ballot box

Ballots in primary elections can be confusing, because candidates are grouped first by party rather than by the offices they seek. 

There’s no limit to the number of candidates who can seek a party’s nomination in a race — each candidate who provides a legitimate number of nominating petitions earns a place on the ballot. For example, the Aug. 14 ballot features 10 Democratic gubernatorial candidates, although two of them have withdrawn.

Yet, other races feature just one candidate who’s running unopposed.

Lending yet more confusion to the process is the rule that voters can choose only one candidate from one party in each race.

With ballots that hold so many names, some of them unfamiliar, it’s daunting to choose a candidate without doing prior research to learn about the candidates’ experience, positions on individual policies and overall vision. 

Candidates’ websites and campaign materials can offer helpful information, although it’s important to remember that they’re created by the candidate’s campaign for promotional purposes. They emphasize information that appeals to their target demographics. Their statements and claims are not vetted for accuracy.

But the endorsements that candidates list on their sites are telling. If a candidate, for instance, lists an endorsement from the NRA, then advocates for gun control might easily strike them off their list.

Similarly, endorsements from publications and groups that align with a voter’s position on the issues are useful. 

A lot can be learned about incumbents and former officeholders by the ratings and “scorecards” kept by various interest groups that track the laws they’ve supported and rejected during their time in office. Vote Smart collects scores from such groups across the political spectrum and posts them at votesmart.org.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is the go-to source of information about voting. It presents an online nonpartisan voter guide at VOTE411.org that provides information about candidates, voter registration tools, polling place locations. 

The guide provides other helpful Election Day information and allows voters to see who’s on the ballots in their districts. 

The league sent questionnaires to 385 candidates this year, asking their positions on a host of issues. The candidates’ responses are posted verbatim at VOTE411.org. Candidates who did not respond are marked “No candidate response” in the guide.

After deciding on candidates, the league suggests voters make a list of them and take it into the voting booth. 

Some interest groups have issued only scattered endorsements for the Aug. 14 primary races. Many have issued none. 

We’re listing our own endorsements below, along with a partial list of endorsements made by organizations that reflect our progressive values. 

Wisconsin Gazette

Endorsements for Aug. 14 include only candidates in competitive primaries. WiG will make another round of endorsements before the Nov. 6 general election.

We endorse:

Governor: Kelda Roys

Lt. Governor: Mandela Barnes

Attorney General: Josh Kaul 

Secretary of State: Doug La Follette

State Treasurer: Sarah Godlewski

4th Congressional District: Gwen Moore

6th Congressional District: Dan Kohl

Milwaukee County Sheriff: Earnell Lucas

Assembly District 9: Marisabel Cabrera

Assembly District 16: Supreme Moore Omokunde

Assembly District 12: Fred Kessler

Assembly District 18: Evan Goyke

Assembly District 23: Liz Sumner

Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is “an issue-focused coalition of individuals and organizations committed to achieving social, economic, and environmental justice.” In addition to the following endorsements for the Aug. 14 Democratic primary, Citizen Action will issue endorsements before the Nov. 6 general election:

Lieutenant Governor: Mandela Barnes 

State Treasurer: Sarah Godlewski 

Attorney General: Josh Kaul 

Senate District 1: Caleb Frostman

Senate District 5: Julie Henszey 

Senate District 9: Kyle Whelton

Senate District 15: Janis Ringhand 

Senate District 17: Kriss Marion

Senate District 19: Lee Snodgrass

Senate District 21: Lori Hawkins 

Senate District 25: Janet Bewley

Senate District 27: Jon Erpenbach

Senate District 29: Richard Pulcher

Senate District 31: Jeff Smith 

Assembly District 3: Scott Gavin

Assembly District 4: Terry Lee 

Assembly District 5: Matt Lederer

Assembly District 9: Marisabel Cabrera 

Assembly District 13: Dennis McBride 

Assembly District 14: Robyn Vining 

Assembly District 15: Lillian Cheesman

Assembly District 16: Supreme Moore Omokunde

Assembly District 18: Evan Goyke 

Assembly District 21: Gabriel Gomez 

Assembly District 22: Aaron Matteson 

Assembly District 24: Emily Segrist 

Assembly District 26: Rebecca Clarke 

Assembly District 28: Kim Butler 

Assembly District 29: John Calabrese 

Assembly District 32: Katherine Gaulke

Assembly District 34: Chris Meier 

Assembly District 35: Mark Martello 

Assembly District 43: Don Vruwink 

Assembly District 50: Art Shrader 

Assembly District 52: Kevin Booth

Assembly District 56: John Cuff 

Assembly District 57: Amanda Stuck 

Assembly District 60: Christine Rahlf 

Assembly District 62: Gina Walkington 

Assembly District 63: Joel Jacobsen

Assembly District 67: Wren Keturi 

Assembly District 69: Wendy Sue Johnson 

Assembly District 70: Cari Fay

Assembly District 72: David Gorski 

Assembly District 76: Chris Taylor 

Assembly District 78: Lisa Subeck 

Assembly District 84: Erica Flynn 

Assembly District 85: Alyson Leahy 

Assembly District 86: Nancy Stencil

Assembly District 87: Elizabeth Riley 

Assembly District 88: Tom Sieber 

Assembly District 89: Ken Holdorf 

Assembly District 91: Jodi Emerson

Assembly District 93: Charlie Warner

Assembly District 94: Steve Doyle

Assembly District 96: Paul Buhr

 

EMILY’s List 

Governor: Kelda Roys

Senate District 5: Julie Henszey 

Senate District 10: Patty Schachtner

Senate District 19: Lee Snodgrass 

Senate District 25: Janet Bewley

Senate District 27: Jon Erpenbach

Senate District 29: Richard Pulcher

Senate District 31: Jeff Smith

Assembly District 23: Liz Sumner

Assembly District 31: Brittany Keyes

Assembly District 42: Ann Groves Lloyd

Assembly District 14: Robyn Vining 

Assembly District 66: Greta Neubauer

Assembly District 68: Wendy Sue Johnson

Assembly District 74: Beth Meyers

Assembly District 85: Alyson Leahy

Assembly District 91: Jodi Emerson 

 

End Citizens United

U.S. Senate: Tammy Baldwin

State Treasurer: Sarah Godlewski 

1st Congressional District: Randy Bryce

6th Congressional District: Dan Kohl

 

Working Families Party Wisconsin

Lieutenant Governor: Mandela Barnes

State Treasurer: Sarah Godlewski

1st Congressional District: Randy Bryce

2nd Congressional District: Mark Pocan

Milwaukee County Sheriff: Earnell Lucas

Assembly District 9: Marisabel Cabrera

Assembly District 14: Robyn Vining

Assembly District 16: Supreme Moore Omokunde

Assembly District 18: Evan Goyke

Assembly District 21: Gabriel Gomez

Assembly District 23: Liz Sumner

Assembly District 24: Emily Siegrist

Assembly District 26: Rebecca Clarke

Assembly District 60: Chris Rahif

Assembly District 61: Gina Walkington

Senate District 5: Julie Henszey

Wisconsin AFL-CIO

Governor: Mahlon Mitchell

Lieutenant Governor: Mandela Barnes

Attorney General: Josh Kaul

1st Congressional District: Randy Bryce 

4th Congressional District: Gwen Moore

6th Congressional District: Dan Kohl

Senate District 5: Julie Henszey

Senate District 15: Janis Ringhand

Senate District 25: Janet Bewley

Senate District 27: Jon Erpenbach

Senate District 29: Richard Pulcher 

Assembly District 12: Frederick Kessler

Assembly District 14: Robyn Vining

Assembly District 15: Lillian Cheesman 

Assembly District 21: Gabriel Gomez 

Assembly District 62: John Lehman 

State Assembly District 76: Chris Taylor

State Assembly District 78: Lisa Subeck

 

Women’s March WI

Governor: Kelda Roys

Lieutenant Governor: Mandela Barnes

Milwaukee County Sheriff: Earnell Lucas 

State Treasurer: Sarah Godlewski

1st Congressional District: Cathy Myers

 

Naral Pro-Choice America 

Governor: Kelda Roys

1st Congressional District: Randy Bryce

 

Voces de la Frontera 

1st Congressional District: Randy Bryce

Milwaukee County Sheriff: Earnell Lucas

Assembly District 9: Marisabel Cabrera

 

League of Conservation Action Fund

1st Congressional District: Randy Bryce

 

Service Employees International Union Wisconsin 

8th Congressional District: Tom Nelson 

Assembly District 11: Darrol Gibson 

Assembly District 17: David Crowley

Assembly District 85: Mandy Wright

Senate District 10: Diane Odeen 

For more information about voting in Wisconsin, contact the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin at , 608-256-0827 or my.lwv.org.

[Editor's note: Wisconsin Gazette endorsed candidates Fred Kessler, Democratic candidate for Assembly District 12, and Supreme Moore Omokundre, Democratic Candidate for Assembly District 16.]

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