Then local resident and farmer and retired Department of Transportation administrator Ernie Wittwer decided to throw his hat into the ring on the Democratic side. Ernie has a strong grassroots following and an excellent resume.
However, as we have pointed out on this blog on numerous occasions, if you are not inside you are outside and there is no room in Madison for outsiders. Once again, the elected democrats circled their wagons and attacked. Two time loser and former Jim Doyle aide, Pat Bomhack. took time off to go to college and now desperately wants back in!
Bomhack wants back in so badly, that he and the fellow members of the old boys club are more than willing to lose control of the Senate to make it happen. Bomhack was running against Dick Cates in the primary for the Assembly seat, but was doing poorly and thought he would have a better chance of beating Ernie Wittwer.
Of course after saying he wouldn't.
“A lot of local people have been encouraging me to go for the Senate but I’m totally focused on my Assembly race right now,” he said.Typical of people who chose politics as a career, he was not that focused because shortly thereafter, he switched to running for Senate.
The party leaders in Madison talked him into switching, then endorsed him.
Although Ernie Wittwer, a retired Department of Transportation administrator, declared his candidacy for the seat last year, his bid was evidently not taken seriously by party leaders in Madison. They began urging Pat Bomhack, a recent UW Law School grad and aide to former Gov. Jim Doyle, to drop his bid for the 51st Assembly District, in which he was considered an underdog, and run against Wittwer for Senate. Bomhack had run for the same Assembly seat in 2012, losing in a primary.
In April, Bomhack announced he was making the switch, and a week later Larson announced his support for the young candidate. Soon afterwards, Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona and a former minority leader, also endorsed Bomhack.
The local party leaders and grassroots support were none too happy.
Maureen Grimm, a school board member in Mineral Point who beat Bomhack in the Assembly primary in 2012, said she is puzzled by the support Capitol leaders are extending to Bomhack, who only moved to the area three years ago.
“The vast majority of involved Democrats in the 17th favor Ernie,” she said. “Perhaps there’s a little bit of a disconnect on what this district values. A difference between urban and rural.”
In what some local activists saw as a direct snub, Larson, delivering a speech about Senate races at the state Democratic convention last month, highlighted Bomhack’s candidacy and didn’t even mention Wittwer.
“I was disappointed at the convention that Chris said that,” said Phil Fransen, chair of the Green County Democratic Party, who said he is “leaning towards” supporting Wittwer but believes he should remain neutral in his capacity as a party official.
Mike Gallagher, chair of the Democratic Party of Lafayette Party, is actively supporting Wittwer and he said he gave Larson a piece of his mind after hearing the speech.
“I told him that that was very wrong,” he recalled saying. “You can support who you want but you don’t ignore that there’s a primary in the 17th Senate District.”
Local grassroots overwhelmingly support Mr. Wittwer, but because the DPW does not think he will tow the line 100% they would rather lose the seat, than let the local people decide by pushing a cookie cutter carpet bagging insider.
Do you really have to ask why the dems have had such a hard time finding candidates to run for office?
For the sake of Wisconsin, our public schools, jobs and all
other issues, it is imperative that we send a message to the right and the left and elect Ernie Wittwer!
I fully endorse Ernie Wittwer in the 17th Senate district of Wisconsin this morning!
Help Ernie Win!!!!
Ernie Wittwer's website is here!
Ernie Wittwer's facebook page is here!
Ernie Wittwer's twitter account is@wittwer4senate
Ernie Wittwer's email is here!
DONATE to Ernie Wittwer here!