Dan Shafer
Winners & Losers

TCD’s week in review

Tommy Thompson wins the GOP Primary, Eric Hovde's political career ends, the latest from the John Doe investigation, "Wally-Gator" is discovered and more.

By - Aug 17th, 2012 10:34 am


Tommy Thompson

With 34 percent of the vote, former governor Tommy Thompson won Tuesday’s Republican Primary for U.S. Senate. Thompson received 197,772 votes en route to victory, and will square off with Democratic candidate, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who ran unopposed. Once again, the Marquette University Law Poll was accurate in predicting election results, as the Aug. 8 poll had Thompson at 33 percent, when including likely votes of undecided voters, and never showed any other candidate in the lead throughout the campaign. In the Aug. 8 poll for the U.S. Senate election, Thompson led Baldwin 48 to 43 percent. Baldwin has challenged Thompson to three debates.

Democratic newcomers and a group called Wisconsin Progress 

Two incumbent Democrats were defeated in state assembly races in the Milwaukee area on Tuesday, due in part to the efforts of a group called Wisconsin Progress. The group backed Daniel Riemer in District 7 and Mandela Barnes in District 11, who both defeated incumbents. In open seats, the group backed winners Sandy Pasch in District 10 and Evan Goyke in District 18. Incumbent JoCasta Zamarripa, who won in District 8, is also backed by Wisconsin Progress, as is Milwaukee County Supervisor Nikiya Harris, who won in her campaign for State Senate in District 6.

Milwaukee Police Officer Jovan M. Petkovich

Police Chief Ed Flynn fired 10-year veteran officer Petkovich in January for “inhumane treatment against a prisoner in custody.” Petkovich appealed the firing. At a Wednesday hearing at the Fire and Police Commission, an agreement was made and Petkovich will be disciplined, but not fired.

The incident in question came during a Feb. 4, 2011, traffic stop. Tramaine Ford, the vehicle’s passenger, asked to use a nearby restroom because of side effects from an antibiotic she was taking. The story indicates conflicting testimony as to whether or not Ford was confrontational. Then, according to the Journal Sentinel, “A confrontation ensued, and Ford was pepper-sprayed, handcuffed and arrested. She spent more than 30 minutes in the squad car where an in-car video showed her screaming and crying repeatedly that she had to use the bathroom and had done nothing wrong. She later said she soiled herself before being booked into the jail, where she spent the night.”


Recently relocated health care technology company Connecture, which moved to Brookfield from Atlanta earlier this year, received an investment of $20 million this week. According to The Business Journal, “The investment will enable Connecture to meet the demand from states for the creation of health insurance exchanges mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” and “support Connecture’s ongoing investment in software that benefits the health plan, broker and insurance exchange markets.”

City of Milwaukee street naming contest

Pittsburgh Avenue will be getting a new name. The Reed Street Yards area, where the street is located, is being developed into a water development and research park. In doing so, Pittsburgh Avenue will be extended west to underneath the 6th Street viaduct. The Milwaukee Water Council has already begun renovation at a location at 3rd and Pittsburgh, and as the contest website states, “the name “Pittsburgh Avenue” does not fit with the vision the City, Water Council and the development team have for making this area a worldwide center of water technology and research.” Submissions are due Sept. 14, and a winner will be chosen in October.

One brilliant commenter on UrbanMilwaukee.com, “Erik,” submitted the name Coast Avenue, saying “The accelerator building and entrace [sic] to the Yards will then be at 3rd & Coast, as in “Third Coast.”

We like it! Well done, Erik! Make your submission for Coast Avenue at city.milwaukee.gov/nameastreet, and maybe someday, we’ll see you at Third Coast.


Ongoing tragedy

Southeastern Wisconsin continues to grieve after the tragic shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. But as a recent piece in the New Yorkertitled “An American Tragedy,” written by Naunihal Singh, assistant professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, explains, it didn’t take long before the national media stopped paying attention, a stark contrast from the around-the-clock coverage given to the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., just weeks prior.

In this rapidly changing media landscape, it’s important to remember that some stories demand further thought and contemplation beyond the confines of the 24-hour news cycle. This is one of those stories.

(Note: A member of the Sikh Temple was killed on Wednesday, Aug. 15 in Milwaukee. Dalbir Singh, 50, was shot at the Harmony Food Store near 38th and Locust. Details are still emerging.)

A 27-month investigation 

The ongoing John Doe probe, at 27 months and counting, has reached the state level. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “new records confirm that prosecutors are also seeking information from Walker’s state administration and did so as recently as June, after Walker’s victory as the first governor in the nation’s history to win a recall election.” Open records requests were made by prosecutors on June 18, requesting “to both Walker’s office and the state Department of Administration for all communications “related to the designation and determination of individuals as ‘key professional staff’ of the Office of the Governor” since the time Walker took office on Jan. 3, 2011.” Read the full story here.

Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde

Former congressman Mark Neumann came in third in Tuesday’s primary, receiving 132,810 votes, or 22.8 percent. Neumann had the endorsement of the Tea Party Express and the Club for Growth, but lost, just as he did in 2010 when running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination against Gov. Scott Walker.

Political newcomer Eric Hovde came in second, receiving 179,631 votes, or 30.9 percent. Hovde made a strong showing in northeast Wisconsin, especially in Brown County, where he received 12,120 votes to Thompson’s 5,666.

In his concession speech in Pewaukee, Hovde said, “This is the end of my political career.”

(Hold on, the captain just turned off the No Sarcasm sign)

And what a career it was! Let’s take a look at some of the highlight’s from Eric Hovde’s political “career.”

  • March 8, 2012: Eric Hovde enters the race for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin.
  • August 14, 2012: Eric Hovde comes in second in the race for U.S. Senate and concedes to former governor Tommy Thompson.
  • Number of political offices held: Zero

And there you have it! The illustrious political “career” of Eric Hovde, 2012 – 2012.

(The No Sarcasm sign has been turned back on. Back to the column.)

Elizabeth Coggs, Jason Fields, and Peggy Krusick

Democratic incumbents Jason Fields (District 11) and Peggy Krusick (District 7) were defeated in Tuesday’s primary. Krusick, who has held her office for 29 years, is an anti-abortion Democrat, one reason cited for her loss.

Elizabeth Coggs ran for the District 6 State Senate seat recently vacated by her cousin, Spencer Coggs, who was elected Milwaukee City Treasurer earlier this year. She lost to Nikiya Harris 47.9 percent to 33.4 percent. It will be the first time in more than 40 years that no member of the Coggs family is serving in the Wisconsin State Legislature.


A five-foot, 70-pound alligator was discovered by the Milwaukee Police Department this week. South side resident Lee Rau kept the alligator, or “Wally-Gator,” as he called it, in his home. “Wally-Gator” is now at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control.

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