Monday, November 17, 2008

In which my county politic wonk comes out to play

So there's news today that former MMSD board member Nancy Mistele is running for Dane County Executive against incumbent Kathleen Falk. I have to say I'm not surprised that someone's making a move against Falk this year, who seemed to be bulletproof from critics in the past.

Local political watchers probably realize that if there's any year Falk will have stiff competition, it's this year and all of the criticism will be centered on public safety. There was first the Brittany Zimmerman fiasco and more recently after the 911 center failed to send police to investigate a noise complaint that ended in murder.

Not to mention the fact that Falk, who has been loved in the past by The Isthmus (the local alt-weekly), was named "Local Public Enemy #1" in its Annual Manual.

As someone who used to follow Dane County politics, I'm not surprised that the local politicians are smelling blood in the water now. I think they've been waiting for a weak moment like this to strike (and we all know that politics is an ugly business). She's been a formidable opponent for conservatives since 1997 -- a mix of charisma, political savvy and shrewdness in dealing with people. Not to mention, she's also had a lot of liberals backing her.

But I never really thought I'd see someone go after her. And not someone like Nancy Mistele. In my own personal county political head, I figured it'd be someone familiar with Dane County taking Falk on -- maybe Dennis O'Loughlin or Mike Blaska would come roaring back for another round against Falk, or even Eileen Bruskewitz to make it a chick fight.

I know nothing about Mistele, but I'm hoping that she'll at least give Falk an interesting run for her money and not the one-sided beatdown that occurred against Dave Wiganowsky. For a long time now, it seemed like Falk was kind of going through the motions, always keeping an eye on maybe advancing to higher office (Governor, Attorney General). However, she's never made it to a higher office and I think that her last run for Attorney General weakened some of her support from her liberal base because she took on the former AG Peg Lautenschlager.

I'm not going to say who I support, because that's not my kind of thing (JONAS BROTHERS!), but I will say that I hope for a good election that doesn't devolve into various lobbying groups sniping at each other. However, I'm also a realist. This is politics. So hoping for a good election is like hoping for a pony named Snowflake.

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