I’ve always believed you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and that’s especially true in the case of Republican Milwaukee County Executive candidate Jeff Stone.
Stone’s ties to Gov. Scott Walker are long and deep, with Stone promising to “lead” Milwaukee County (I use the word lead very loosely) in the same manner Gov. Walker did during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive, but when public opinion turned strongly against Gov. Walker’s proposal to cripple the ability of public employee unions to collectively bargain and organize, Stone began a balancing act, on hand hand saying he wouldn’t have proposed the measures Gov. Walker proposed and calling it negative campaigning when a recent TV ad by the campaign of Chris Abele sought to remind voters that Stone is a Walker clone. However, at the same time Stone was publicly distancing himself from Gov. Walker, he still voted in favor of the proposals and against every single amendment proposed by Democrats in the State Assembly.
Apparently Jeff Stone has decided that this week he wants Gov. Walker’s support, as the two will be appearing together at a fundraiser in support of Stone’s campaign:
THURSDAY 3/24 MILWAUKEE 4:30PM Event for County Executive candidate Jeff Stone with special guest: Governor Scott Walker, University Club, 924 E Wells St.
No doubt Gov. Walker and Stone The Clone will be met by a few folks who disagree with their attacks on public employees.
As I noted above, Jeff Stone’s ties to Scott Walker run deep, and those ties include a mutual helper, in the form of Tim Russell, the former County Housing Director under Walker. You’ll remember Russell’s county computer was seized (without a peep from conservatives, no less) as part of a still ongoing investigation by the District Attorney’s office into allegations Russell and others in Walker’s County Executive office were engaging in illegal campaign activity on behalf of Walker’s gubernatorial campaign while on county time.
As reported by Cory Liebmann over at Eye on Wisconsin, Russell, who’s “between jobs” while the DA’s investigation of him continues, has been keeping busy doing opposition research for Jeff Stone’s campaign:
It appears that Russell is now trying to help Jeff Stone’s campaign for Milwaukee County executive. What kind of help is he offering? Well, recently he went to the county court house and pulled the divorce file of Stone’s opponent, Chris Abele. The Stone campaign described this Walker operative as merely a campaign “volunteer”. I don’t know about you but when I hear the word “volunteer” i think of phone banking and maybe lit dropping. The one thing that I don’t think about is a campaign “volunteer” pouring over the divorce records of the opponent. I wonder if there are more Stone “volunteers” doing things like this?
Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, issued a statement on Stone’s ties to Tim Russell:
“Jeff Stone has himself engaged in shady ethical practices over the years, most prominently his efforts to give away control over Mitchell Field to a cabal of businessmen, not to mention a scofflaw attitude to the Greenfield printing shop in his father-in-law’s basement. But now, even as Stone tries to muddy the waters about his strong ties to Scott Walker, with whom he has not opposed a single time as governor, Stone is embracing Walker’s all-time dirty trickster. Tim Russell is Walker’s closest adviser and integrally tied to the various scandals that have put an ethical cloud over Walker’s career. Now, that same ethical cloud hangs over Stone. Milwaukee County cannot endure in Jeff Stone any more of these Walker ways.”
So while Jeff Stone may say he won’t necessarily be a clone of Scott Walker if he’s elected Milwaukee County Executive, just remember that Stone’s ties to Scott Walker are long and deep, and there should be no doubt that Jeff Stone would be nothing more than another term of Scott Walker if elected Milwaukee County Executive.