Wednesday, October 18th


State Rep. Mandela Barnes (right) speaks in support of Wisconsin expanding Medicaid coverage during a news conference in Madison in 2013.(Photo: Associated Press)

MADISON – More than a half dozen Democrats are running for governor next year — and now former state Rep. Mandela Barnes says he is considering seeking the state’s No. 2 post.

If he runs, Barnes said, he would do everything he could to get minorities and young people to the polls.

“We can’t just expect them to show up,” said Barnes, of Milwaukee. “We’ve seen what happens when we just expect them to show up.”

Barnes served in the Assembly from 2013 to this January. He unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) in a primary last year. He’s now a deputy director for the State Innovation Exchange, which tries to advance progressive legislation at the state level.

The only Democrat registered for the race for lieutenant governor is Robert Louis Slamka of Madison.

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Kevin Nicholson (left), and Leah Vukmir (right) are Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.(Photo: Michael Sears)Buy Photo

The Steve Bannon primary in Wisconsin is over and Kevin Nicholson has won.

But whether Bannon's backing of Nicholson sways Republicans in Wisconsin over the next year is uncertain as the party braces for what could be a bitter and expensive senate primary battle.

Like a bolt out of the blue, a pro-Donald Trump super PAC with ties to the ex-White House chief strategist threw its endorsement Monday to Nicholson in Wisconsin's 2018 race for U.S. Senate.

The move by Great America PAC was first reported by McClatchy and came just weeks after Nicholson met with Bannon and others in Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, a businessman from Delafield, and state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield are the only announced candidates running for the GOP nomination. The winner of next year's primary will take on Democratic U.S.

Pandora Lobacz, a prison teacher who was battered by a teen inmate last week at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls.(Photo: courtesy of Pandora Lobacz)

MADISON – A prison teacher who was battered by a teen inmate last week says the state's juvenile prison is a more dangerous place now because of a recent court order and how Gov. Scott Walker's administration has responded to it.

The inmate who knocked her out Oct. 11 had previously beaten others, but couldn’t be restrained in the classroom because of a recent court ruling that limits the use of handcuffs at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls. No guard was in the room when the assault occurred, said the teacher, Pandora Lobacz. 

“Those kids are basically running the show now,” Lobacz said in an interview. “They’ve been emboldened.”

The inmate is bigger than Lobacz, who has a form of dwarfism and is about 4-foot-7-inches and weighs 110 pounds.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan makes a point during a meeting with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors.(Photo: Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

President Donald Trump has thrust the 2015 Iran nuclear deal back into the news by saying he will de-certify it and seek new sanctions against Iran.

After the deal was made, three Wisconsin Republicans -- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus, who briefly served as Trump's chief of staff -- made various claims:

It was Hillary Clinton's deal and would line the pockets of Iran "with your money"; that President Barack Obama's administration said money from the deal would go to terrorism; and that the deal would subsidize Iran's nuclear program.

PolitiFact Wisconsin reviews its fact checks on the three claims. 



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Wisconsin Elections Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen speaks at Tuesday's meeting.(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)Buy Photo

MADISON – The head of the state Elections Commission says the attorney general is effectively stopping him from participating in a forum on Wisconsin’s gerrymandering case — a move that he says amounts to a top Republican limiting the speech of a Democrat.

Attorney General Brad Schimel counters he is simply following a rule for lawyers to make sure one of his clients doesn't talk to opposing attorneys without his own lawyers present. 

The dispute comes as state officials adjust to a new elections agency that is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Mark Thomsen, a Democrat and chairman of the commission, was invited to speak Friday on a panel that also features attorneys challenging Wisconsin’s election maps and voting laws. Thomsen wanted to participate in the forum but Schimel barred Thomsen and the attorneys from appearing together because Thomsen is a named plaintiff in the lawsuits at issue.