After another losing statewide election in Wisconsin, it seems that the WISGOP should change its slogan to ‘Celebrate Mediocrity’ to keep things honest. The Republican Party of Wisconsin has been spiraling since Reince Priebus left as Chairman to take over the RNC in 2011; only now, it seems, we have hit the iceberg dead on and are taking on water, big time.
Even with recent changes, the party shows that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAS CHANGED. This should be no surprise since Brian Schimming, the new WISGOP Chairman, comes from the Madison ‘swamp’ and was anointed with little to no input from Republicans statewide. Why should anyone expect results to be different? Here we go again!
In fairness to Schimming, he did inherit a mess when he took over in December. The party was broke, could not prevent or mediate an ugly and expensive Supreme Court primary, and the grassroots was demoralized from another series of statewide losses last November. Regardless, those who think the new RPW Chairman is beyond contestation are sadly mistaken.
I am not one of those saying Dan Kelly’s loss was all Schimming’s fault. That accusation isn’t fair, and it’s not true. There is, however, plenty he can and should, be blamed for.
I know this ruffles his feathers and the feathers of those trying to ride his media coattails, but if he can’t handle the heat, perhaps he shouldn’t have taken the job. He was in charge, and it is customary for the captain to go down with the sinking ship, and in Schimming’s case, he was at the helm when it crashed head-on into the iceberg.
Many of us saw the iceberg in the distance, knowing the damage a bruising primary for Supreme Court would do. Even Mark Belling publicly urged Daniel Kelly to drop out after he and his surrogates went negative, but Schimming was SILENT and did nothing to change course to avoid that iceberg. Nobody asked him to pick the winner; we were trying to get the internal attacks to stop. Instead, he punted.
The reality, Democrats viewed Dorow as the stronger general election candidate, so ‘A Better Wisconsin Together’ spent $2.4 million to dirty her up in the primary and helped Dan Kelly to advance. Schimmings silence on everything was deafening.
Remember when all the Democrats dropped out of the US Senate race with two weeks to go to ensure Mandela Barnes wouldn’t get battered in an inter-party primary? That didn’t happen by accident. It was orchestrated. Luckily, Ron Johnson was ready and did what the Democrats were unwilling to do and immediately told the truth about Barnes.
Brian Schimming and his apologists now find it necessary to ‘celebrate’ his mediocre start. They are busy making excuses but refusing to look at reality. The usual suspects keep parroting talking points like, ‘He was the hardest worker’ and ‘He’s only had the job for a few months.’
Really? Schimming is no novice. He has been part of the WISGOP ‘organization ‘elites’ for years. He has also been Vice-Chairman and continued being a vocal cheerleader long after. So, spare me the excuses; there was no reason he couldn’t hit the ground running, as this is NOT his first rodeo. Nuff said?
In a recent interaction I had with Schimming, he made a point of telling me that he had been to more places than I have. Really? So what? If you have to point out how ‘hard’ you are working, maybe it’s time to do some self-reflection because actions should speak louder than words. He’s getting paid a substantial salary to travel the state; it’s part of his job.
The most critical part of the job of the WISGOP Chairman is FUNDRAISING. Perhaps he missed the memo, as this seemed less of a priority. This became excruciatingly obvious when he was recently asked in an interview if he had talked to Diane Hendrichs, the wealthiest woman in the state and a key GOP donor. He said he hadn’t spoken with her in ‘months.’ Seriously? She should have been one of his first calls!
There are rumors that he doesn’t like fundraising. Ok? If true, then what is the party paying him for? Money finally started rolling in at the end; better late than never. And he did manage to raise more money than his predecessor, but let’s face it, it was a very low bar. Shimming’s fundraising efforts were underwhelming when compared to the Democrat money-making machine.
I’d be curious to see how much of that money was actually used on Dan Kelly’s behalf. Yes, I’m hearing that Kelly refused monetary support from the WISGOP. This is a colossal misstep by Kelly. This refusal would have been good to know way back in December; perhaps another reason Kelly should have stepped aside. But that’s ancient history now.
Regardless of what Kelly wanted, Schimming should have spent EVERY DIME on Kelly’s behalf, which could have helped other critical races across the state, like the Green Bay Mayor’s race. I would love to see how much the WISGOP still had in the bank the day after the election. I bet the answer would speak volumes.
Clearly, Schimming wasn’t focusing on fundraising calls, so what was he doing? Well, he was busy wasting precious fundraising hours preaching to the choir and hosting various radio shows, he even made a TV appearance on Nesmax. You know, things more focused on building the ‘Brian Schimming, Inc.’ brand rather than fundraising and expanding the base. But I digress.
Don’t get me wrong, I get that Schimming is a media guy, and he’s good at it, but while on the WISGOP dime, he needed to stop doing radio shows. None of those HOURS on the radio translated into ballots. On top of that, it sure would have been nice to have those precious hours invested in calling donors. After all, this was his primary job.
What’s more, doing radio shows as the head of the Republican Party could have allowed the Democrats to demand equal time. Luckily, they did not – this time.
We all know that Brian is a good cheerleader for the WISGOP; that’s where he excels and clearly likes doing it. Becoming WISGOP Chairman was a mistake, and it was wrong for Senator Johnson and others to anoint him in the first place. Other candidates were out of the beltway and were much better suited and would have focused on fundraising.
The WISGOP got outworked and the ‘Captain of the ship’ was not paying attention. Just look at Ben Wikler, he raised over $10 million for the Democrat Party in the Supreme Court race. Nearly ALL OF IT was transferred directly to the Janet Protasiewicz campaign. Republicans raised less than $2 Million.
Brian Schimming has a big decision; is he willing to buckle down and build a large and small donor machine as the Democrats have, or will he continue to do radio shows to grow his brand? He cannot do both; if this continues, we should expect the same lousy results in 2024.