First off, Jeff is the only candidate who has won a state level election against a multi-term incumbent Republican in rural Wisconsin. Jeff’s first race was in 2004 when he defeated a handpicked DPW candidate in the 93rd Assembly district primary and went on to lose in the general election. He came back in 2006 and, with no help from the ADCC, went on to defeat 14 year GOP incumbent Robin Kreibich. The significance of this cannot be overstated. Jeff is the only DPW Chair candidate who’s been successful turning rural Wisconsin from red to blue.
Secondly, numbers don’t lie. In the 2014 election cycle Jeff did better than our candidates in 10 other ADCC targeted races based on his performance matched against the expected Democratic performance. And he did this, again, with no help from the ADCC. I worked on Jeff’s campaign and we developed his message and campaign lit/TV ads using local talent and by raising his own money, over $60,000.00. If other Dem Party challengers, and even a pair of incumbents, had matched Jeff’s performance we would have kept two Assembly seats that were lost, won four more, and won back a Senate seat. Think about that for a minute. Go ahead, think about that for another minute or two.
Next up, everybody says they stand with Labor. It’s easy. All one has to do is say it out loud and write it up for one’s campaign website. Jeff has literally and repeatedly stood with Labor. Actions really do speak louder than words.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Jeff is willing to admit to, and learn from, his mistakes. He’ll be the first to tell you that the biggest mistake of his political career was buying into the ADCC program in 2010. He lost a heartbreaking election that year by only 74 votes, after which the 93rd Assembly district was redrawn to favor the GOP. Some of the candidates and their supporters talk like they have all the answers. Sure they do. Right.
During the two plus years I’ve known Jeff I’ve found him to be an open, honest and accessible guy who genuinely wants to hear what others think, who’s willing to incorporate other people’s ideas into his thinking and strategy, and who will give credit where credit is due. He’s very popular in the Eau Claire area with a wide range of Democrats and progressives, and people on his own home turf are mobilizing to elect him as the next DPW Chair.
I’ll be going to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention in June, my first ever as a delegate, and I’ll be voting for Jeff Smith. I highly recommend that you contact your county party chair and find out how you can become a delegate too. You have until May 15th to do so. Get at it. Times a wastin’.