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Capitol Notes

Wisconsin Public Radio

There's never a shortage of political news in Wisconsin, from the governor's office to the Legislature to the state's elected officials in Washington, DC. Join WUWM's Marti Mikkelson and editor JR Ross each week as they highlight and provide context to the latest developments.

There's never a shortage of political news in Wisconsin, from the governor's office to the Legislature to the state's elected officials in Washington, DC. Join WUWM's Marti Mikkelson and editor JR Ross each week as they highlight and provide context to the latest developments.
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Milwaukee, WI


There's never a shortage of political news in Wisconsin, from the governor's office to the Legislature to the state's elected officials in Washington, DC. Join WUWM's Marti Mikkelson and editor JR Ross each week as they highlight and provide context to the latest developments.




Capitol Notes: Will Johnson, Baldwin Suffer Consequences From Kavanaugh Vote?

After a bitter fight that culminated in sexual assault accusations and an FBI investigation, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Kavanaugh. The U.S. Senate confirmed Kavanaugh over the weekend and he was then sworn in to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Wisconsin's U.S. senators split on the matter, with Republican Ron Johnson voting yes and Democrat Tammy Baldwin voting no to confirmation. In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of,...


Capitol Notes: Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Vukmir Pledges Unabashed Support For Kavanaugh

The Kavanaugh hearings took center stage last week in Washington, and both candidates is Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race weighed in on President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court. Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin asked for an FBI investigation into claims that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when the two were teenagers. Baldwin's Republican challenger Leah Vukmir, meanwhile, called for quick confirmation of Kavanaugh. For this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, WUWM's Marti...


Capitol Notes: Evers Goes Bold, Says He's Open To Raising 'Variety Of Taxes'

The candidates for governor traded more barbs last week. State School Superintendent and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers took the opportunity to criticize his opponent, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, in his "state of education" address. Evers said Walker's education priorities are "out of whack" and that his policies are failing Wisconsin. Walker answered by launching an ad that warns voters Evers will increase taxes and take the state backward if he's elected. Evers responded...


Capitol Notes: State Senate Under Pressure To Vote On Kimberly-Clark Incentives

Gov. Scott Walker is imploring state senators to return to the capitol, and vote on a bill that would provide $100 million in tax incentives to Kimberly-Clark. The company says it will close one of its plants in the Fox Valley if the Senate doesn't approve the incentives by the end of the month. The Assembly passed the incentives in February, but the bill stalled in the Senate because there wasn't enough Republican support. WUWM's Marti Mikkelson talked about the issue with JR Ross of...


Capitol Notes: Walker Weighs In On The National Anthem Debate

Last week, we saw Republican Gov. Scott Walker inserting himself into the national anthem debate. He called on all NFL players to stand during the anthem, instead of taking a knee. In doing so, Walker sided with President Trump, who's been vocal on the issue. It happened during a rough week for Trump, as a book and an op-ed came out, which appear to show members of his administration are very critical of him. And, Walker already has been saying that this midterm election year could be...


Capitol Notes: What Impact Would Trump Visit Have On Walker Campaign?

Some heavy hitters are beginning to appear in Wisconsin on behalf of the candidates this fall. Vice President Mike Pence held a fundraiser in Milwaukee last week for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir. She's facing Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin in November. Pence says both he — and President Trump — plan on coming back to Wisconsin to rally for Vukmir and Gov. Walker before the mid-term elections. Walker is locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Tony Evers. In...


Capitol Notes: Will Trump’s Rough Week Impact Wisconsin’s Fall Elections?

The underlying theme of the midterm elections this fall is how voters feel about Donald Trump. The president has been on a bumpy road in the past week. Two of his former close associates were found guilty . Others turned against him, agreeing to share potentially damaging information. Will the recent developments make a difference in races in Wisconsin, especially if Trump comes here, to stump for candidates like Gov. Walker, and U.S. Senate hopeful Leah Vukmir? JR Ross of


Capitol Notes: Big Wisconsin Races Go Negative Early

It’s been less than a week since the fall primary elections and already campaigns are in “full-court press” mode. The candidates in the big races have been traveling the state, courting voters. Meanwhile, groups that favor Republican Gov. Scott Walker have been attacking Democratic challenger Tony Evers. And fans of Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin have been blasting GOP opponent Leah Vukmir. JR Ross of isn’t surprised by the negativity. He says it’s a tried and true...


Capitol Notes Special Edition: Walker, Evers Barnstorm Wisconsin & Attack Each Other

Republican Gov. Scott Walker will face state School Superintendent Tony Evers in November, as a result of Tuesday's Democratic primary. The attacks happened immediately. The Republican Party of Wisconsin announced on election night that it would run TV ads, attacking Evers for not revoking the license of a teacher who viewed pornography on a state computer. Evers responded by saying that state law at the time wouldn't allow him to revoke the license, because students did not see the...


Capitol Notes: Nicholson, Vukmir Locked In Bitter Battle As Senate Primary Looms

Tuesday is Wisconsin's fall primary election. Among the races on the ballot is the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Voters will decide which candidate should take on Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin in November. The two front-runners in the primary are state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield, and Delafield business exec Kevin Nicholson. The race between Vukmir and Nicholson has been marked by bitterness. WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of, why that's been the case,...


Capitol Notes: National Polls Show Governor Walker Could Be In Trouble

The Wisconsin governor's race is starting to draw broader attention. Some recent national polls show Democratic candidate Tony Evers ahead of Republican Gov. Scott Walker in hypothetical head-to-head matchups. The NBC News/Marist Poll had Evers ahead of Walker by 13 points, while the Emerson College Epoll showed Evers up by seven. Evers is one of eight Democrats vying for the chance to face Walker in November. The primary is Aug. 14. In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti...


Capitol Notes: Unpacking The GOP Senate Debate, Baldwin Raises Impressive Numbers

Wisconsin voters had a chance last week to vet the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. State Sen. Leah Vukmir and Delafield Business Executive Kevin Nicholson debated issues such as tariffs, abortion and immigration policy, at a forum in Milwaukee. In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked Jeff Mayers of, what he found interesting about the exchange.


Capitol Notes: Will Photos of Walker And Alleged Russian Spy Cause Problems For Him?

Gov. Scott Walker spent much of last week trying to downplay some photos that surfaced, of him and the woman now charged in an alleged Russian plot to interfere with U.S. elections. The photos were snapped in 2015, as Walker was announcing his presidential bid. In this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of, whether this will be problematic for Walker, as he seeks reelection this fall.


Capitol Notes: Analyzing the Dems Debate, Johnson Supports While Baldwin Opposes Kavanaugh Pick

The eight Democrats vying for the chance to take on Gov. Walker this fall shared the stage at UWM last week for their only broadcast debate, with just weeks to go until the Aug. 14 primary. In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of what he found interesting about the discussion, and whether there was a clear winner.


Capitol Notes: Sanders Stumps For Baldwin, More Than a Half Million Claim Per-Child Tax Credit

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin's campaign could get a shot in the arm, as former presidential candidate and fellow U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders stumps for her in Eauu Claire this weekend. Republicans are targeting Baldwin's seat in November and Sanders is considering another run for President himself in 2020. In this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of, what it means for Baldwin to have a heavy hitter like "Bernie" rallying for her.


Capitol Notes: Will Gov. Walker Be Able to Capitalize on Foxconn Expansions?

The Foxconn groundbreaking last week on Foxconn's huge LCD screen factory in Racine County was a big deal for Gov. Scott Walker. He pushed hard for the Taiwanese electronics giant to locate the plant in Wisconsin. The day after the groundbreaking, Walker celebrated the news that Foxconn plans to create at least 200 jobs in Green Bay. Those workers will develop applications for Foxconn's display screens. WUWM's Marti Mikkelson talked to Wispolitic's JR Ross about the Foxconn developments in...


Capitol Notes: Tiny Village Of Mount Pleasant Gears Up For Trump Visit, Foxconn Groundbreaking

After months of anticipation, groundbreaking will be held Thursday on the huge Foxconn complex in Racine County. And President Trump, who advocated for the Taiwanese electronics giant to locate in Wisconsin, will be on hand for the festivities. State and local governments committed $4.5 billion in tax incentives to land the massive LCD screen manufacturing plant, and it could create up to 13,000 jobs. Trump's visit comes on the heels of the Marquette poll, which shows many people don't think...


Capitol Notes: First Eric Holder, Now Barack Obama Group Involved in Wisconsin Fall Elections

A group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder worked to elect Democrats in last week's special elections in Wisconsin. One of the two open legislative seats went to a Democrat, while a Republican captured the other. Now, another big Democratic national organization is getting into the mix. It's a group formed by former President Obama. The organization says it's targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November. It's also trying to get a Democrat elected to the seat currently held...


Capitol Notes: Will Special Elections Tuesday be Litmus Test of “Blue Wave” in Wisconsin?

Voters in De Pere, WI will select a new state senator Tuesday. Meanwhile, voters in Lodi will choose a new member of the Assembly. Special elections are being held to fill two vacancies. Observers are wondering whether the elections could be a litmus test for the “blue wave” in Wisconsin, in this midterm election year. Democrats are campaigning hard to win the seats, while Republicans are fighting just as hard to keep them. Editor JR Ross talked about the special elections...


Capitol Notes: Straw Poll at Democratic Convention Asks Delegates about Gubernatorial Hopefuls

The August primary elections are coming up quickly. Yet there's still no Democratic front-runner in the Democrats' bid to prevent Republican Gov. Scott Walker from winning another term in November. The number of candidates is in the double digits. However, a few of them could be pulling ahead, according to a straw poll that conducted at last weekend's state Democratic Party convention. Editor JR Ross says the poll wasn't scientific, but the results could be...