Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Gov. race slows as a result of attacks

Along with the closing of the stock market, the delay of movie premieres and the cancellation of classes, political campaigns nationwide have taken a backseat since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The lack of interest in election campaigns and fundraising put Wisconsin gubernatorial hopefuls and their staffs in a predicament. While campaigns for the 2002 governors race began slightly prior to the attacks on New York and Washington, all plans for campaigning since then have been called to halt.

Thoughts of rescheduling campaign events, fundraising and appearances by candidates have only recently begun to resurface.

Attorney General Jim Doyle’s campaign for governor itself has been redirected.

“We now have a greater emphasis on law and order issues, safety and security here in Wisconsin,” said Thad Nation, Doyle’s deputy campaign manager. “It will be the primary issue that is on most people’s minds.”

When and if the campaign will ever return to its original form is uncertain, Nation said. However, Doyle hopes to build momentum cautiously.

“We are trying to take this slowly, out of respect,” Nation said. “It is still early for 2002 elections ? we’ll take it slow through the remainder of the year.”

Gov. Scott McCallum responded to the terrorist attacks by suspending all telemarketing and fundraising events. In addition, McCallum sent letters asking people to display their flags and not give money to the campaign. Instead, McCallum said, he would rather see all of his potential campaign donations redirected to charity or relief efforts.

“Our campaign staff is currently watching the news on a daily basis to remain sensitive to current events,” said Brian Christianson, McCallum’s campaign advisor. “It’s hard to campaign now. The focus is on the news, not politics.”

Despite challenges during this campaign year, McCallum’s staff hopes to resume normal activity as soon as possible. “We should be back to two-thirds speed in October,” Christianson said.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, D-Milwaukee, who entered the race in September, had limited time to begin her campaign, and, after the attacks, put campaigning completely aside, diverting her attention instead to her current position as County executive.

As the Dane County executive, Falk’s main responsibility is emergency management and ensuring safety around Madison and the city’s public areas.

“She had to ensure the airport was safe, that there is a safe environment in Dane County,” said Tom Russell, Falk’s campaign manager. “That was first and foremost.”

Falk’s campaign remains optimistic in the fact that, since the election does not take place for another year, there will be time to resume the campaign.

“We don’t know exactly how anything is going to change,” Russell said. “People are just starting to get back to normalcy in their lives.”

UW-Madison political science professor David Canon said that already major changes in the political arena and structure of campaigns have occurred.

Canon said it is too early to predict the effects Bush’s “new war” will have on current campaigns, but said there are both advantages and disadvantages to the situation.

“If anything, the [terrorist attacks] have taken away attention from all electoral campaigns,” Canon said. “[But they have] hurt all candidates in terms of inability to look at campaigns. People are writing checks to New York instead.”

Many experts are forecasting McCallum, an incumbent, to gain an advantage in the situation. However, Canon has doubts.

“It is a common wisdom that McCallum isn’t a typical incumbent,” Canon said. “He is a different type of incumbent, judging by his length of service.”

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