Friday, June 24, 2005

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

State Representative Spencer Black says he's considering an independent run for governor next year. Which has Governor Doyle asking if Black and dissatisfied progressives who are urging him on "really want to have a Republican governor or not?"

Doyle's problem is that when a large and growing number of people ponder his question, their answer is that someone like Spencer Black needs to run.

Dissatisfaction with the current political landscape knows no partisan boundaries. Isthmus editor Marc Eisen's column this week is devoted to talking up the idea of Mike Ellis running for the Republican nomination for governor. Homeless Republican moderates who are tired – not to mention privately terrified – of the "guns, gays, God and feeding tubes" crowd that has hijacked the GOP would love to see an Ellis candidacy.

Eisen figures Ellis could pull a Lee Dreyfus in a three-way race with right-wing poster boys Scott Walker and Mark Green, and wonders out loud if state employees disgusted with Doyle might even cross over and vote for Ellis.

What's most intriguing about Eisen's analysis is his contention that Ellis could benefit from what he calls the "All Hell Breaks Loose scenario." He notes that the Capitol corruption cases against Brian Burke, Chuck Chvala, Scott Jensen, Steve Foti and a Foti aide will likely come to trial before the 2006 election. But Eisen says the "real time bomb tick-tick-ticking away could be the Nick Hurtgen indictment" that is "giving night sweats to Wisconsin GOP leaders, according to several Republican activists."

Hurtgen is the former Thompson administration insider who became a Bear Stearns bond executive and now faces up to 80 years in prison on extortion and fraud charges in Illinois stemming from a massive federal corruption sweep. Eisen cites published reports saying the feds are looking into Hurtgen's Wisconsin dealings and asks "(w)hat if, in a deal to avoid prison, he rolls over on somebody big in Wisconsin politics."


greatguy said...

Re: the indictment of Nick Hurtgen, there is a lot of uninformed trash surrounding his arrest. For instance, your blog states that he is under the threat of an 80 year prison term. Last week, one of his two co-defendents -- Kieferbaum plead guilty to bribing board member Levine multiple times to win the hospital construction projects. This sin is many times worse than what Hurtgen is accused of. Under Federal sentencing guidelines, and as agreed by both the Feds and Kieferbaum, Kieferbaum could face up to 57 months of prison, but get half of that if he helps the Feds. This is the most Hurtgen faces.

These informed source rumors surrounding this arrest are trash.

Anonymous said...

You make it sound like Hurtgen had a lot of friends. He had a few: Thompson, Hammes, Grebe, B. Johnson, and a few idiots like Bill McCoshen and Gerrard but everyone else despised him many because of his bull in the China shop demeanor.

People are rolling over with stories of corruption that don't leave Tommy unscathed. There are so many deals that are under the radar so many phone calls made on Nick's behalf by Tommy- People are going to jail. And good riddance.

Tommy, Nick, Gerrard, Hammes they have come to epitomize everything that is wronge with curruption and politics. Let them swing from the tallest yard arm on lake Mendota!!!

Anonymous said...

Greatguy...What is Phil Prange leaving blogs about his brother-in law on WDP web-sites now...go back to WISPOLITICS.

Anonymous said...

Milwaukee Magazine's Bruce Murphy mentions Nick Hurtgen's close connections to Scott Walker in a recent column and suggests the relationship is one of many reasons Walker won't likely become governor.

Murphy focuses on Walker’s decision to bring his campaign adviser, Jim Villa, into county government as chief of staff and Villa's regular contacts with Hurtgen. County e-mail records show numerous contacts between Villa and Hurtgen, who helped set up a fundraiser for Walker in Chicago around the time Hurtgen was successfully securing a $100 million county bond deal for a client of his. The Journal Sentinel had done a 2004 story where Walker claimed that Villa had only contacted Hurtgen a "couple of times" via courthouse e-mail. The e-mails prove this claim wasn’t true.

As Murphy says, this information is important, both in shedding more light on the county bond deal, which auditors criticized for irregularities, and for expanding the portrait of Hurtgen, a longtime Wisconsin operator with connections to Tommy Thompson, Walker and other Republicans.

Murphy's column is at

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for all the bs artists on this blog, Hurtgen has been exonerated.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatley for Hurtgen, his Northshore Irish Judge (grady) just coulnd't get around the fact that Hurtgen said "guilty". What's amazing is that if it wasn't for Hurtgen none of the investigations into Blago would have ever happened.

I guess after all his years in Wisconsin doing simular things, at least according to news articles going back 15 years, he just thought it was normal?