Thursday, March 6, 2008

State's Most Influential Republican Supporting Doyle Choice For Key Appeals Court Position

Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer has emerged as something of a consensus candidate for election to a full term on the Appeals Court, District II.

Among those supporting her candidacy as these co-chairs:

Governor Jim Doyle, who appointed her to the bench in the first place, US Sen. Herb Kohl, (D), Tommy Thompson's former unofficial Deputy Governor, Jim Klauser, and the biggest catch of all - - Attorney Mike Grebe, the former Republican Party's Wisconsin chairman and arguably, with his national connections to the White House, the state's most important Republican.

Grebe and Neubauer both worked at Foley & Lardner, the state's largest law firm, where Grebe says he watched her work and liked what he saw - - on many fronts.

Neubauer "understands the private sector," write Grebe in a laudatory, two-page "Dear Colleague" letter supporting Neubauer that is making the rounds.

District II of the State Appeals Court covers Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties.

In the letter, Grebe praises Neubauer's temperment, skills, and widespread appeal, but also goes out of his way to also highlight information about Neubauer's opponent, Attorney Bill Gleisner, that adds punch to Grebe's amazing letter.

Grebe calls attention to campaign donations that Gleisner has received from Wisconsin trial lawyers - - a standard target of GOP politicians and major business lobbies - - and also notes Gleisner's contributions to high-profile Democratic and liberal candidates, including Doyle, former 2004 Presidential candidate and US Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA), and former State Supreme Court candidate Linda Clifford.

Grebe says in his letter, released by the Neubauer campaign, that he is airing Gleisner's history because he "neglects to tell Republicans and conservatives" about it when seeking their support.


It's all a bit confusing, but it sure is interesting to see Neubauer's crossover appeal with other Republicans seemingly out on a limb, or out of touch - - at least with Party bosses like Klauser and Grebe - - with their support of Gleisner.

Among the Republicans backing Gleinser is a contingent of Waukesha County elected officials, including one of the legislature's most ideologically rightwingers, State Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) - - and, curiously, State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), who is the fight of her life against State Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, (D-Milwaukee).

If siding with Neubauer is the smart, moderate, dial-down-the-partisan-volume candidacy to support in the spring elections, then Lazich's position is par for her course, but in Darling's case, pure self-sabotage.


Pete said...

Good story; small nit: It ain't re-election. She was just appointed to the bench.

James Rowen said...

To Pete:
Thanks. I knew that.

Elizabeth said...

It's an important distinction. Voters who see "incumbent" below the name of one of the candidates may think that she has more than the three months of experience that she actually does.