We're trying hard to help you be an informed voter by the time the Wisconsin primary rolls around on Feb. 19. Hey, you're the Decider, at least in terms of whom you'll throw your support behind when the presidential nomination circus rolls through our state. But after Tuesday's Florida polling, even though the Democratic contest was officially a non-event, the once-cramped field has dwindled even further, with the discouraged John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani renouncing their ambitions.
It's been pretty exciting so far. Starting in the chilly fields of Iowa, there were so many candidates that there seemed to be a real possibility that the nominees for both parties would still be in contention all the way to the conventions. It's still possible. If, after Super Tuesday (Feb. 5), when 22 states conduct their primaries, no one candidate in either party succeeds in running off the rest, we will be in it for the long haul. And, state the pundits, the Wisconsin primary will be important, as rivals seek to accumulate delegates for a convention showdown. It would certainly be a change from recent history, when political conventions have become little more than staged coronations.
Speaking of political pundits, they proliferate during these presidential marathons, but ours this week, Rick Berg and Ruth Conniff, have been practicing the black craft for some time and come by their prejudices honestly. Berg, a stalwart of the Republican Thompson/McCallum administrations, comments from that end of the spectrum as a freelance writer and commentator on public radio and in other outlets. He brandishes some bipartisan credentials as a board member of Common Cause Wisconsin.
Conniff was formerly the Washington editor for The Progressive magazine. She does much the same thing these days as the magazine's political editor, only now she lives in Maple Bluff and raises three children with her husband.
To round out the primary thrust of this edition of Isthmus, we include the latest Candidates' Answers from the League of Women Voters. It contains information relevant to the primary contests for Dane County supervisor seats and city of Middleton alders. It also lists the full slate of eight Democratic and eight Republican candidates for the presidential nomination. So, though most of them have dropped out, they will still be on the Feb. 19 ballot, and you can vote for your favorite regardless. Who knows, one or more of them might be encouraged to get back in the race. In this year, it could happen.