Wisconsin Democrat defects, leaving state senate control in doubt

posted at 8:41 am on July 25, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

After the Democratic Party’s failure to recall Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker, their consolation prize was control of the state senate, by one vote. Senate control would only have lasted until November, when yet another election (this time a regularly scheduled one) would have thrown 16 seats into question again, but it was a meager something for the millions liberals spent, at least.

As of last night, meager something may be nothing. Moderate Democratic Senator Tim Cullen declared Tuesday he will no longer caucus with Democrats, possibly taking the Senate back to dead even again, even as Democrats are moving into new offices. He says he won’t become a Republican, but may be an independent. Why’d he do it?

Cullen said he made his decision, announced to the rest of the caucus by email, after Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, slighted him with committee assignments. Every senator in the caucus was given at least two committee leadership positions. Cullen has none.

Miller said in a statement Tuesday that Cullen turned down an “important” committee overseeing small business and tourism.

Freaking out and vastly overreaching to punish one’s political adversaries, thereby alienating moderate and independent former allies and delivering victory to Republicans? That doesn’t sound like the Wisconsin Democrats I know.

This isn’t the end of the story. A Republican member of the senate will also complicate matters when he moves into the Walker administration:

The effect of Mr. Cullen’s decision is, like seemingly everything else about Wisconsin politics lately, complicated. So long as Mr. Cullen remains a Democrat – even if he does not caucus with Democrats – it appears that the Democrats will formally hold onto control of the Senate. There’s another factor, too, that appears to assure Democratic control: another senator, Rich Zipperer, a Republican, is expected to resign from the Senate in August to work in the administration of Gov. Scott Walker, meaning that Democrats would widen their margin to 17-15. (A special election will be called to fill his seat.)

Was it worth $21 million, unions?


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First?

UncleZeb on July 25, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Sorry MKH, speed read through that headline and stopped short when “defects” registered as “defecates”…..

wooops!

ted c on July 25, 2012 at 8:46 AM

I’ve been trying to decide exactly what that has meant since the news broke yesterday afternoon. There is some significant back-story here:

- Cullen, in his first go-around in the Senate in the 1980s, was the Senate Democrat leader. He then left in 1987 to briefly be the secretary of Health and Family Services under Tommy Thompson, then spent the next decade-plus as a vice-president at Blue Cross.

- Cullen and Miller have long not gotten along. In fact, while the Senate ‘Rats were fleebagging, Cullen was trying to work out a deal to come back to Wisconsin. Later, Cullen and “Republican” Senator Dale Schultz toured the state touting “bipartisanship”.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Was it worth $21 million, unions?

My stomach turns everytime I see the Wisconsin-turned-into-a-fist logo, I think of this:

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” ~Indira Gandhi

Fallon on July 25, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Sorry MKH, speed read through that headline and stopped short when “defects” registered as “defecates”…..

wooops!

ted c on July 25, 2012 at 8:46 AM

That would be Chris “Sticky Fingers” Larson.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Was it worth $21 million, unions?

Well, hey, we spent $10 million on SEN Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and really cleaned up on her reelection campaig…….er, wait..!?

/Union POS

ted c on July 25, 2012 at 8:48 AM

…well it looks like the Democrats are putting the cherry on top of the treat in Wisconsin

KOOLAID2 on July 25, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Was it worth $21 million

YES!

, unions?

Oh them, probably not no.

Dash on July 25, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Was it worth $21 million, unions?

Somewhere in my archives, probably from my friends at the MacIver Institute, I saw the union spending between 2011 and 2012 at $35 million.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Losing control of a Senate that wont be in session till the next election is as irrelevant as winning control of such a Senate. Slow newsday?

Valkyriepundit on July 25, 2012 at 8:52 AM

“Was it worth $21 million, unions?”

Perhaps not for the unions, but think of all that economic activity that this money generated for Wisconsin businesses and workers.

Stimulus, on a small scale…

JoeHanson on July 25, 2012 at 8:52 AM

First?

UncleZeb on July 25, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Wrong.
Bishop is ALWAYS first-even if he isn’t commenting in a thread.
Know your place, Sir!

annoyinglittletwerp on July 25, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Dear unions, please remember, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

Oh yeah, maybe someone should remind Obama that he might try reading the Bard’s writings too

Vntnrse on July 25, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Vntnrse on July 25, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Dear unions, Drop Dead.
Love, right-to-work states.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM

This is what the dems have become, a bunch of whiney, little brats who if they don’t get their way, they go and pout. What a trivial bunch of people they have become…I have no respect for them or their culture of death……….

crosshugger on July 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM

meaning that Democrats would widen their margin to 17-15.

yeah they now control a legislative body that is in recess and will be in recess until after the election. yup tens of millions of union dues well spent.

bannor on July 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Tim there are some nice hotels in northern IL. that you can head to. I believe you qualify for frequent visitor discounts.

hillsoftx on July 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Freaking out and vastly overreaching to punish one’s political adversaries, thereby alienating moderate and independent former allies and delivering victory to Republicans? That doesn’t sound like the Wisconsin Democrats I know.

Heh, some tasty early-morning snark there, MKH :)

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on July 25, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Tim there are some nice hotels in northern IL. that you can head to. I believe you qualify for frequent visitor discounts.

hillsoftx on July 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM

The rest of the Rat Caucus will be there come budget time next year.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Those folks are terribly thin skinned in Wisconsin. Is it the cold weather? Can’t Sen. Zipperer wait until the next election, all the way in November, to join Gov. Walker’s administration. I don’t think those folks need another special election.

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Shovel ready boost to the economy. I wonder what job category union thug intimidator falls in to?

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Here is an excerpt from a comment by hokkoda at the linked National Review article:

There has been a lot of “who really won?” and “what did we learn?” discussion going on. Maybe I missed this particular observation, but I think you get the gold star for (indirectly) reminding us that:

The apocalypse never happened.

How many times have we been told that any kind of government spending cuts are abject disaster for “the working class”? There were supposed to be massive layoffs and resignations. The Walker reforms were supposed to ruin the WI economy…

What did people inside WI and outside WI learn? It was all a complete and utter lie. First and foremost, the reforms worked. Budgets were balanced. Jobs were saved. Nobody died. No concentration camps were set up (not by Walker, at any rate, the invasion of the capitol building in Madison by liberals was a case of self-imprisonment.)

The “working class”, rather than being herded into immediate poverty, saw their property taxes go down in many cases. WI added thousands of new jobs. Scott Walker kept his campaign promises (funny, that). And, ultimately, nobody actually ran against his ideas…

Fallon on July 25, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Freaking out and vastly overreaching to punish one’s political adversaries, thereby alienating moderate and independent former allies and delivering victory to Republicans? That doesn’t sound like the Wisconsin Democrats I know.

Now that the snark tag is closed, allow me to introduce the Hot Air readership to Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer and former Sen. Jeff Plale. Ziegelbauer was pushed out of the Assembly Democrat caucus in early 2010, then found himself the first target of a “fake party” candidate as the Democrats (with an assist from the Government “Accountability” Board) put up a unionista as a “Republican” to try to squeeze him out of the Assembly. They didn’t get him, but he’s retiring from the Assembly this time around.

Plale was ousted by Chris “Sticky Fingers” Larson in a primary, 4 years after Donovan “Double Vote” Riley had to withdraw from the 2006 primary when it was discovered he voted in both Illinois and Wisconsin in the 2000 Presidential election.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Moderate Democratic Senator Tim Cullen

Our side really needs to stop using those 2 bolded words together.

SouthernGent on July 25, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Shovel ready boost to the economy. I wonder what job category union thug intimidator falls in to?

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Green job, of course.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:08 AM

haha

- Nelson

Slade73 on July 25, 2012 at 9:09 AM

SouthernGent on July 25, 2012 at 9:07 AM

I know, Crazy loon is more accurate and colorful.

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 9:12 AM

My stomach turns everytime I see the Wisconsin-turned-into-a-fist logo, I think of this:

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” ~Indira Gandhi
Fallon on July 25, 2012 at 8:48 AM

They are not interested in shaking hands.
“They bring a knife, you bring a gun.”
“Power comes from the barrel of a gun.”
Those are their quotes.

tdarrington on July 25, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I see TWERP is in rare form today………;-D

angrymike on July 25, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Slade
How goes it, ?????
All this really means nothing with the election coming in November ………

angrymike on July 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM

But do Wisconsin teachers still love their kids?

jangle12 on July 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

They are not interested in shaking hands.
“They bring a knife, you bring a gun.”
“Power comes from the barrel of a gun.”
Those are their quotes.

tdarrington on July 25, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Truer words have not been spoken. After all, Larson (likely the local advocate for the Fleebag strategy) got a seat on the Joint Finance Committee and the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

But do Wisconsin teachers still love their kids?

jangle12 on July 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

So much that they named then Thomas, Ulysses and Benjamin.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I see TWERP is in rare form today………;-D

angrymike on July 25, 2012 at 9:15 AM

…I pity any troll that comes out of moms basement today!

KOOLAID2 on July 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM

The rest of the Rat Caucus will be there come budget time next year.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

If so (lack of quorum), prior FY budget continues, right? Didn’t we learn that in comments surrounding the Falk pledge to veto any budget that didn’t repeal Act 10?

Barnestormer on July 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM

If so (lack of quorum), prior FY budget continues, right? Didn’t we learn that in comments surrounding the Falk pledge to veto any budget that didn’t repeal Act 10?

Barnestormer on July 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Correct. However, Miller and the rest of the ‘Rats don’t give a <expletive deleted>. Cullen is from the old school of Democrat dominance – he’s still trying to get Republicans to buy into the Democrat definition of “bipartisan”. Miller and the DPW are of the “my way or the tollway” ilk, and have been since 2007.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:27 AM

I see TWERP is in rare form today………;-D

angrymike on July 25, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Not “rare” at all Mike. Just “preserving the order of merit” in a bee hive with a flyswatter—with lots of holes.

Rovin on July 25, 2012 at 9:30 AM

people in Wisconsin like cheese on their heads, that’s just strange.

what up Angry mike!

Slade73 on July 25, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Schadenfreudefest!

Karma can be such a bear! LOL

$21M spent by the unions. Another million in taxpayer funds to repair the damage caused by the union occupiers of the statehouse. And in the end, Walker’s policies prevailed and are working.

You gotta love these good news stories.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:27 AM

In some circles I believe that’s called leading with the chin. You’d think at some point the Dems would get tired of a TKO.

Barnestormer on July 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM

In some circles I believe that’s called leading with the chin. You’d think at some point the Dems would get tired of a TKO.

Barnestormer on July 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM

They haven’t exactly figured it out yet.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Bishop is ALWAYS first-even if he isn’t commenting in a thread.
Know your place, Sir!

annoyinglittletwerp on July 25, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Are you saying that Bishop is the Chuck Norris of HA commenters?

Odysseus on July 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Follow-up on the cost of the recall from WKOW-TV:

$81 million, not including much of what the unions spent. I’ll leave you to answer whether the omission of the union money by the leftist Wisconsin Democracy Campaign was coincidental.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Wrong.
Bishop is ALWAYS first-even if he isn’t commenting in a thread.
Know your place, Sir!

annoyinglittletwerp on July 25, 2012 at 8:53 AM

The HotAir site should have a commenter’s FAQ, and Twerp’s admonition should be the only entry. ;P

Are you saying that Bishop is the Chuck Norris of HA commenters?

Odysseus on July 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Chuck Norris doesn’t post here because he knows Bishop is already on the job.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 25, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Are you saying that Bishop is the Chuck Norris of HA commenters?

Odysseus on July 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Some people wear Chuck Norris pajamas. Chuck Norris wears Bishop pajamas.

Fallon on July 25, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Follow-up on the cost of the recall from WKOW-TV:

$81 million, not including much of what the unions spent. I’ll leave you to answer whether the omission of the union money by the leftist Wisconsin Democracy Campaign was coincidental.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 9:58 AM

And when you say “the recall”, that was just for the Walker race.

Seems to me that when the report says “Walker spent more than twice as much as his challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Democratic supporters” they could have also easily said:

“Walker had more money to spend because of x, y , and z…” but I’m sure they don’t want to explore those topics.

According to the report, the 15 recall races in 2011 and this year cost $137 million.

Whew!

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 25, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Can’t Sen. Zipperer wait until the next election, all the way in November, to join Gov. Walker’s administration. I don’t think those folks need another special election.

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Very good question Cindy. @Steve Eggleston, have you looked at what the numbers might be in a special election? Seems to me that Walker would discourage the move until November unless he thinks that district would elect another Republican

JusDreamin on July 25, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Rovin
I know, twerp was born in rare form

angrymike on July 25, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Perhaps not for the unions, but think of all that economic activity that this money generated for Wisconsin businesses and workers.

Stimulus, on a small scale…

JoeHanson on July 25, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Why do I think that might not be a good slogan for the Dems.
Hey, we sort of helped Wisconsin’s economy but lost the election.
LOL

Deanna on July 25, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Can’t Sen. Zipperer wait until the next election, all the way in November, to join Gov. Walker’s administration. I don’t think those folks need another special election.

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Yeh, no kidding…

OmahaConservative on July 25, 2012 at 10:32 AM

On the bright side, that was $21 million that didn’t go to Obama.

GarandFan on July 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM

$21 million spent against Walker is $21 million that will not get spent against Romney…

Win-win!!

Khun Joe on July 25, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Isn’t the Wisconsin State Senate in adjournment until January 2013? Much ado about nothing? or very little?

stukinIL4now on July 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM

But do Wisconsin teachers still love their kids?

jangle12 on July 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Only when they march lock-step with their democratic overlord’s ideals.
I was just watching a video taken by a student at our local public high school, taken during a student “walk-out” to protest Walker’s budget reform bill. This was all apparently condoned, and probably thought up, by the school district, who followed the students in cars as they marched downtown, encouraging them through the use of bullhorns. Oh, and they told them to stay out of the street, so I guess they care a little bit(don’t want any of their brainwashed little sheep to get hit – less indoctrinated minions to convince their parents to vote against Walker I guess).

What is funny, is that the school district rushed through a contract with the unions before Walker’s bill took effect, so that is why the school was having money problems.

Hmmm, I wonder if they have told the students that other WI schools are now doing better with Walker’s legislation, and that the budget problems the district is having is because of their own doing, and not Walker’s fault. Do you doubt it? So do I.
They have no one to blame but themselves.

The other thing I found funny with the video is that in the description, “Budget” was spelled “Bugdet”. Small spelling problem? Sure. But indicative of our failing public school systems, who find it more beneficial to the students to use them as pawns in their one-sided political games, than teach them proper use of grammar and English.

Sterling Holobyte on July 25, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Zipperer should wait 4 more months before resigning, just to twist the knife.

TheLastBrainLeft on July 25, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Why did he do it?

Stuck his finger in the air to determine which way the wind was blowing? I’m expecting to see more of these fair weather defectives during the next few years. Hopefully they will be retired by the citizens as defectives, unable to figure out what they stand for and just being personal opportunists.

ajacksonian on July 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM

$21 million, chump change. The unions can just up their taxes dues and squeeze more money from members. After all, they get members their salaries and benefits, so it’s really all theirs anyway, right? Unions to members: “You didn’t earn that – others got it for you.”

Wait, am I channeling something else here?

Marcola on July 25, 2012 at 12:04 PM

First?

UncleZeb on July 25, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Wrong.
Bishop is ALWAYS first-even if he isn’t commenting in a thread.
Know your place, Sir!

annoyinglittletwerp on July 25, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Ummmm…ahhhhh…ummmm…Nope. I got nothin.

timberline on July 25, 2012 at 12:10 PM

If he’s friends with Tommy Thompson, and Thompsn wins the Senate seat in Nov, then all could change again.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Ummmm…ahhhhh…ummmm…Nope. I got nothin.

timberline on July 25, 2012 at 12:10 PM

1. Bishop is always first, in/from his bunker.

2. If you don’t accept this, he’ll send his tank after you…from said bunker.

3. The sooner you accept this, the more you are in the club.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Only temporary- he will be back into the fold by next week.

Monona too close to good ol Madison corruptocrats, and a phone call from the union boss.

FlaMurph on July 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM

The Lt. Gov. is a Republican, so if there’s a tie vote for control, does she get to vote?

Since the Republicans are expected to take control after the election, there’s lots they can offer him for control right now, no? :-)

Greg Q on July 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

@Steve Eggleston, have you looked at what the numbers might be in a special election? Seems to me that Walker would discourage the move until November unless he thinks that district would elect another Republican

JusDreamin on July 25, 2012 at 10:17 AM

The district is very Republican, anchored in central Waukesha County. The old map includes part of Washington County (another highly-Republican area), while the new one extends further west into Waukesha County. In fact, under the old map, the ‘Rats didn’t even challenge Zipperer even though it was an open seat.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 3:38 PM

The Lt. Gov. is a Republican, so if there’s a tie vote for control, does she get to vote?

Since the Republicans are expected to take control after the election, there’s lots they can offer him for control right now, no? :-)

Greg Q on July 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

The lt. gov. has no role in the Senate. As for control, Miller could have half his current caucus become Republicans and he would not relinquish control as that is how the DPW rolls.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Can’t Sen. Zipperer wait until the next election, all the way in November, to join Gov. Walker’s administration. I don’t think those folks need another special election.

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

It would be a special election regardless – the 33rd District is not up until 2014.

Steve Eggleston on July 25, 2012 at 3:42 PM

OT – Gov Scott Walker is speaking today (THursday) at the Harvard Kennedy school. His key note speach is on Educational Reform. Streaming live at 11:00.

The heads at JS Online (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) are exploding.

Daisy_WI on July 26, 2012 at 9:03 AM

IT’s a shame Cullen didn’t make his announcement BEFORE money was spent needlessly to play musical offices.

Daisy_WI on July 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM