A Few Thoughts On John Lehman's State Senate Win

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wherein Racine County voters reminded us into the wee hours of the morning after the election that character and personal histories count:

Pundits and conservative talk radio hosts are puzzling over the defeat in Racine of incumbent Republican State Sen. Van Wanggaard by - - horrors - - a Democrat, John Lehman.

A few thoughts.

Lehman had held the seat, but lost it to Wanggaard in 2010 when conservatives and Tea Partiers won big nationally, and in Wisconsin.

But in addition to his city and state elected service, Lehman had been a respected school teacher, and despite their demonization by the Right, teachers are liked by most parents, many of whom had favorite teachers when they were kids, too.

Lehman is known as a smart and committed guy with a reservoir of good will that gave the lie to the Republicans' 'teachers-are-the-problem' talking point.

And don't forget this April episode during the campaign in which Wanggard came off looking pretty bad: I can't imagine Lehman having done the same thing.
The mystery of the 'missing' Monday debate invitation that Citizen Action of Wisconsin sent to Racine debate no-show State Sen. Van Wanggaard, (R), has been solved.

No, a homework eating pooch was not involved.

Good dog.

At first, Wanggaard's staffer said forcefully and definitively to the Racine Journal Times that no such invitation had been received:

Wanggaard’s Chief of Staff Scott Kelly, contacted on Monday, denied the lawmaker ever received an invitation.

“I heard that they said Van was invited — that is a lie,” Kelly wrote in a text message. “You can quote me on that. We were not invited.”
But after the group produced a postal service receipt for the invitation's delivery, Kelly and Wanggaard remembered something different, but still had a fresh insult for the group.
Looking for the letter on Tuesday, Kelly said the senator eventually found it among some papers that were in his car. Kelly said that upon finding the letter, Wanggaard told him that he did remember getting something from Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

“He remembers having received a letter from a liberal interest group, and having dealt with it accordingly,” Kelly said.

When asked what “dealt with it accordingly” meant, Kelly repeated his quote. Asked if the senator ever opened the letter he said, “He didn’t tell me whether he opened it.”
All of which adds meaning to the headline the paper ran over a Wanggaard op-ed the previous weekend:

Next session, Wanggaard’s focus will remain the same

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