10/25/2006

If You Feed Kitty, Will She Purr For You?



As the 2006 election approaches, we will continue to investigate the politics of Wisconsin state assembly representative for the 30th District -- Kitty Rhoades. The cliche often used in politics is "follow the money." Does it apply for Kitty?

Below is a breakdown of contribution totals and percentages to Kitty from various interests for elections years 2000, 2002 and 2004. For comparison purposes, we'll compare how Kitty rates from business endorsements v. labor endorsements. Contributions for the 2006 are still coming in and are not being considered in this comparison.



Let's see how Kitty gets rated by various Business groups:

2005-2006 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the The Wisconsin Prosperity Project 100 percent in 2005-2006.

2005-2006 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin National Federation of Independent Business 100 percent in 2005-2006.

2003-2004 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce 94 percent in 2003-2004.

2003-2004 On the votes that the The Wisconsin Prosperity Project considered to be the most important in 2003-2004, Representative Rhoades voted their preferred position 94 percent of the time.

2003-2004 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin National Federation of Independent Business 75 percent in 2003-2004.

2003-2004 On the votes that the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce considered to be the most important in 2003-2004, Representative Rhoades voted their preferred position 100 percent of the time.

2001-2002 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce 100 percent in 2001-2002.

2001-2002 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin National Federation of Independent Business 100 percent in 2001-2002.

1999-2000 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce 89 percent in 1999-2000.

1999-2000 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin National Federation of Independent Business 88 percent in 1999-2000.

Now let's see how Kitty rates with labor groups:

2005-2006 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO 20 percent in 2005-2006.

2003-2004 Representative Rhoades supported the interests of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO 10 percent in 2003-2004.

2001-2002 On the votes that the Wisconsin AFL-CIO considered to be the most important in 2001-2002, Representative Rhoades voted their preferred position 31 percent of the time.

1999-2000 On the votes that the Wisconsin AFL-CIO considered to be the most important in 1999-2000, Representative Rhoades voted their preferred position 43 percent of the time.

You can draw your own conclusions from these numbers. I think it is interesting to note the inverse ratings between the AFL-CIO support and the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Likewise, it's also interesting to note that Kitty's endorsements correspond to the contribution levels she receives from these various donor groups.

It looks like Kitty will purr for cash...

Do your own research @ Project Vote Smart.

9 comments:

Kalvyn Clean said...

Your comments for how Kitty is rated by "various consumer groups" makes her look like an even better candidate.

The local democrats must not be complaining too much about Kitty. Her challenger is a 22 year-old kid with no experiance. If they thought they had a real chance of removing her from office, they would put up a serious challenger.

666 said...

KC:

The "Business and Consumer" group heading comes from the Project Vote Smart site. You'll notice that the list of endorsements doesn't include any consumer groups. I am not sure if there are any consumer groups that actually provide ratings or endorsements at the assembly level.

Concerning the local Democrats and their choice of candidates running against Kitty, in this and most case at this level, the local party really has no say in who runs on the party ticket. Dan Gorman ran unopposed in the primary. He decided by himself to run for the seat. A candidate with more experience and/or name recognition could have chosen to run in the primary. At the primary level, the local party actually doesn't officially endorse or provide financial or in-kind help to the primary candidates.

The evidence of this can be clearly seen in the Democratic and Republican primaries for the 29th district that were won by Republican John Murtha and Democrat Kerry Kittel. Speaking from the Deomcrat perspective, neither Kittel or his primary opponent Craig Mohn attended monthly party meetings and may not have even been a dues paying member of the Democratic party. However, before they can run as a Democrat, they have to spend their $50 to join the party.

The long Democratic party does need to do a better job of identifying and courting potential candidates for the state assembly and senate offices. Believe me, the local Democratic parties are all volunteer organizations run by people with a varying range of political experience and understanding. In St. Croix county it's a very grass roots operation with many people new and inexperienced with party politics. The local Republican party is more organizaed, experienced and better funded. As the local Democrats gain practical experience and understanding of how campaigns work and identifying potential candidates, I believe you will see more serious challengers put up against incumbants like Kitty and Shelia Harsdorf.

Politics is a lot like professional sports. There are lots of armchair quarterbacks who know how to win the game, but have never thrown a pass or been knocked on their ass by a 300 pound linebacker.

scratch my back said...

I see in the cartoon here that one fat cat hand is full and the other is empty. So if Kitty goes back to Madison, both fat cat hands should get filled with more favors.

CANRAC said...

I think the 22 year old kid might be a pleasant change. I think Kitty has had four terms, its time to give somebody else a chance. You have to remember Kitty started without a great deal of experience.

time for a change said...

Her "experience" and chummyness with the Republican power brokers in the legislature is the problem, not the solution.

If Kitty! wasn't taking this 22 year old seriously, I don't you'd see her supporters plastering the town with Kitty!,Kitty!,Kitty! signs all over.

Anonymous said...

If Kitty's 22-year old opponent was taking it seriously, don't you think you'd at least see one of his signs around Hudson?

I Wanted One said...

I asked the Democrats for a Gorman yard sign but didn't get one. Maybe he has too few to go around. Regardless, he will get my vote.

Go Gorman said...

Maybe the fatcats haven't gotten his address yet. I got one though. If you went to see Big Ed Schultz you could have walked out with dozens. Now I wish I would have taken more than one.

I wanted one said...

Thank you, thank you, Oh Wonderful Wizard of Blog. My Gorman sign was in my yard when I got home from work. Democratic efficiency at its best!