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Jeff Stone (R-Greenfield) represented the 82nd District from 1999 till October 14th, when he was appointed to a high-level position with Wisconsin's Public Service Commission by Governor Walker. Stone unsuccessfully ran in the primary for Milwaukee County Executive in 2011, and was one of the most prominent voices for Voter ID bills in the State Assembly. Bon Voyage.

The 82nd District is very suburban, very white collar, with a very business-Republican, white-collar culture. Franklin is especially red, and the largest city in the district. Greendale is nearly as Republican, and a more historical city: however, our nominee serves as its Village President. It also contains part of the city of Greenfield, which is of a similar nature.

The raw numbers for this district are initially unpromising. The District has a PVI of R+9, with Romney defeating the President 56%-43%.

Dark Red: 15+ pts. Romney
Red: 10-15 pts Romney
Light Red: 5-10 pts Romney
Baise: 0-5 points Obama or Romney
Light Blue: 5-10 pts Obama
Blue: 10-15 pts Obama
Dark Blue: 15+ pts Obama

However, despair not: we had unusually good recruiting for the district (an elected official who has experienced getting elected in the very conservative suburbs), and the GOP went on to nominate a lackluster candidate who does not appear to have an active campaign. I would not bet on a victory, but I will go out on a limb and say we have a better chance of winning here than we did in the more swingy 21st. Even if we lose narrowly, it could send a signal that we can take back the Legislature in 2014.

The Republican Candidate
Ken Skowronski , aged 51, is an alderman from Franklin, WI, and a former member of the local Economic Development commission. He won a four-way primary a couple weeks ago with about 50% of the vote (according to unofficial counts from the Wisconsin Election Watch). He does not appear to have the active campaign action that Jessie Rodriguez had in the 21st District, but he has raised over 35K according to fundraising reports. Skowronski is certainly not a top candidate: however, he may not need to be.

The Democratic Candidate
John Hermes has been the Village President of Greendale since 1998, and is also a former Air Traffic Controller and is a state and federal lobbyist for the NATCA (national air traffic controllers association). Hermes is an aggressive leader on environmental and urban sustainability, as well as for transportation issues during his tenure. However, what makes him a compelling candidate is how successful he's done this with the conservative and business communities in the south Milwaukee suburbs. Given Greendale's conservative vote total, we already know that Hermes can win in a conservative environment. For reference, see this vote map of Greendale:

Greendale had a PVI of R+8 in 2012, with Romney defeating Obama 55%-44%.

Why we could win this one
Hermes has been winning crossover support from major leaders in suburban Milwaukee, most notably from Stephen Scaffidi - the business-friendly, but moderate Republican Mayor of Oak Creek as well as Dan Devine, the Mayor of West Allis and the Village President of Brown Deer, and a good number of business leaders. Hermes has also been campaigning heavily, much more so than Skowronski has. The party does appear to be lending Hermes support, but his tone has been strikingly non-partisan and focused on local issues. In short, Hermes is doing everything right to win as a Democrat.

Don't get me wrong: Skowronski does have the upper hand given the demographics, but if he continues to treat this race as a Safe-GOP contest, it will be to Hermes's benefit.

That said, Hermes' campaign could use more money. I encourage you to chip in whatever you can to his campaign via actblue:

Even if we don't win here, a close election in this conservative neighborhood can send the message that the Democrats have a shot in Wisconsin in 2014. Let's be sure to win this district on December 17.

Originally posted to BlueSasha on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 11:20 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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