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Column: How one conservative will be voting on Tuesday

By Dan Kontos

This Tuesday, voters will have a chance to go to the polls in the 2022 partisan primary. The purpose is to whittle down the field of candidates to one per political party for each office.

In Wisconsin, we have open primaries, which means that you are free to vote for the slate of contenders in any political party, but only one party. For example, if you vote in the Libertarian Party, you can’t also cast a vote for anyone in the Constitution Party. If you cross over, your ballot will be invalidated. 

This year, there are a number of candidates, especially for statewide offices. The choice of party hopefuls can be a bit overwhelming. Often, people don’t do a great job of researching the candidates, and they cast their vote based on name recognition, or something else.

I get asked a lot: Dan, who should I vote for? My usual reply is not to tell them who they should choose, but rather to tell them who I will be voting for. Here are my picks for August 9, for what it’s worth.

First, my vote typically follows the rule outlined by the late, great William F. Buckley, Jr. He said, “Vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.” 

As a Constitutional conservative myself, I’m all for like-minded people. Since I value the principles of liberty and freedom, limited government, and reverence for the Constitution, that is an easy point for me.

However, I am also a pragmatist. I understand that we are operating in a two-party system (like it or not), with a sprinkling of third parties that cannot win. Sorry to my Libertarian and Constitution Party friends, but it’s true. Voting purely on principle, without any pragmatism is wasting your vote. What’s worse is allowing votes to be drained off of a decent candidate, and allowing a worse option to win, a la Ross Perot. I’ve explained not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good before.

So, with our open primary system, I first have to choose a party. For me, the majority of conservative candidates reside in the Republican Party. It’s true Republicans may not be the answer to all of our problems, but the Democrats are definitely the cause of all our problems (hat tip Dan Bongino).

While it may be fun to vote for Sheriff, it’s not my fault that the two real candidates chose to run in a socialist party. There are a lot of other more consequential contests that need my attention.

A quick trip to My Vote Wisconsin, and I was able to download a sample copy of my ballot. I suggest you do it too.

Governor. There are three main candidates on the GOP ballot. My choice is Rebecca Kleefisch. The former lieutenant governor has proven her conservative bona fides, and she is certainly electable. While I like Timothy Ramthum as well, sorry man, he just will not win. What about Tim Michels? He has some less-than-conservative issues in his past that trouble me. Moreover, if you watch the recent debate, Michels is just not ready for prime time. I think that President Trump got this endorsement wrong. It happens.

Lieutenant Governor. With eight candidates vying for this office, the field is certainly crowded. I know that Pat Teston is the local favorite, and I like him, but I just don’t think he has the reach outside of central Wisconsin that he will need to win. I would also like to see a little more fire in his belly when it comes to pushing conservative ideas. I like him where he is at right now. My choice is Kyle Yudes. I like what he says, and how he says it. 

Attorney General. My choice is Eric Toney. He’s a proven tough-on-crime prosecutor, which is what we desperately need right now. My law enforcement friends all say that he was a great District Attorney, which I think will translate into a great AG.

Secretary of State. I’m going with Jay Schroeder. While the office is one of little consequence, that may change soon, with plans to look at this position overseeing our elections, and disbanding the lawless and feckless Wisconsin Elections Commission. Schroeder is an America first candidate, who shows great signs of traction in his campaign. 

Treasurer. While this is another position of little state-wide impact, my choice is Orlando Owens. Not only was he endorsed at the GOP state convention, if you look at his website, Owens clearly states that, “I Love God. I Love Family. I Love Country. I Love my Guns.” What’s there not to love about that?

United States Senator. Absolutely no doubt, Ron Johnson. He was also endorsed at the GOP convention, and with good reason. He is a proven conservative, a fighter for the truth, and he is fearless. If you want one more reason, the liberals hate him for what he is doing, and have a coordinated smear campaign to try and destroy him, because they cannot compete in a war of ideas. That tells you everything you need to know.

House of Representatives. Portage County is in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, and while Derrick Van Orden is unopposed in the primary, he still gets my nod.

State Assembly. I live in District 71, while many of you may live in District 70 or others. I am voting for Scott Soik. He’s got a good local government track record, and is a small government, low taxes veteran.

Sheriff. Believe it or not, the Republicans are serving up Scott Noble for this position. Umm, I like my sheriffs to actually have law enforcement experience, and I don’t mean by just getting arrested. I’ll take a hard pass on this one.

Clerk of Courts. No republicans are running for this spot, so I’ll just do a write-in; “Trump 2024.”

There you have it, and I hope it helps. I don’t expect to run the table, but it would sure be fun. You may disagree with my choices, and that’s perfectly fine. There are other great and good candidates for you to choose from. I just hope you research them first.

So, with that, let’s meet in the opinion section to talk about all of it, boldly, honestly, and with a healthy respect for each other. Go vote! Until then, God bless.

Dan Kontos is a paid columnist for the Metro Wire. He chooses his own topics and his opinions do not necessarily represent the staff of the Metro Wire. He lives with his family in Whiting. 

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