The spring elections — a primary on February 21 and a general election on April 4 — will be upon us before you know it. And despite the fact that nonpartisan elections are little noticed with low, low turnout, this year's so-called nonpartisan contests will define the state of democracy in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future. I kid you not!
First and foremost, there is an election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Two progressive candidates will be on the primary ballot — Judge Janet Protasiewic and Judge Everett Mitchell — along with two "conservative" (by which we mean MAGA) candidates. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the April 4 election. And that means if we fail to turn out, we could find ourselves with no progressive candidate to vote for. Both Judge Mitchell and Judge Protasiewic support voting rights, fair election maps, and a woman's right to make decisions about her own body. Neither of the "conservative candidates" do. Please read the candidates' responses to our Grassroots North Shore questionnaire, visit the links to the candidates' online information, and plan to attend our Supreme Opportunity Annual Fundraiser on February 5 from 7:00 — 8:30 (on Zoom). Judge Mitchell and Judge Protasiewic will introduce themselves to you at that event. (More about the program anon.)
Just as important is the special election in state Senate District 8. Until the day Alberta Darling resigned her state Senate seat, the Republicans held a supermajority in that body. And that meant they could impeach and remove any state officer they pleased without a single vote from any Democrat. It works like this: a majority vote in the Assembly impeaches a civil officer of the state. The Senate then holds a trial. If 2/3 of the senators present vote to convict, the impeached officer is removed from office. Fortunately the legislature was not in session in November and December, 2022. And because they are currently down a seat, they won't be able to act on such grave matters as impeachments until a new State Senator is seated after the special election. If Senate District 8 is once again represented by a Republican, Robin Vos has already declared their intentions. And that's just part of the reason this special election is so, well, special.
Jodi Habush Sinykin, a Wisconsin native and environmental lawyer, is running for the 8th WI Senate District, which includes Bayside, part of Brown Deer, Fox Point, River Hills, Whitefish Bay, Thiensville, Mequon, Cedarburg, Grafton, then westward to Germantown, Richfield, some of Menomonee Falls and Sussex. You can and should read about her life and passions on her website and keep up with her activities on her Facebook page and Twitter account. Endorsed by the UAW and by Daily Kos, among many other organizations, she will be a tremendous asset to her constituents and to the future of our state. If you live in Senate District 8, you MUST vote for her in the special election primary on February 21 AND IN THE GENERAL ELECTION ON APRIL 4.
If you don't live in SD8, you can still volunteer with the campaign and you can donate funds through her Act Blue page. Bonnie and Leon Joseph will be hosting a fundraiser for Habush Sinykin on Sunday, January 22, from 2:00 — 4:00pm, at their home (see the address on the donation page). Or you can go and donate any amount at the door. No doubt there will be oodles of dark money sloshing around this campaign — which is why every dollar you can give can help elect her. The recent special election of a Democrat for a Virginia state Senate seat in a Republican-leaning district should give us hope. But remember: hope is not a plan. It will take real work to get this job done. And that means YOU.
On that note, let me pitch making phone calls to strong Democratic women ahead of the primary and the general election. We were very successful with our phone campaign for the 2022 elections, reaching over 6200 women. The results — a BIG shift from Republican to Democratic votes in Ozaukee County — speak volumes about what grassroots activities can help produce. Governor Evers even WON Port Washington and Thiensville! I'm organizing the phone effort now and would really appreciate hearing from you at [email protected]. We will begin calling and leaving voicemail messages around January 30. Once you contact me to let me know that you will volunteer, I will send you a list of people and phone numbers to call, some brief instructions, a script you can use, and another, shorter, script you may be able to use to send text messages or leave short voicemails.
If you need yet another reason to get engaged in the spring elections, you should know that voter suppression is alive and working in Wisconsin. Don't just take my word for it. An Urban Milwaukee exposé documented that Bob Spindell, the chair of the 4th Congressional District Republican Party and a fraudulent elector from 2020, emailed his supporters bragging that “we can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.” The Spindell email goes on to gloat that “…this great and important decrease in Democrat votes in the City” was due to a “well thought out multi-faceted plan.”
Finally, the League of Women Voters Wisconsin is holding voter registration drives at the DMV on Mill Road (7301 W. Mill Rd., Milwaukee). They're looking for volunteers for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from January 11-February 1 and February 22-March 15, 11:00am-1:30pm. Sign up to help fight voter suppression by making sure all eligible voters are registered!
Wednesday, January 18
Drinking Liberally Tosa, 6:30 – 9:00pm
Camp Bar Tosa, 6600 W North Ave, Wauwatosa
Drinking Liberally Tosa is meeting in person. Meet old friends. Make new ones!
UWM Mapping Racism and Resistance, 4:00 — 5:00pm
In person (Whitefish Bay Public Library)or online
Volunteer training with Professors Anne Bonds & Derek Handley. RSVP.
Oz Dems Monthly Meeting, 7:00 — 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Avenue, Grafton
Join us for our in person general meetings the third Wednesday of each month at our Grafton office (1930 Wisconsin Ave. - lower level by the hardware store). Zoom link sent to paid members. We look forward to seeing you there at 7 pm.
Thursday, January 19
Voter Protection Spring Election Kickoff with Chair Ben Wikler, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race is the most important election you’ve never heard of, and the Voter Protection team is gearing up to help Wisconsin voters make their voice heard this spring. Join our staff and WisDems Chair Ben Wikler to get an inside look at our path to flipping the court and how you can get involved.
Waukesha County Democrats, 7:00 - 8:30pm
Southminster Presbyterian Church, 200 Richard St, Waukesha
Joining us will be Judge Janet Protasiewicz, and Judge Everett Mitchell, candidates for Supreme Court. Each candidate will be talking an taking Q&A. This is your best chance to learn the candidates before the primary election in February.
Friday, January 20
Briefing on the State Supreme Court of WI, 12:00 — 1:30pm
A Better Wisconsin Together Institute, Law Forward, and Badger State Research will host a c3 briefing about the Supreme Court of Wisconsin (SCOWI). Badger State Research will share data on knowledge gaps and sentiments/perceptions of the court, Law Forward will discuss past and upcoming cases decided by the court, and ABWTI will provide messaging guidance to focus on education around SCOWIS. Join the Zoom Meeting.
Saturday, January 21
Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
North Avenue & 76th Street, Milwaukee
Stand for Peace has resumed in-person events with masks and social distancing. Check for more information. Organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.
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