Saturday, January 31, 2009

On the Congdon line

Jessica McBride in her latest column for the Waukesha Freeman* lists the many reasons why former Waukesha Democratic Party Chairman Rick Congdon was not a good pick for judge, despite the Waukesha Freeman's acceptance of the idea.

Congdon's term is up in 2010. Hysterically, Doyle's breathless press release announcing Congdon's appointment never mentioned Congdon's work with the local Democrats. (As recently as 2008, Congdon donated money to the Democratic Party.)

The Freeman editorialized that Doyle wasn't likely to pick Antonin Scalia anyway. True. But couldn't he at least pick Lloyd Carter (a respected prosecutor who applied), instead of a politically connected divorce attorney?

In November, as Democratic Party chairman, Congdon expressed hope that Obama's election means Waukesha can be turned more liberal. He told the media that Americans needed to restore faith in themselves.

During a Waukesha County Assembly race, Congdon absurdly demanded that conservative candidate and eventual winner Scott Newcomer be investigated for a felony for voting in Delafield. A special prosecutor exonerated Newcomer.

Congdon once snidely referred to County Executive Dan Vrakas as the "anointed one." Congdon represented a woman trying to keep a day care license after a young girl was allegedly sexually assaulted under her care. According to media reports, he argued she shouldn't be expected to watch the children constantly. He once called former Republican state Rep. Scott Jensen the "Michael Jackson" of Wisconsin politics.

Congdon's been a loyal foot soldier and partisan flamethrower. So, Doyle should give him a canned fruitcake for Christmas. Does he have to give him a judgeship? I'm sure Congdon will now try to remake himself as non-partisan, just like Mayor Larry Nelson.

You may recall, I suggested we start disliking Congdon's appointment right away and suggested the party line up for former assistant DA Dennis Krueger.

Dennis Krueger commented:

Thanks for the prop Wiggy. I will not be a candidate in the spring election for Branch 2 in April 2010. I work for JB at the State Department of Juistice and thoroughly enjoy serving the people of this state in that role.

Lloyd Carter applied for the appointment to Branch 2 as well. He has been an Assistant DA in Waukesha since the early 90s. Steady, thorough, dedicated and hard-working he would serve Waukesha well as a judge. Watch for him in the future if there is a contested election

So that's one early endorsement for Lloyd Carter, whom McBride also described as "a respected prosecutor."

However, in her column McBride endorsed Jennifer Dorow:

Dorow didn't seek the appointment from Doyle, but she'll likely announce a challenge to Congdon soon.

As one local Republican lawyer said, "She's savvy, smart, a fresh spirit, law and order with a heart, precisely what Waukesha County needs at this time."

Troy Fullerton concurs in the comments here:

From all I've heard Carter would have been a much better pick than Congdon, but moving toward a contested election I think conservatives would be much better with Jennifer Dorow. She will have far more support and resources from the politically active community here, and I think will run a much better campaign.

Here's my prediction. Congdon will be the most watched judge in Waukesha County this year and will face very stiff opposition in 2010. Don't know yet who it will be, but there's a line of potential candidates forming already, and they look more qualified than the appointed incumbent.