By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
Say what you want about Tuesday’s partisan primary contestants, they certainly sound confident.
All of them.
Here’s a quick survey of how things are going among the U.S. Senate candidates vying for the GOP nomination.
Tommy Thompson campaign: We feel good. We’re not letting up, that’s the bottom line.
Eric Hovde campaign: We feel good. We’ve continually seen Eric over last month and a half surge in the polls. It’s remarkable how well Eric’s message and how well campaign has been received. (Editor’s Note: It’s also remarkable what $4 million-plus can do.)
Mark Neumann campaign: Things are really great. We are really excited. All three polls have Mark surging.
Jeff Fitzgerald campaign: We’re feeling really confident. We are trending upwards in the right areas in southeast Wisconsin where Republicans vote in primaries.
Yes, I get the fact that only the confident survive, that you’ve got to keep the ground team fired up to get out the vote.
But reality has got to set in somewhere, doesn’t it?
Fitzgerald has been a breath of fresh air. He has run the only fully positive campaign of the lot, focusing on his accomplishments and the issues instead of wallowing in the mud.
That may explain why he’s consistently double-digits behind the front-runners in this race.
Based on the polls – particularly the Marquette Law School and the liberal leaning Public Policy Polling voter gauges of late – this is a hotly contested three-man race. Of course the candidates are volleying for any edge, and no one is about to express any doubts.
But only one contestant is going to emerge victorious.
There have been plenty of races over the last year-plus in election-heavy Wisconsin, where everything including polls suggested the results were a bygone conclusion.
Most of the contests in the spate of recall elections this late spring indicated as much.
Until election night, Seidel and the campaign spoke confidently of a big Democratic win – that the long-time public servant would pull out a victory.
Same for Milwaukee Mayor and Democrat Tom Barrett, beaten by Republican Gov. Scott Walker by 7 percentage point in the June 5 recall election. It wasn’t a double-digit shellacking like the others, but the polls and all of the momentum seemed to point to a Walker win in the days before the election, despite Barrett’s assertions.
Barrett and surrogates boasted of a big victory for the Democrats hours before the polls closed. A supporter even slapped the mayor for conceding too early election night.
I guess I’d like to see some more realism in politics.
Sure, there’s fighting the good fight. But I want to hear more embracing the bad loss.
Here’s the Election Eve story I’d like to read:
Asked how he felt going into Tuesday’s election, Henderson said, “Well, it’s pretty clear I am going to get my (expletive deleted) kicked in this one!
“Whew! That lady is going to smoke me!”
While Henderson’s campaign said the candidate has conducted a fair amount of internal polling, absolutely none of it looks favorable.
“In fact, it’s looking worse than we could have even imagined,” Henderson said. “If there was one word to describe my campaign right now, it would be ‘over.’ Or ‘turd.’ Yeah, ‘turd.’ That would probably do it.”
Oh, to have that kind of realism in the closing days of elections.
But that would require honesty.
How’s that commodity trading in politics these days?
Contact M.D. Kittle @ firstname.lastname@example.org