With only hours remaining until the polls open on Tuesday morning, both the pace of discussion and the levels of invective therein are increasing as this spring's political campaigns reach their final stage. We're trying to keep up with the last-minute revelations and discussions in this last day before the elections.
- Ald. Brenda Konkel has perused the campaign finance reports and published the findings. Among the tidbits: six candidates have raised more than $10,000; the average amount raised is $6,345; and the total amount raised so far, as of Friday, March 30, is $171,321. Konkel says a lot of money is coming from the conduits, including the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and from outside the city of Madison.
"It's the Realtors, the business people in Middleton, Oregon, Waunakee," she says. "A lot of people from outside the city are trying to influence the election." And that, says Konkel, "makes a case for public financing of local elections." (The city is creating a committee to look into the issue.)
- Like most publications in the city, the Capital City Hues sent out a questionnaire to candidates. But Phil Salkin, government affairs director for the Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin, sent an e-mail to publisher Jonathan Gramling that was apparently intended for candidate Mark Deadman instead. Salkin wrote, "I am recommending that our candidates not answer this. Capital City Hues [has] a small distribution and probably almost none in your area."
Deadman, who is running to replace Ald. Brian Benford (ironically, one of only two black members on the council), did not complete the questionnaire. In an editorial last week (see "Electoral redlining"), Gramling wrote, "At worst, Salkin felt that his candidates didn't need to reach out to people of color in this and other aldermanic races....With this kind of thinking, it is no surprise that it takes so long for African Americans and other people of color to make any kind of strides in this community."
- Tomorrow, Stoughton residents will vote on a referendum asking the House of Representatives to start an investigation into whether President Bush and Vice President Cheney should be impeached for sending the country to war based on false pretenses. Stoughton is the only city in the state voting on impeachment this spring. Two other cities, Pittsville and Wisconsin Rapids, defeated a similar measure in November. Another Stoughton referendum asks for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
- While visible levels of fervor over local politics have steadily decreased over the last couple of decades, the amount of online passion over the same has skyrocketed in recent years. Keep track of local blogging about this spring's elections at Madison Miscellany, as well as ongoing discussions in TDPF.