Early on Tuesday, April 14th, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Monroe County received a multi-question inquiry about the April 7th election from a New York Times reporter. Here is his response:
It is likely too early to say for sure what led to the unfortunate outcome.
But Supreme Court races are non-partisan although Conservatives are generally backed by Republicans and Liberals are backed by Democrats. Generally speaking voters do not really know who their Supreme Court justices are. I would suspect that only one in 10,000 voters ever bothered to tune into the debates. Supreme Court candidates generally are not politicians. They do not know how to run campaigns. This may be the only major election Justice Kelly and Judge Karofsky ever participate in.
So when the COVID-19 health crisis hit about month before the election, the candidates are unable to reach out directly to voters so TV ads likely become a major factor. The article below describes significant outside influences in terms of dark money from sources such as George Soros and Eric Holder which likely played a big role in the weeks leading up to the election. This enabled Judge Karofsky to have a great majority of the TV ads.
Plus the Democrat Presidential primary drew many early voters as early voting started before Joe Biden became the de facto Democrat nominee. Early on Bernie supporters worked hard to GOTV (get out the vote).
Then there is how our on again and off again election came to be and where the blame should be placed for this confusion. A local radio personality, Dan O'Donnell, articulately laid out the case that Gov Tony Evers is to blame for the Election Day debacle. Gov Evers consistently said that we need to continue on with our election. World Wars and previous epidemics like the Spanish Flu never delayed a previous election. Dan’s reporting is in the following link.
Many polling locations were consolidated in places like Milwaukee and Green Bay. #MSM predominately placed the blame on Republicans for defending the rule of law and pushing to hold the spring election on April 7 as required by state law. Democratic mayors ordered the consolidation because they did not have enough trained poll workers. But Gov. Evers ordered the National Guard to be mobilized and trained to be poll workers. However, Democrat mayors decided they did not want to use NG poll workers and limited voting options. #MSM continued to blame heartless and insensitive Republicans for election confusion. All the coverage focused on a very few isolated incidents in bigger cities and no one has reported that over 95% of in person voting occurred without incident throughout the state. Biased media attacks had continuous coverage in the days leading up to the election.
Many Republican voters are older. For weeks, they have been instructed to Stay at Home and observe social distancing guidelines. While Republicans encouraged early and absentee voting; many elderly either did not have the wherewithal to request absentee ballots or the inclination to vote in person on April 7. They were confused, afraid and decided to stay home.
So I will conclude by saying that this was a perfect storm for Judge Karofsky and anti-Republican sentiment. Republicans need to improve our messaging capabilities that oftentimes fall on the deaf ears of our friends in the media. The example that I will use to illustrate this is how the media portrayed Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos in an Election Day interview. Vos was helping as a poll worker wearing PPE prescribed by the city clerk for all election workers. He was encouraging voters to come out to vote and that polling locations were safe. But this message was blown all out of proportion and the attacks continue.
So thank you for asking and I pray that your reporting will be fair and balanced.