Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Important Update from the Barron County Democrats

Earlier this week we mentioned holding our March party meeting via teleconference. Unfortunately, we haven't yet been able to set something up that will be easily accessible for all of our members.

In the meantime, please read this important note from our Chair, Gerry Lisi...

Time for Big Changes
The COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic is forcing all of us to make changes, and our party and candidates are no exeception.

The first change for us is canceling our monthly meetings and other in-person events until further notice. This includes the March meeting originally scheduled for Thursday night, as well as fundraisers, door-to-door canvasses, and our 7th District Convention (more on that below). And of course the work we do reaching out to voters will have to change to focus on reaching people remotely.

Let’s hope our big changes this year peak with a change in the White House on November 3, 2020!

75th Assembly District
We have big news this week, Republican Romaine Quinn is NOT running for re-election to the Assembly. It isn’t clear to most of us exactly why he is leaving. He says he wants to move on to building his family and finding employment in the private sector. The rumor is that he is going into banking in Barron.

Now is the time to encourage qualified individuals to step up as candidates. I’ve heard about two district residents who are quite interested, so a primary election in August is quite likely. We’d expect to have definitive "hats in the ring" by April 15, the first date for collecting nomination signatures. Candidacy applications must be filed in Madison by June 1st.

Democratic Campaigns
The state party has shut down all face-to-face meeting and canvassing statewide. State Chair, Ben Wikler, has directed that all canvassing must be “virtual”. That means using social media like Facebook and text messaging. Yard signs and highway signs are allowed, and, in fact, are even more important.

The changes in canvassing will have a major effect on the April and May elections.

The Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court campaign, in particular, had counted on a big Democratic turnout as people go to the polls to vote for Joe or Bernie. Her campaign, like the Zunker campaign, must spend much more on ads and digital promotion.

Replacing Walker-appointed Justice Dan Kelly is vital, especially in light of mandated election redistricting coming in 2021. Any plan approved by Gov. Evers will certainly be challenged in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justice Dan Kelly might think of himself as an expert on the subject, since he was one of Walker’s lawyers who defended the current heavily-gerrymandered maps in court back in 2012.

Bonus Fact: Dan Kelly voted with the Court's other right-wingers to allow the Lame Duck Laws to go forward.

Tricia Zunker for Congress campaign
Like other campaigns, Tricia is shifting tactics to reach voters remotely. We'll be doing all we can to support her with signs, texts, and social media, but right now the biggest thing you can do is donate so she can afford to go up with more ads on more platforms. She is such an excellent candidate!

The fundraiser at Mary Hoeft’s planned for Sunday has been canceled.

Yard Signs
We will try to blanket Rice Lake with the 75 Karofsky yard signs. A mass effect is more effective than a few scattered signs. We’ll distribute our few Zunker yard signs at the same time. We’ll be getting more Zunker signs at some point, and will do a big distribution probably after the spring primary and before the May election.

We need yard sign hubs in every community. The idea is to have a contacts throughout the county who can deliver a yard sign or provide a pickup spot. We can’t efficiently stage yard sign distribution out of Rice Lake only. We have sites designated in Rice Lake, Cumberland, Comstock, Cameron, Chetek, Barron, Birchwood and Prairie Farm. We need sites in Almena and Turtle Lake, and, now that we’ll have a campaign for the 75th, in Clear Lake.

Highway signs. We have distributed 29 professionally printed highway signs. Ron Brewster just finished painting 30 wood signs. Sam West is placing these now. We could use some more highway sites for these.

7th CD Dems Convention - Canceled
The convention has been canceled. If conditions allow, we will try to reschedule it in the future. For now, we will be returning checks and payments to anyone who has already paid the entrance fee.

Party Caucus & Delegate Process
For now, we are scheduled to hold the Barron County Caucus on Sunday, April 26, here at our office in Rice Lake. This is where pledged delegates for the presidential nominating contest are selected at the county-level, before being narrowed down at the congressional district-level and going on to Milwaukee.

Like anything else, this is subject to change both in date and in format. We will keep you posted.

If you’d like to be a delegate for Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this July, check out the official WI Delegate Selection Plan here.

Call or text me if you want to volunteer, have suggestions or just want to vent! Thanks!

Gerry Lisi
Chairperson, Barron County Democratic Party