Wittwer Concedes

In a statement to supporters released this morning, Ernie Wittwer announced he would end his candidacy for the 17th Senate district:

Today, I will announce that I will not pursue the recount in court. I am fairly certain that we would have prevailed on the lost ballots in the City of Monroe, but that still left us a few votes short. We looked at several other places that were questionable. Livingston was the most likely place to challenge. After we visited with the clerk of Livingston, it was clear that a simple mistake was made that should have been corrected in the initial canvass. Without Livingston, we had to challenge several places and the prospects for success were very small. Therefore, my campaign is at an end.


Ernie "This District Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us" Wittwer
Ernie “This District Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us” Wittwer

The sideshow in the 17th Senate

This marks the end of a tumultuous post-primary period in which the incompetent administrations of various county clerks resulted in mass confusion about the results of the election.

The Democratic primary pitted Wittwer, a longtime area progressive activist, against Pat Bomhack, a slicker, younger, lawyerly candidate with the verve of a stump who was imported by the state Democrat Party from the Waukesha area in order to screw their own grassroots out of getting their guy on the general election ballot.

One wonders what kind of pressure was put on Wittwer by the power brokers in the Democrat Party of Wisconsin to back off and allow Bomhack to begin his campaign against Republican Howard Marklein.

Wittwer’s statement expressed his exasperation: “As you know, this has been an uphill battle from day one. People from outside the district played where they had no business playing.”

Dem grassroots votes with its checkbook

Pat "The Big Hack" Bomhack
Pat “The Big Hack” Bomhack

Bomhack prevails by a few votes, but I will hazard that he will not have the support of Wittwer and his supporters. Wittwer added, “I also plan to spend some time helping to elect Mary Burke, Susan Happ and Chad Hennemen.”

Notably, Bomhack didn’t make the list. No one – not even a right-winger who has been following this race and would like to see Marklein ultimately victorious – can blame Wittwer for being burned; he has felt the cold blade of Dem betrayal between his ribs.

He did, however, pledge to support the candidate running for the 49th Assembly district, who “has been largely ignored by the state party and could use our help.” The district is currently represented by Republican Travis Tranel.

Ultimately, the residents of the 17th Senate district have been betrayed by the Democratic Party, which cares only if they can control the representative from the area. Board Room Dems in Madison were more interested in defeating Ernie Wittwer than Howard Marklein.

About the writer: Chris Rochester is editor in chief of Morning Martini. He’s an armchair politico, veteran of several campaigns, and communications specialist. He's the communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.
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