Bradley builds steam; endorsed by former opponent

UPDATE: Read the Bradley Campaign statement

Secretary of State candidate Rohn Bishop has withdrawn from the race, throwing his support behind La Crosse Republican Julian Bradley.

“Removing Doug La Follette remains a priority, and I am proud to endorse my friend Julian Bradley to be our next Secretary of State,” Mr. Bishop said in a statement. “Julian and I agree that Wisconsin cannot continue the status quo when it comes to the Secretary of State’s Office. I know that Julian can bring meaningful change to the office, and I urge my supporters to support his candidacy. Together, we can make a difference for Wisconsin.”

Mr. Bradley is running on a platform that challenges efforts to get rid of the office, that its duties need to be restored to the elected constitutional office. The only thing that needs to be eliminated is Doug La Follette, Mr. Bradley’s website says.

Mr. Bishop was seen by those following the SOS race as a potentially strong candidate, but his decision to bow out and support Mr. Bradley supports our claim that the 3rd District GOP Vice Chairman is the clear front-runner. That claim was controversial among some who still think Elimination is a way to save money or shrink government.

Whether the party rallies around Mr. Bradley is a question that remains to be answered. But based on the sheer amount of grassroots work and solid strategy of Mr. Bradley, my money’s on a less crowded primary and a rather rapid accumulation of top-tier endorsements for him.

We agree that the office should be kept. Moving duties from an elected office to bureaucracies isn’t the conservative (or liberal) thing to do, it’s just Madison power politics and must be stopped. Mr. Bishop, who entered the race believing the office would be better off eliminated, seems to agree.

Given the incumbent’s proclivity for extended vacations golfing outside the state, no one can fault a critical observer for thinking Doug La Follette’s absentee Secretary of State Administration deserves to be eliminated. La Follette has worked hard to get out of Wisconsin, but what the state needs is a constitutional officer who will work hard for Wisconsin, one who won’t spend his time phoning it in.

Mr. Bishop’s endorsement of his former opponent comes on the heels of Treasurer candidate Scott Feldt announcing an impressive list of endorsements and provides even more evidence that the “movement” to eliminate the positions of Secretary of State and State Treasurer has lost much of its steam.

The Elimination movement was a gimmick from the start, an easy way to both pretend to shrink government while consolidating power in the hands of bureaucracies.

Now, a real conservative reform movement is building steam, and Mr. Bradley is leading it.

About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.