He has already given money to rabid Teapublican state legislators Joe Sanfelippo and Dale Kooyenga. He has also given money and held a fundraiser for the Teapublican county supervisor Deanna Alexander, who has been such a useful tool for him.
Now he has a hand-picked candidate for the AD 10 race to replace the retiring Sandy Pasch. The candidate from the Abele Party (Motto: Bribing towards a more perfect plutocracy) is Tia Torhorst. Torhorst was one of Abele's legislative aides at the county before becoming the political director for Abele's campaign - a job she lists as still holding even as she is running her own campaign.
Indeed, Abele just had lent his campaign a third of a million dollars, of which, $14,000 went to Torhorst at the end of 2013. That would make a nice beginning war chest for someone looking to run for office.
Another sure sign that Torhorst is part of the Abele Party is her misleading campaign literature and website. Torhorst labels herself as a "Proven Progressive" and a "Progressive for Responsible Leadership," but a minimal look at her claims versus her record shows her to be anything but progressive or responsible.
Her campaign website's "Issues" page has only two issues, which not only shows just how out of touch she is with the community Abele wants her to represent, but is also, shall we say nicely, very misleading.
The first issue she has listed is education. This blurb sure makes it look like she is progressive:
As the only candidate who lives in the district and the only candidate with a child in a public school in the district, I fully understand the concern about our schools. Scott Walker has spent four years cutting funding for public education while at the same time he’s decimated the morale of teachers with Act 10. As a result, we face a serious problem with maintaining the most important economic tool in our state’s toolbox – a high quality education system. I will work to restore collective bargaining rights for teachers and increase funding for our public education system.Boy, there's more than a few issues in just that one paragraph.
As far as living in the district, I do know that David Bowen has bought a house in the district and is having it renovated, showing that he is committed to the entire district. She is also giving a backhanded slap at the retiring Sandy Pasch who did not live in the district when she was running for the seat two years ago.
It should also be noted that how Torhorst is targeting teachers with her comments about Act 10 and restoring collective bargaining, even though that maleficent law affects all public sector workers. This is a classic example of divide and conquer, like Scott Walker did with the police and public safety versus the rest of the public sector workers.
Torhorst isn't really all that pro-union. She refused to even acknowledge the invitation to interview with PEOPLE, the political arm of AFSCME much less try for an endorsement. Then again, given Abele's vehemence and loathing against AFSCME, Torhorst probably isn't allowed to go near them.
As troubling as this first blurb is, the one in the section regarding job training is quite egregious. Talking about "Economic Health," Torhorst makes this claim:
I’m proud that when I was Legislative Director for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele we funded a job-training program that took 500 people who were making $8/hour and taught them new skills for jobs that pay more than $15/hour. This is a model we should expand across the 10th District and all of Wisconsin.She couldn't even get the facts straight. The program, which was developed by Supervisors Eyon Biddle and Theodore Lipscomb, actually worked with unemployed people, not making any money, and gave them the skills to work in jobs that averaged $15 per hour.
It is understandable that Torhorst would get these facts wrong, considering that she actually worked to try to get the program killed before it was approved and then worked feverishly to get supervisors to support Abele's veto of the program. Like he does now, Abele felt that was a waste of money to help workers get living wage jobs. It should be noted that once Abele's veto was overridden, it took another ten months and action by Supervisor Lipscomb and the county board to get Abele to actually implement the program.
Understandably, these false claims of credit for a program that Torhorst actually fought against has really angered the actual authors of the resolution.
On his Facebook page, which I reproduce here with his permission, Eyon Biddle tore into Torhorst for her false representation:
Normally, I would let this go. Tia is running for Assembly in the 10th District. She used to work for Chris Abele, the so called progressive wolf in sheep's clothing. He's only progressive on LGBTQ issues and because he throws generous checks at organizations. Don't be fooled here. But what pissed me off is her trying to take credit for the Biddle-Lipscomb Ready To Work Plan. Not only has this job plan been widely successful but it has taken shots from the Chris Abele and Tia who tried to sabotage it. They vetoed it, tried to ruin my credibility on the County Board and undermine the success of the program.I reached out to Lipscomb as well, who told me:
This piece is dishonest. This is the type of leadership that we don't need at the State Assembly.
"She is knowingly revising history and it bears no resemblance to the truth. The very thing she says that she supports and that we should replicate is what she worked hard against and what her boss energetically vetoed."Apparently, one thing that Torhorst shares with her boss is the disturbingly ease with which they can tell barefaced lies.
As Biddle also stated in his post, a vote for Torhorst is a vote for Abele.
If the good voters of AD 10 wish to support and vote for a true, undeniable progressive, that person is David Bowen, who championed the living wage ordinance and who has been an actual supporter of the Ready to Work program.
I hope to have the chance to interview Bowen before the primary, but in the meantime the gentle reader can learn about Bowen at his website and his Facebook page. And if you can donate to help him and keep a real progressive in the seat, please help support him. He'll need as much help as he can going up against Abele's dark money support of Torhorst.