Dean at Musings of a Thoughtful Conservative gives away the ending on this spring's mayoral election in Waukesha:
My gut feeling is that Alderman Larry Nelson and State Rep. Ann Nischke will move on to the April 4 election, if Rep Nischke. The reasons for this is that Rep. Nischke is the most widely known and Alderman Nelson is the lone Democrat. Rep. Nischke then wins the runoff.For the record, I think he's right, although Dean Field has more yard signs out there than Mrs. Fields has baked cookies.
If you're going tonight to the Waukesha Mayoral Forum and you want to say, "Hi, I really love your work," or even, "Hi, I'm willing to pay you $20 for your autograph," I'll be the guy wearing the Dallas Cowboy jacket (usually in the back of the room). If you see me nodding off, please give my chair a nudge.
Candidate forums, especially in smaller races such as this one, are terribly overrated. For example, Scott Newcomer was not the most articulate candidate at the Republican Party-sponsored candidate forum during the special election in the 33rd Assembly District. However, he isn't a bad public speaker, and he didn't screw up or say anything stupid. As a result, his campaign plodded right along happily to a win.
Things to look for tonight:
- Do they have a command of the issues? If they don't have a basic understanding of the issues here, then they probably don't when they go door-to-door or hit donors up for money or push for support in front of other audiences.
- Do they have a particular theme a voter can latch onto? Specific issues come and go. Will the people in the audience say to themselves, "liberal, conservative, weirdo, incompetent, leader, taxes" etc. Poltical campaigns are almost like a word association game at a party. Voters like to have a label on someone before they vote. Another way to look at it, every good song has a "hook" that gets people to want to hear it again. So do candidates.
- Does the candidate tend to ramble on into completely unrelated topics in an incoherent manner? Their campaign will, too, and you can put that person down as a loser.
- Did the candidate say something stupid? If you see Waukesha Freeman editor Bill Yorth walk out of the room cell phone in hand right after your candidate said something, that's not a good sign. That's the front page being re-written.
- Do they sound like they are going to win, or that they can win? It's an intangible, a gut feeling. Some candidates have it, some don't. Of course, having a strong campaign organization behind you tends to fuel a candidate's confidence. A candidate who is worried too much about what is going on in the campaign office is one that won't look well at a candidate forum.