Capitol Notes

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President Trump worked in another visit to Wisconsin over the weekend. He drew a crowd of about 10,000 people to a rally Saturday night in Waukesha. It was the fifth time since August in which Trump has visited the state. The Waukesha rally was held a week after thousands turned out for a rally in Janesville, and Trump is scheduled to hold another rally near La Crosse on Tuesday. 

Chuck Quirmbach

The number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Wisconsin continues to break records. Cases have been averaging 3,000 per day, then on Friday, topped 4,000. In the midst of all this, Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order, requiring bars, restaurants and retail stores to operate at 25% capacity. Some had been running at 50%. A judge set a hearing for Monday in Sawyer County after the Wisconsin Tavern League sued to overturn the order. 

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President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are resuming in-person campaign stops across the country after a bout with COVID-19 sidelined the president.  Trump is set to deliver a speech and attend a fundraiser in Janesville on Saturday, according to an invitation to supporters, while Pence is scheduled to visit a manufacturing facility in Waukesha on Tuesday. The presidential election is only three weeks away.

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President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis late last week thwarted the Republican's plans to campaign over the weekend. Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who tested negative, indicated he would press ahead with in-person events.

In this week’s Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com how he thinks the developments might affect the campaigns in Wisconsin.

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President Trump has announced his Supreme Court pick to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away earlier this month. Trump has chosen conservative federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett and confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin Oct. 12.

PROMESAARTSTUDIO / FOTOLIA

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has essentially fired Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman. It happened amid a huge backlog of unprocessed unemployment claims that had piled up since the state shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Evers called for Frostman’s departure on Friday and he resigned shortly thereafter.

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At least two major party candidates are heading to Wisconsin again this week. Republican President Donald Trump and his running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, will make stops here  — after both visited within the last two weeks. Pence will be in Janesville Monday, while Trump will hold a rally Friday night in Mosinee. 

Political observers have highlighted Wisconsin’s importance in this year’s presidential race. Even so, it’s unusual to get two visits from both the president and vice president in such a short period of time.

Maayan Silver

Last week saw historic visits to Wisconsin from President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Both candidates went to Kenosha in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Trump surveyed the damage that happened following looting and burning of businesses, and then held a roundtable with business leaders and law enforcement officials. Then, Biden visited Kenosha two days later and met with the family of Jacob Blake. He also called for the officer who shot Blake to be charged.

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President Trump is expected to visit Kenosha Tuesday, nine days after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.  Trump's appearance happens among pleas from Gov. Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian not to come to the city.

PROMESAARTSTUDIO / FOTOLIA

The mostly virtual Democratic National Convention is behind us now. Even though it wasn’t actually held in Milwaukee because of the coronavirus, the convention did have a bit of a Wisconsin flavor to it each night. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin all spoke. Now, we turn to the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday in North Carolina and runs through Thursday. Republicans have also planned a mostly virtual event, and it will have a Wisconsin presence, too — as former Gov.

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Monday marks the start of the long-awaited Democratic National Convention. The four-day event when it was announced a year ago was originally going to take place in Milwaukee, dropping $200 million into the regional economy and attracting 50,000 visitors. But now, it’s mostly virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Biden will accept his party’s nomination from his home state, Delaware. Most other speeches will occur in other places, too, although a few will be broadcast from Milwaukee.

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Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to cast ballots for the August partisan primaries. In this special edition of Capitol Notes, we look at some of the more interesting races. One that’s received a lot of attention in the Milwaukee area is a two-way Republican primary for retiring GOP Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s seat. The district covers areas north and west of Milwaukee. Longtime state Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced a year ago that he was running for the seat, but he faces a challenge from Republican business owner Cliff DeTemple.

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Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask requirement took effect over the weekend as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Wisconsin — and Republicans who control the Legislature are threatening to block it. Evers declared a public health emergency in order to issue the mandate, which applies to anyone over 4 for all indoor spaces except a person’s home. It also applies to bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas.

Maayan Silver

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has directed state agencies to slash $250 million from their budgets in the coming months to make up for revenue losses incurred by the coronavirus pandemic.  The cuts would serve as a blueprint for when Evers and the Legislature craft a new state budget early next year. The cuts are in addition to the $70 million the governor ordered a few months ago, which took effect July 1. 

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Vice President Mike Pence was in the battleground state of Wisconsin last week, campaigning for another four years of him and President Donald Trump. Pence made a couple of stops, including one in Ripon, the birthplace of the Republican Party. Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016 and is trailing former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the polls.

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