Sunday, December 4, 2022

I adamantly opposed Tim Michels and Eric Toney in the primary, but they earned my vote onTuesday

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Here we are, less than 24 hours from election day and the people of Wisconsin have a huge decision to make. Back in August, the people had their chance to flex their conservative muscles and chose Tim Michels for governor and EricToney for Attorney General. Neither of those candidates were my first choice for governor and AG, but we must rally behind both in unison if we are to have a chance at defeating Tony Evers and Josh Kaul on tuesday. That said, to this day, while I still have my reservations about both Michels and Toney, I’m willing to give them a chance to govern. I think everyone should hear my perspective on where I was and where I stand today:

Eric Toney:

I was one of the most adamant opponents of the lockdowns when they first occurred in March of 2020. I stated publicly that the masses were largely overreacting to this. My own friends scolded me for this…even my conservative friends. In short, there is no one who was more anti-lockdown than I. As most of us know by now, Eric Toney was in the public eye back in the spring of 2020 for prosecuting a number of people for violating Tony Evers’ ‘safer-at-home’ order. Then, about a year ago, I found out that Eric Toney was running for Attorney General and my skin began to crawl. I thought ‘how in the world does a man like him have the audacity to run when he enforced the state-sanctioned violation of people’s basic rights?’Well, not too long after, I met Eric Toney at a pints and politics event and I angrily confronted him for enforcing this order.

“You had a duty to ignore this illegitimate use of government power and you failed to do so,” I exclaimed.

I must’ve left some sort of impression because I met him again a couple of months later, and he actually remembered me.

“We had a pretty heated discussion the last time we met,” Toney said.

However, one thing that stood out was how he didn’t just blow me off. He actually spent time explaining his position and had a legitimate back-and-forth with me as to the merits of the stay-at-home order. We had a far more civil discussion than our first meeting and must’ve talked for a good 45 minutes. Ultimately, we agreed to disagree. What struck me was that he was willing to have a conversation and he actively was trying to earn my vote and after that conversation. I had far more respect for him after that even though we disagreed.

Lastly, my most recent interaction with him was at the Washington County fair where he happened to walk by my company booth where I was working that day. He once again approached me with his hand extended and a sense of familiarity. No politics were discussed but at this point, I could tell he truly recognized me. In short, comparing our last interaction with our first one was night and day. For me, it truly highlighted that he is a very decent man who cares a lot about interacting with people, and every time I met him, he made it clear that he genuinely valued my opinion.

In spite of that, out of principle, I could not support him in the primary due to his position on the safer at-home order that I vehemently disagreed with. I even went so far as to demand he apologize for his position and I was not alone. Many of my peers shared the same concerns with Toney. But ultimately, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t disagree with at least one thing that another Republican does. If a Republican was perfect, it would be only because we elected ourselves.

That said, the decision he made was short-lived and now that over 2 years have passed and he won the primary fair and square, it’s time to move forward and compare his record to Josh Kaul’s. No one will convince me that it’s a better idea to help reelect a lawless, weak AG instead of a law and order candidate as the state’s top cop. Regardless of my differences with Toney on his decisions related to covid, let’s highlight his credentials and why they are important today:

  • Prosecutor/District Attorney for Fond Du Lac County for the last 10 years
  • successfully prosecuted violent offenders
  • strictly enforces the law to ensure offenders are put behind bars
  • endorsed by an overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers including county sheriffs all across WI

The choice here at this point is simple: either we choose law and order during a time when violent crime is terrorizing our large cities in WI, or we get more of the same. I’ll choose law and order and I encourage every sensible Wisconsinite to do the same and vote for Eric Toney.

Tim Michels:

I voted for Rebecca Kleefisch in the primary for very specific reasons. Her positions were specific and concise:

  • flat tax of 3.5% and ultimately abolish the income tax
  • cut waste at DOT
  • go after CRT in schools
  • universal school choice

But, that wasn’t enough to get her across the finish line and the voters went with Michels. Just like with Toney, I have genuine disagreements with Michels. In general, I have a big problem with Republicans who are too close with the road builders because it almost always means higher taxes and more spending. Speaker Vos and Senator Alberta Darling have both left sour tastes in my mouth due to the unholy alliance they have with the road builders. Both have called for increases in the gas tax or adding tolls rather than standing up to these entrenched special interests and telling them to go pound sand, but I digress. It is certainly a problem that Michels, himself, is a road builder here in Wisconsin. He also maintains that there isn’t waste at DOT which is my main disagreement with Michels. All of that being said, let’s put that issue into perspective:

  • The department of transportation spending accounts for less than 5% of the total state budget
  • A majority of Republicans in the legislature, especially the senate, will not support a gas tax increase

So even if Michels wanted to raise the gas tax, he likely would not be able to impose it. More importantly, regarding the other 95% of issues that matter to conservatives, Michels seems to be right there with what our priorities are and have been at the center of his campaign.

  1. Crime: Law and order is a national issue at the moment and likely THE most important issue across the country, other than inflation. There is no doubt that he will be infinitely better when it comes to supporting law enforcement and holding soft-on-crime DAs accountable. Plus, given that he has a huge office in the city of Milwaukee, it would be in his best interest to ensure that his own employees have a safe place to work.
  2. Election Integrity: Let’s be clear – everyone can complain all the way about how Michels has been all over the place on this issue, but this issue ultimately rests in the hands of the legislature, and with the large majorities we have in both chambers, we will pass strong election reforms and Michels would be completely detached from reality to not sign that legislation. Period.
  3. Education: This is another issue where Michels passion can and should be stronger, but regardless, Universal school choice is the responsibility of the legislature and with our majorities in both chambers, I would be shocked if they were unable to get it done. If they did it in AZ with slim majorities, we can do it with 64 seats in the assembly and a veto-proof majority in the Senate. If passed, Michels will sign it.
  4. Taxes: As this is, and always will be, my #1 issue, I talked with Michels regarding taxes and I am confident that his mindset is in the right place. He assured me that taxes will be lowered in WI and voiced support for the 3.5% flat tax. It doesn’t get much better than that.
  5. Businessman: Lastly, I’m not saying that a businessman is ALWAYS the best choice for elected office, but in Tim’s case, it will be a stark contrast of competence comparing his executive and leadership abilities to the incompetence and weakness of the lifelong government hack that is Tony Evers. I think one of Tim’s biggest strengths if elected governor will be his hands-on style of governing and knowing what’s going on in every corner of his administration. That is exactly what we need in our next governor.

In short, even though I have some issues with him, the positives of Michels clearly outweigh the negatives. If Michels isn’t elected, none of these issues will be addressed.

Most importantly, I can certainly empathize with the reservations that some may have about Michels and Toney and I appreciate those who don’t vote a straight party ticket (out of principle) if they feel one or more candidates don’t meet expectations, but I think the cases for Tim Michels and Eric Toney are very solid and I believe both will execute the duties of their elected offices competently and in good faith. I believe their conservative credentials will not be in question once given the chance.

Vote Tim Michels, Eric Toney, AND Ron Johnson on Tuesday, November 8th!

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