Speaking on the upcoming elections and giving tips on navigating in a turbulent political climate, Bill McCoshen, managing partner of Capital Consultants, Inc. and previous chief of staff and campaign manager for former Governor Tommy Thompson, spoke at this month’s Eggs & Issues on September 21 at Green Mill. Elections are coming up and change is inevitable, and the key to success is learning to work with the ebbs and flows of politics.
Here are some take-aways from McCoshen’s remarks:
Independent voters and enthusiasm gap
Particularly in the gubernatorial election, if the Republicans have a downfall this November, it may be attributed to two things: independent voters and an enthusiasm gap. Governor Scott Walker’s coalition has always included independents, and getting this independent vote back will be crucial for this incumbent candidate to win. According to the most recent Marquette polls, Tony Evers has a +21% lead with independent voters, which could swing the vote in his favor come Election Day.
Democrats are more enthusiastic to vote this election cycle, which works in Evers’ favor as well. In September 2014, the Republicans had a +7% enthusiasm advantage and Walker won. Now, the Democrats have a +11% advantage.
Eau Claire Area priorities
According to McCoshen, Eau Claire has positioned itself nicely during recent turbulent times in politics. By focusing on nonpartisan and data-driven initiatives, the city has the capability to obtain the support of and work with any candidate.
The Pablo Center at the Confluence is one of these nonpartisan initiatives that have been implemented, and now the proposal for the UW-Eau Claire Science Hall is next. No matter who is elected, Eau Claire is ready and willing to work with them. Evers is on record supporting the new science hall, and McCoshen has confidence that Walker would back it as well if re-elected. With talks of a new convention center eventually coming to Eau Claire, the city must position itself to thrive in any political environment.
McCoshen stated that the key to getting support on these initiatives is showing the state that the locals want them. By proving that locals, business owners and elected officials approve these projects, they are more likely to be successful.
McCoshen said if the election were held tomorrow, Evers would win. However, he expressed that even though Walker is currently down in the polls, he should not be counted out. Walker has been in this position before during the 2014 election against Mary Burke and came back to win the election. Walker has never lost an election in Wisconsin and has an abundance of resources at this disposal. This is not to say Evers does not have a good chance, but the elections are still a couple months away and things could change.
U.S. Senate race
In the Senate race, McCoshen expects incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin to win. It would be very difficult for State Senator Leah Vukmir to come back. She is under resourced compared to Baldwin and Baldwin has also been running a smart campaign that would be difficult to beat.
McCoshen predicts that neither house will flip from Republican to Democrat. He states that too many seats would have to be won, which is unlikely.
Political expert presents forecast at Eau Claire breakfast (Leader-Telegram)
Posted by Emma Koehn, Legislative & Workforce Development Intern
Eau Claire Chamber
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