Attention-grabbing Zimdars yard signs now available

You may have seen some of his signs already, but you haven’t, you can expect to see the distinctive yellow and black signs popping up all over the 41st Assembly District in the next couple of weeks.

Nate Zimdars is the only Democrat running for the seat formerly held by Republican Joan Ballweg. Thus, he will be on the Aug. 11 partisan primary ballot unopposed. After the Aug. 11 election, Zimdars will face off against the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 3 in general election.

Visit Nate’s website.

Visit Nate’s Facebook page.


Wouldn’t a Zimdars State Assembly yard sign look great in your yard? To get your sign, email Nate. There is no cost for the signs, but Nate would not turn away a donation. You can also send a request using our Contact Form

Opportunity exists to ask tough questions of candidates for 41st Assembly and 6th Congressional Districts

Candidate forums hosted by LWV of the Ripon Area set for Thursday, June 25 and Wednesday, July 1

Here is a golden opportunity to ask local candidates for public office their position on issues that are of key importance to you.

The League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area is hosting a series of candidate forums at the end of June and at the start of July.

Each participating candidate will be asked the same question by the LWV moderator, so all candidates have an equal opportunity to answer a question.

Questions for the candidates come from the general public–from you.

Submit your question in advance of the forums by sending them to You can also use snail mail: LWV Candidate Forum, P. O. Box 5, Ripon, WI 54971.

All questions will be screened prior to submission to the candidates and when appropriate, similar questions will be combined into a single question.

As of today, June 15, candidate forums as being held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, June 25, Republicans competing in the partisan primary for the 41st Assembly District on Aug. 11.
  • Wednesday, July 1, Democrats competing in the partisan primary for the 6th Congressional District on Aug. 11.

An attempt to hold a forum for the Republicans running in the partisan primary for the 14th Senate District on Aug. 11, scheduled for Tuesday, June 24, failed as one of the invited candidates declined participation. LWV policy is to hold candidate forums only when there are two or more candidates willing to participate. The LWV also does not disclose the rationale for a decision not to participate.












Late June, early July dates set for candidate forums hosted by the LWV of the Ripon Area

Candidates seeking election to Wisconsin’s 14th Senate District, 41st Assembly District, and the 6th Congressional District are being invited to participate in a series of virtual forums being hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area and the Five County Tobacco Coalition.

Initially, the forums will be for only the Aug. 11 contested partisan primaries. After the primaries, forums will be held for the final two or three candidates in each race. 

For example, since there are four Republicans seeking the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg, they are being invited to a forum on Wednesday, June 25. 

However, since there is only one Democrat, Nate Zimdars, seeking the Assembly post, he won’t participate in the June 25 forum. The same is true for the independent candidate Jean Bartz. Instead, Zimdars, Bartz, and the winner of the Republican primary on Aug. 11 will be invited to a forum in early September on a day yet to be determined.

The League candidate forums:

  • 14th Senate District–Wednesday, June 24, 
  • 41st Assembly District–Thursday, June 25
  • 6th Congressional District–Wednesday, July 1

After the Aug. 11 6th Congressional partisan primary, the Democrat winner and Rep. Grothman will be invited to a September forum.

The forums, which will be broadcast live on the Spectrum public access channel 986 in the Ripon area and then posted to YouTube, will be moderated. 

Candidates are being asked to appear in person at the Ripon City Hall, site of the forums. According to Cal Edwards, chair of the League’s Voter Service committee, social distancing rules will be enforced. This is the same procedure used when the two candidates for the mayor post in Ripon participated in a LWV-sponsored candidate forum March 25.

Edwards also said that questions for each candidate will come from the general public and that questions they would like candidates to address should send their questions to LWV at the following address: LWV Candidate Forum, P.O. Box 5, Ripon, WI, 54971

Questions can also be submitted via email at

The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The League was founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt who was born in Ripon, Wisconsin.

“The Five County Tobacco Free Coalition values the opportunity to collaborate with the League of Women Voters of Ripon Area on these forums. Over the years, our coalition has collaborated with various organizations on candidate forums in order to provide an opportunity for community members to ask candidates questions about health and wellness,” said Sandy Bernier, Coordinator of the local tobacco control coalition.

Because of time constraints, questions that are similar will be combined. Questions are directed at all the candidates running for the same position, not to any candidate in particular.

Letters inviting the candidates to participate in the forums were sent out on Monday. 









Democrats Matt Boor and Michael Beardsley fill papers for the 6th Congressional District, joining Jessica King

Matt Boor, a candidate for the 6th Congressional District seat now held by Republican Glenn Grothman.

As of 6 p.m. on Monday, June 1, two more Democrats. Matt Boor and Michael Beardsley, filed nomination papers with the Wisconsin Election Commission. Both are seeking to unset Glenn Grothman, the incumbent Republican 6th Congressional District. According to the WEC, the validation of the signatures on their nomination papers was pending. Boor and Beardsley join Democrat Jessica King, whose signatures were validated earlier in the week. If the signatures for Boor and Beardsley are validate, the three Democrats will face each other in a partisan primary election on Aug. 11.

Update: Democrats Matt Boor and Michael Beardsley signature validation is pending; if approved they will join Jessica King on Aug. 11 for right to face Republican Glenn Grothman

As of 12 a.m. today (Friday, May 29) only one 6th Congressional District candidate, Democrat Jessica King, has had her nomination signatures validated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

Two other Democrats, Matt Boor and Michael  Beardsley, have filed their papers but the validation of signatures is pending. Boor was an early announced candidate fo the position in Congress, while Beardsley is a late addition.

On the Republican side, only incumbent Glenn Grothman has filed his papers and according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission website, the validation of his signatures is also pending.

The deadline for submitting nomination papers is Monday, June 1 at 5 p.m.

As filing deadline looms, Democrats Nate Zimdars and Jessica King qualify for State Assembly and 6th Congressional District battles

Democrat Nate Zimdars, a candidate for the 41st State Assembly this fall.

It’s a bit early–the filing deadline is Monday, June 1, but a number of local people seeking elected office have already had their nomination paper signatures validated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission, including Democrat Nate Zimdars who is seeking election to the 41st State Assembly post being vacated by Republican Joan Ballweg. 

Zimdars, by virtue of his being the only Democrat seeking the seat in Madison, will not face an opponent in a partisan primary on Aug. 11.

Several Republicans, however, have had their nomination signatures validated, which means there will be a Republican partisan primary on Aug. 11. 

Gary Will, the former mayor of Ripon, and Alex Dallman, a staffer for Republican Congressman Glen Grothman, will face off on Aug. 11. 

As of today, two candidates for the 6th Congressional District, including Democrat Jessica King, have submitted the required number of valid signatures. The other candidate is incumbent Republican Glenn Grothman. If they are the only candidates with the required valid signatures, they will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

A second Democrat, Matt Boor, has taken out nomination papers for the seat in Congress, but the Election Commission did not include him on its list of candidates submitting the required valid signatures on its 12 a.m., May 28 report. If Boor comes up with the required valid signatures by the June 1 deadline, he and King will meet in a partisan primary on Aug. 3.








Three more candidates seek the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg

Nate Zimdars is the only Democrat seeking the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg.

Hey, who knew this was such a popular job? This week, three additional people announced that they are running for the 41st State Assembly seat being vacated by Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan). Ballweg is now running for the 14th State Senate seat being vacated by Luther Olsen (R-Ripon).

Previously, Ripon’s Nate Zimdars, a Democrat, and two Republicans, Allex Dallman, Green Lake, and Nate Barber, Ripon, announced that they too want to succeed in Ballweg.

But this week, things got a bit more interesting as two more Republicans and an independent decided to join the crowd. 

The biggest surprise: former Ripon Mayor Gary Will. Will just completed his fifth two-year term as the top elected official in Ripon. He declined to seek a sixth term this spring and most observers thought that was it for Will. Obviously not. 

Also announcing for the position was Luke Dreske, a Ripon College junior who has been active in on-campus politics. He is president of the Ripon College Republicans and president of the school’s student senate. Dreske is a native of Berlin.

The third new face in the fight for the trip to Madison is Jean Bartz of Wisconsin Dells. She is running as an independent. 

Will, Barber, Dreske, and Dallman will face off in a primary election on Aug. 11. The winner of the primary will advance to face Zimdars on Nov. 3, if Zimdars remains the only Democrat to indicate an interest in the position. Bartz, because she is running as an independent will also be on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The winner of the Nov. 3 election receives a $52,999 annual salary.


If canvassing is out, how do candidates obtain the needed signatures for their nomination papers?

Going door to door to gather signatures for nomination papers may be a thing of the past, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the new world of pandemic-influenced voting and elections, today, April 15,  is an important and not surprisingly confusing day: it is the day candidates for the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate can begin gathering signatures for their nomination papers.

Every member of the Assembly (all 99 of them) and half of the Senate needs to have the required number of signatures submitted and approved by the Wisconsin Election Commission by June 1 if they want to be on the ballot.

Candidates for the Assembly must obtain a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 400 signatures. Candidates for the Senate must have a minimum of 400 and a maximum of 800 signatures. 

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and if needed a primary election will be held Aug. 11.

But, wait, how do they do that if they can’t rely on the normal process, which involves going door to door asking for signatures? Check out this article from the Wisconsin Examiner to learn about the options being considered.

Wisconsin Dems may be a role model for the rest of the United States; Karofsky win demonstrates value of digital outreach

Newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jill Karofsky.


So, how did Jill Karofsky upend incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly in the battle for Kelly’s seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court? The New York Times thinks it has the answer. In a On Politics report published today (April 14), the Times says it was smart use of digital media, and in particular, text messaging. The article suggests that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, Karofksy’s campaign was forced to switch tactics–no more door-to-door canvassing–and it worked.

Read the full item from the New York Times

Judge Lisa Neubauer retains seat on appeals court; turns back Republican challenger, Judge Paul Bugenhagen

Judge Lisa Neubauer (center)

In another one of the pretend nonpartisan judicial elections, Lisa Neubauer, the chief judge of the District II Appeals Court, which is headquartered in Waukesha, defeated Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Paul Bughagen

Judge Neubauer attracted  228,670 votes (54%) to Bugenhgen’s 194,959 (46%)

In Green Lake, Neubauser, who was upset in an extremely close race last year by Brian Hagedorn when the two sought a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, surprisingly topped Bugenhagen, 2,453 (54%) to 2068 (46%). By most accounts, Green Lake is a strong Republican county.

Green Lake County is one of the counties included in District II.

As with other so-called nonpartisan judicial elections in Wisconsin, this one also had strong political affiliations with Bughagen receiving support from Republicans and conservatives, while Neubauer was the favorite of progressives and Democrats.

Read article on the election from the Journal Sentinel.

Jill Karofsky upsets incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly for seat on the state’s top court

Newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Jill Karofsky spoke at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.


Judge Jill Karofsky’s win in a fight for a seat on the state’s top court was a bit of a pleasant surprise

The Dane County Circuit Court Judge not only defeated incumbent Wisconsin State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Kelly for his seat on the state’s top court, she won by almost 10 percent, a strong showing in a race that had most pre-election day observers uncertain of its outcome.

Karofsky received 812,520 votes to Kelly’s 679,820. Together, they pulled in just over 1.5 million votes. Karofsky’s total reflects 54.5 percent of the vote; Kelly had 45.6 percent.

In 2019, the last time a spot on the top court was open, Brian Hagedorn, heavily backed by conservatives and Republicans, upset Lia Neubauer in a close race. Neubauer, who had the support of most Democrats and Progressives, had been favored. Hagedorn outpolled Neubauer by just over 6,000 votes, 606,414 to 600,433.

Officially, the contest on Tuesday was nonpartisan, but as with the Neubauer-Hagedorn battle, it was clearly a fight between the state’s two major political parties. 

President Donad Trump had publicly endorsed both Hagedorn and Kelly. Kelly had been appointed to the court in 2016 by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Complicating the Karofsky/Kelly race was a number of unexpected issues. First, the CORVID-19 pandemic kept most people from voting in person on Tuesday. And in some locations, such as Milwaukee, only five polling places were open on Tuesday which resulted in long lines of people waiting for hours to vote.

Because of the pandemic, many voters voted via absentee ballots and there were reports of people requesting but not receiving their ballots in time to vote. Finally, according to other reports, some bags of absentee ballots were found sitting in some post offices after the polls closed on Tuesday, too late to be counted. 

A key to the Karofsky win appears to be the strong voter turnout. Last year, Neubauer and Hagedorn together earned 1,207,564 votes.  This year, Karofsky and Kelly collected a total of just under 1.5 million votes, for an gain of 300,000. Neubauer, in 2019, gained 606,433 votes. Karofsky, who ran a more aggressive campaign, topped her this April by about 212,000 votes. Kelly also did slightly better than Hagedorn,  his conservative benchmate, pulling in about 73,000 more votes than Hagedorn.

View article on the Karofsky/Kelley race from the Wisconsin Examiner.



CLARIFICATION: Tate Barber also running as a Republican for the 41st Assembly seat now held by Joan Ballweg

In a post on Friday, April 3, announcing Nate Zimdars’ decision to run for the 41st State Assembly District post being vacated by Republican Joan Ballweg, we wrote that the only Republican officially running for the seat was Alex Dallman.

That was wrong. Tate Barber is also seeking the Assembly seat. Barber, like Zimdars, from Ripon, is currently a student at St. Norbert College, in Depere. He will be starting his third year at the school in the fall. Barber announced his candidacy on March 9, 

With two announced Republicans running for the seat, there will be a partisan primary election on Aug. 11, with the winner advancing to face Zimdars, who is the only announced Democrat seeking to represent the 41st Assembly District in Madison.

With a June 1, 2020, deadline for candidates to file nomination papers, it is possible other candidates will surface. 

Barber has a website: where you can find more information on his candidacy. 

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