Bradley pulling away from the field

Julian Bradley, candidate for Wisconsin Secretary of State, has swept straw polls conducted by three key congressional districts across the state over the past two weeks.

The trio of victories show Mr. Bradley pulling ahead in the crowded race for Secretary of State, a production which at last count stars Mr. Bradley and features two extras and one uncredited grip. The polls were conducted at GOP events in La Crosse, Milwaukee and Madison, the only district-wide events to conduct straw polls.

The results reveal Mr. Bradley’s grassroots campaign continuing to build steam leading up to the Republican Party of Wisconsin state convention in early May, the campaign said in its press release announcing the straw polls’ results.

“We just crossed the 15,000 mile mark for total travel time since we launched in January. I’m incredibly honored to have earned so much support from people all across Wisconsin,” Mr. Bradley said in the statement.

The results were:

• 3rd District Republican Party: 73 percent. District covers part or all of 18 counties in western and central Wisconsin.
• 4th District: 52 percent. District covers the Milwaukee area including the city of Milwaukee.
• 2nd District: 66 percent. District covers south-central Wisconsin, including the city of Madison.

Mr. Bradley took more votes than both of his opponents combined in all three polls, averaging 64 percent support. Only 60 percent is required to win on the first ballot at the convention. One opponent dropped out about a month ago and endorsed Mr. Bradley, while another, Rep. Gary Bies, an elderly late entrant who hasn’t campaigned at all, didn’t participate in any of these straw polls.

It’s more evidence that the majority of Republicans have rejected the idea that the offices of Secretary of State and Treasurer should be eliminated. The candidate who advocates elimination of the SOS office, Jay Schroeder, took a distant third in all three polls.

We’ve opined several times before that eliminating the offices is a swindle by Madison to give more power to unelected bureaucrats at the expense of constitutional officers. Those on the right who believe it’s fiscally prudent to take duties from an elected office and give them to bureaucrats like the GAB are the proverbial low-hanging fruit.

The legislature has taken notice. A bill to eliminate the SOS office failed to make it out of committee, effectively killing it. Another bill to get rid of the Treasurer’s office will be looked at in the Senate this week but a preliminary whip count shows it also failing to make it out of committee, more good news for Scott Feldt.

Mr. Bradley’s been successful running to restore and reform the Secretary of State’s office, evidence that Republicans are OK with keeping the office and returning responsibilities to it.

As we’ve said before, it’s the right approach fiscally, constitutionally and, apparently, electorally.

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.