I just wrote a pretty detailed article yesterday, clearing up a number of facts about Dean Raasch, and his opponent, Shae Sortwell, as they face each other in the Republican primary for Wisconsin State Assembly District 2. And today I must write again to clear up even more lies. But I want to frame this a little bit first.
About Dean’s Campaign
As you can expect, Dean and I have spoken A LOT in these recent months (I am his campaign treasurer). We meet often for breakfast and have discussions that are informative, in depth, strategic, and quite often, just simple chat about our community and our families (my daughter used to baby sit his daughter, so we back a few years). One specific topic that we’ve spoken about his “how” Dean should run his campaign. And yes, we’ve spoken about how a good number of political candidates go negative, especially with what we call “attack” pieces. I strongly encouraged Dean to stay positive. I firmly believe that many voters these days are like me; we’re just sick and tired of all the negative crap. And quite frankly, I want candidates to respect my intelligence. I just want to know all the good stuff about the candidates, and then I’ll make my own choice. Well, I didn’t have to do much convincing; Dean and I were on the same page from the start.
So, that’s how he has campaigned. It’s been positive and upbeat. Dean is spending his time talking to voters, not spouting off about his opponent. Then his opponent decided to go negative. I don’t know what happened to cause him to do this, but he did. Here’s one such example: in a two-day period, I received three political post cards in the mail, all about Dean. Except one of them was paid for by “Taxpayers for Shae Sortwell.” It was really a shame, because I had all of these nicely designed post cards, and there wasn’t any good substance about Sortwell. From a voter’s perspective, I don’t know what Sortwell expects to happen if most of the info, even the info that he pays for, is all about Dean. If he’s getting campaign advice from someone, they’re giving him bad advice.
So yes, it will probably come as no surprise to you that Dean and I discussed the negative mailer. There, I’m giving you a little window into Dean’s campaign (Dean doesn’t know I’m writing this by the way; I haven’t told him a word about this article). We talked about the negative crap, and while we both thought we should set the record straight, we agreed that we’d ignore it and stay positive; just stick to our original plan. But then more negative info kept coming out. And then we got some advice from several people who are much more experienced in state campaigns. They all were together in suggesting that we set the record straight. So that’s what I did in yesterday’s article. But the difference between what I wrote and what Sortwell has been saying is that mine is a response; a shot was fired and I had to fire back in defense. I’m not attacking Sortwell at all. I’m just offering up some very important facts about what he’s done and what he said, and more importantly, I’m clearing up some incorrect statements he’s made about Dean.
I figured that maybe that’s all I’d need to do, but then Sortwell sent out yet another mailer this week, and again, he wasted his valuable post card space on Dean. And yes you guessed it, again, I feel a need to set the record straight. So, let’s get right to it. What follows is a screen shot of a section of Sortwell’s post card. I’ll address each of his five points.
About Sortwell’s Mailer
1. Dean does not want to raise taxes. I’m not saying he’d never support raising taxes, I’m just saying he doesn’t want to raise taxes. What Sortwell is referring to here is a comment that Dean made about levy limits. If you’re like Sortwell and don’t understand how they work, I’ll explain. It’s pretty simple actually. The state of Wisconsin limits how much municipalities can charge in property taxes. And if you think about that, it sounds pretty good right? Well, it is good, but only to a point. There are certain requirements that the state makes of municipalities, things that cost money. And often, municipalities want the ability to make their own decisions about things, especially when we know the community is behind us. So, when Dean says that he’d like to see the levy limit relaxed a bit, it’s not because he’s out to raise taxes. He just wants more local control over our taxes, instead of having the state tell us what to do. There, now you have the real story that Sortwell forgot to tell you.
2. When Dean was asked about Obamacare in an interview, he mentioned that the provisions about pre-existing conditions were good. That’s it. And Sortwell translated that to mean that Dean defended Obamacare. Listen, in case you didn’t know, Dean and his wife Carrie are both cancer survivors. They are both miracles, grateful for every day they have on this earth to be with family and serve their community. But you know what comes with being a cancer survivor? The burden of constantly disclosing your pre-existing condition every time you talk to someone about health care insurance. And they’ll have to do this for the rest of their lives! Think about that for a second. I just can’t imagine. So, should Dean simply bash Obamacare completely because he’s a Republican? Or is he allowed to perhaps talk about one specific provision that isn’t such a bad idea, a provision that may help him and his wife and of course many other Wisconsinites like them? And if you already read yesterday’s article and watched Sortwell’s 2014 interview, you heard him talk about how he doesn’t like party politics, where candidates are always towing the party line; that’s why he ran as an Independent just 4 years ago. So I know Sortwell gets this. Or maybe he just forgot that he actually agrees with Dean, and that it’s okay to occasionally speak from your own personal experience and not line up 100% with what others may want you to think. At the very least, Sortwell is just confused on this one.
3. This point about Dean’s wages is about the lowest blow I’ve ever seen in a political campaign. And I’ve been a political junkie for decades. As I mentioned above, Dean doesn’t even know I’m writing this, so I really hope he doesn’t mind me talking about this. So here’s what I know. First and foremost, I have never asked Dean about his personal finances. Never. Not once. But here’s the deal. Since I’m his treasurer and we had to open a campaign bank account together, Dean did tell me a few things. Now, as open as I’m being here, I will never jeopardize my friendship with Dean by telling you what I know (and I don’t really know that much). But I will say this. If Sortwell had any idea what Dean and Carrie have been through in recent years, any idea at all, he would be ashamed of himself for making this statement about their family finances on an official campaign document. But this is my blog, and I can say what I want, and I’m just going to tell you that this statement pisses me off. It really pisses me off. Dean and Carrie are good people. They have two kids from Dean’s first marriage and one from Carrie’s first marriage. And with all that’s gone on with their families and of course their individual battles with cancer, it’s a miracle that they are together today, living a decent life and providing a good home for their kids. And I don’t use that term lightly. I FIRMLY BELIEVE IN THE CORE OF MY HEART THAT IT IS A MIRACLE! So, maybe I’m wrong, Sortwell probably isn’t ashamed. But I’ll tell you one thing. I can’t imagine having a guy like this, a guy who stoops this low to dig a very personal (and very ignorant) attack out of the mud and then slings it out to every voter, represent me in the State Assembly. No way.
4. I don’t know about what “wrong information” Dean put out about guns. We’ve spoken about that and I’m just not aware of it. As for not being a gun owner, that’s an interesting statement. It’s similar to one I wrote about yesterday, in that it’s certainly true, but what does it mean? I own a couple of guns, and I proudly carry my concealed carry permit with me everywhere (and that’s all I’m gonna say here about my own carrying practice). But if Dean doesn’t own a gun, so what should we make of that? This is like saying, “Dean’s not a woman.” Yeah, true statement indeed. Dean doesn’t ride a motorcycle either. And as a life-long motorcycle rider, I’m not offended. These weird statements that Sortwell makes are just confusing and ignorant.
5. Sortwell’s final statement about Dean being unproven is just a lie. Sortwell knows that he’s been on the De Pere City Council for four years, he’s referred to it in other negative ads, so I know he knows this. Or is he saying that time on a local non-partisan board doesn’t matter? Like Sortwell’s time on the Gibson Town Board. Or maybe he thinks that like him, Dean should have been forced to resign from his city council after 10 months for lying about his residence. Or maybe he says Dean is “unproven” because he hasn’t run for state office as an Independent before, like Sortwell has. Yeah, that’s probably it. And when he says “no known work in this area”, holy cow! Dean has lived in the same place for 20 years. Does he really think he hasn’t worked in this area during that time? And what “area” is he referring to? It’s hard to know, since Sortwell ran for Green Bay City Council, then Wisconsin State Assembly in District 90, then Gibson Town Board, and now Wisconsin State Assembly again but this time in District 2. Maybe Sortwell should just be more specific about which “area” he’s referring to, then we’d all know.
Look, I’m not stupid and I don’t think you are either. We all know that these little post cards are just full of jabs that Sortwell is making, in a desperate attempt to convince a voter or two not to vote for Dean. I get it, it’s that simple. But the problem is that you can’t say much on a post card, so all Sortwell can do is lie. And I’ve got all day to tell the real facts. But writing this article has caused me to change my mind on a small detail. I think the section of Sortwell’s post card that I shared here tells you much more about Sortwell than it does about Dean. Those five points aren’t about Dean; they’re about Sortwell and his intentions and what kind of a man he is.
And in case you haven’t figured out my intentions yet, I haven’t dredged up a single hidden fact about Sortwell. For example, I don’t know anything about his personal finances because I haven’t looked (and believe me, I’ve been making a living on the internet for decades, I have resources). But I don’t care. I’m only writing about him to clear up the things he’s saying about Dean. So that’s my deal with you. As long as he stops lying, well then I suppose I won’t have any more reason to talk about him. Let’s see how that goes.
In the mean time, there are only 5 more days until the election. I hope you’ll join me in voting for Dean Raasch for Wisconsin Assembly District 2, in the primary on Tuesday, August 14.
UPDATE: 2018-08-11 Sat
After receiving some feedback from a friend, I added the phrase “I am Dean’s campaign treasurer” to the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph. This is my personal blog, and I hope no one feels that I’m trying to hide the fact that I’m working with Dean on his campaign. I also mentioned it in point #3, and I mentioned it at the outset in the first article I wrote about this campaign, which I linked to at the beginning of this article. If I failed to make this clear to any reader, I apologize.