I know it's almost too late, but I need to register my absolute disgust with the Steve Kraeger campaign. Now, as you may recall from last time, I am supporting my friend and ally Jason Haas in his bid to represent my county board district, the Fightin' 14th. Kraeger is the opposition.
One of the things that has bugged the everlovin heck out of me is that, three years ago when Kraeger ran for the same seat, he spent the whole time claiming, "I'll be Scott Walker's back up." I was at the candidate forums (they're still on youtube) when Kraeger was being as reactionary and conservative as possible. He never failed to take shots at his opponent, Chris Larson (now State Senator Larson), for being a liberal.
Two years later, he ran as a hard-right Republican (he lost his primary) for the seat held (then as now) by Rep. Chris Sinicki. You can listen to an interview with Kraeger from that race here (opens as an mp3), if you don't believe me, when he claims to be a "Walker-backer."
So what's on my answering machine at home today? Nine messages, for one thing, eight of them robocalls. And the first of those robocalls was from Kraeger. It opens with the usual clap-trap ("Hi, asking for your vote, blah blah") but then veers into real rotten territory:
I am also asking [you] to thank Christine Sinicki and Pat Jursik for their help in getting the Hoan Bridge rebuilt. I've been including this in my message to the state Department of Transportation on behalf of the people of Milwaukee County since I started my campaign, and on Saturday it became official, we won. The Hoan Bridge will be rebuilt.Why is this rotten? Three things.
One, he is aligning himself with Democrats, including Chris Sinicki, whom he was just running against! Anyone listening to that call would think that Kraeger was either a Democrat or at least friendly with the Democrats and liberals (including Jursik) who represent the areas within or near this board district. This is nonsense--Kraeger is a Republican and diametrically opposed to the Democratic agenda. He's invoking popular Dems' names to fool voters.
Two, he's taking credit for the Hoan Bridge work. As Chris Liebenthal noted months and months ago, the Hoan Bridge is not in the purview of the county board (it being an interstate and all) and certainly not something a candidate should be claiming victory for. I hardly think the DOT is quaking enough in fear from a county board candidate that it did one lousy thing at Kraeger's behest.
And three, Kraeger is hiding his extreme nature. This whole campaign, every robocall, every piece of lit, every public pronouncement, is all about how moderate and pro-family and pro-business (and, according to the photos on his website, apparently very pro-military). Nothing about being Scott Walker's back-up or being staunchly anti-transit, anti-help for the poor, pro-gun, anti-alternative energy the way his previous campaigns have been.
This is a makeover campaign: Kraeger sees the writing on the wall and he knows that he could never win on a pro-Walker, pro-Republican platform in this spring's election. Indeed, he lost twice already in the last to go-rounds, once to Larson and once to Richard Nyklewicz before that, running on exactly that platform.
I do not believe for a second that Kraeger has mellowed or changed his positions one bit. (And, due to scheduling, I haven't been able to get to a forum to ask about this, but I am sure some of you readers out there have better intel on this than I do.) By hiding who he really is, by invoking the names of popular Democrats to fool unsuspecting voters, he's gone from being a character with sketchy finances to being a just plain sketchy character.
UPDATE: Statement from Rep. Chris Sinicki: I just found out that Kraeger is using my name in a last minute robo-call. I want to make it clear....I AM NOT SUPPORTING KRAEGER. He is a self-confessed teaparty candidate with strong ties to Walker. He is crediting me with getting the Hoan re-decked. This is being done because of the voices on the South Shore.
Tomorrow is election day...get out and vote. I will be casting my vote for Jason Haas for County Supervisor!