He’s got most experience, least partisan approach.
The attorney general’s race is heating up after the surprise announcement that the incumbent is stepping down.
On the Democratic side, you’ve got a legislator, Jon Richards, and the uber-partisan Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne, who threw his hat into the ring this week.
I prefer a prosecutor and law-and-order type in the attorney general’s office. I understand the office handles a lot of matters in addition to traditional law enforcement, but the position is still regarded as the state’s “top cop,” and voters tend to see it that way. I prefer someone who is not overtly partisan in that slot.
I have always seen Schimel as someone who is more a prosecutor at heart than a politician. He’s a solid DA and a good person who has always seemed more law enforcement than partisan. His record in Waukesha is one of quiet competence. He’s hardly a showboater.
There are times that I’ve wished he’d use his bully pulpit a little more loudly, but he’s done his job well and without much controversy.
I think he’d be a good AG, and I support him in this race for those reasons. I simply believe the other two candidates are too partisan. One almost suspects they’re tossing their hats into the ring to provide some yin to Gov. Scott Walker’s yang, a rudder on his boat.
And I just don’t think that’s the role of the AG. I think, with either one of them, but especially with Ozanne, you’d see a lot of conflict with the governor’s office and Legislature and a lot of politics injected into the office.
And I don’t think that would be a good thing.
The Democratic Party’s spokesman immediately tried to link Schimel to “tea party extremism.” This is completely laughable. This is a guy who’s spent his career serving the public as a frontline prosecutor, that’s all.
With Schimel in charge, I think you’d see renewed focus on the bread-and-butter issues of concern to law enforcement, such as working toward stemming the increase in heroin usage in Wisconsin and helping victims.
And, frankly, I think Schimel would be far more engaged than the incumbent.
I find J.B. Van Hollen’s sudden retirement very curious. I remember how hard he fought for the job in the first place and how ugly it was. He’s still a pretty young guy, and if he wants to be governor someday (which would probably entail a Walker ascension to the presidency or something else), he’d have a lot better shot at it as AG than something else.
What are we missing?
I don’t get it, unless it’s some personal decision relating to wanting to make more money in private practice or just tiring of the work. Van Hollen has never had a reputation as the hardest worker in the world, nor is he known as the guy who’s always in the office. Even weirder, he was still raising money at a pretty fast clip right up until his surprise announcement.
Everyone knows my biases when it comes to Van Hollen. But it’s safe to say that many conservatives were not standing in awe of his leadership. In the end, maybe he just checked out. Did he ever check in?
Schimel would make a good AG. He’s paid his dues, and he’s got the respect of local law enforcement. He’s a person with empathy for others, too. He’s been recognized by victims’ advocates. He does extensive volunteer work. He’s sort of a prosecutor’s prosecutor, if you know what I mean. Plus, he rides a Harley and is in a band. Totally irrelevant but pretty cool.
Richards strikes me as a decent enough guy, and I prefer him to the showboat Ozanne, but as a legislator, he’d likely approach the job more politically, and he really has no prosecutorial experience. He handled a couple of cases for a local DA’s office as an unpaid volunteer to, his own campaign spokesman admitted, learn how things worked there. Schimel wouldn’t have to learn on the job. This campaign will probably rip a page almost out of the playbook against Kathleen Falk. I can hear the “he’s barely prosecuted a single criminal case” ads right now. Does volunteering for a couple of bail hearings count?
Ozanne would be awful. As Dane County DA, he has run the office as a partisan extension of the Democratic Party. After all, he’s the guy who sued to halt Act 10 based on a phantom open meeting violation — and lost at the state Supreme Court. Republicans were quick to note he played a role in the prison system’s early release program when he worked for the Department of Corrections.
Let’s hope the infighting this time is on the Democratic side only.