At the start of 2018 Franklin alderman Steve Taylor knew he’d have a contested race for his Milwaukee County supervisor seat. His opponent would be retired accountant Patti Logsdon of Franklin who has been active in GOP circles for many years.
Logsdon ran against Taylor in 2016 and lost big time. So Taylor knew his opponent, but he and the rest of us had no idea of the political storm brewing.
On February 6, 2018, Milwaukee Journal columnist Dan Bice wrote:
(Milwaukee County Executive Chris) Abele is funding a new political committee with the apparent aim of remaking the County Board more to his liking.
The fledging committee has some supervisors on their heels.
No one has a bigger target on his back than (Theodore) Lipscomb.
Abele also put up digital ads targeting the districts of eight supervisors.
Leadership MKE is an independent expenditure committee, so it must also disclose its activities under state law.
So far, the group has reported it had spent nearly $20,000 on mailers and other items critical of three incumbents, (Peggy) West and Supervisors David Sartori and Steve F. Taylor.
I asked Taylor to provide me a statement in response. In an exclusive, here it is, unedited, in its entirety:
It appears County Executive Chris Abele and his Dad’s money are the real opponents in my re-election. I have never seen another elected official besides Abele invest money or political capital like this before. It doesn’t surprise me because I won’t support issues like his $60 wheel tax or his paid parking in the parks. I won’t go along with closing pools, scaring our seniors or threatening to close homeless shelters because the County Executive didn’t get his way.
Abele obviously doesn’t care that I have been a strong voice of the taxpayers and of my district. It doesn’t matter that I listened when the voters in Franklin, Hales Corners and Oak Creek rejected his wheel tax by almost 90%. It doesn’t matter that I have a good working relationship with my colleagues which has resulted in many public road and park improvements in my district.
No, Abele wants all or nothing. Abele wants to get his way 100% of the time or he targets those who stand up to him. This is very scary for those whom I represent because he wouldn’t be spending money to attack me or produce puff pieces for my opponent unless she is willing to take orders. My opponent will be a rubber stamp of the County Executive’s policies. That much is clear.
Voters shouldn’t be fooled by the shiny mailers they will receive or the robo calls they will most likely get in the next two months. Voters should ask themselves why? Lately we have seen Chris Abele act more and more like a petulant child who has used his family’s wealth to get whatever he wants and he doesn’t like that I have told him NO. That’s Why!!
I don’t live in the 9th supervisory district. However I was a very interested observer in this race that got ugly fast. In 2016 I supported Logsdon. Not so this time.
In an effort to unseat Taylor, Logsdon went extremely negative. An online Logsdon campaign ad I saw had the narrator bringing up some of Taylor’s past indiscretions that I won’t get into that occurred many, many years ago.
If the intent was to be personally savage and brutal the ad succeeded.
Throughout my professional career that has been loaded with politics, either reporting, blogging, or talking about it, I have steadfastly held that negative campaigning is appropriate.
That is, if it’s true. And I would add an additional caveat. If it’s relevant.
There were constant, almost daily attack pieces mailed to voters, bankrolled by Abele’s committee.
Logsdon said little during the campaign, leaving Supervisor Deanna Alexander to act as her spokeswoman. Alexander defended Logsdon, claiming Logsdon’s campaign wasn’t putting out the negative literature, that it was the work of others. I submit that Logsdon was complicit. Neither she nor Alexander condemned the trashy lit pieces.
Shortly before the election Alexander went public with a lengthy attack piece posted on her own website where she alleged Taylor screamed at her when the two were heading into a private meeting downtown, castigated her in the elevator up to the meeting, and continued to embarrass her at the meeting.
An elected official blasting another colleague, in public and/or at a private meeting, isn’t exactly anything new.
Alexander hoped to get some mileage when she pitched it to WISN’s Mark Belling but she had to be disappointed when the topic came up on March 26, 2018. Here’s an excerpt of Belling’s on-air commentary.
I find likeability to be about at the bottom of what I care about in a politician.
I would much rather vote for a jerk I agree with than the nicest person in the world I disagree with.
So if Steve can be a jerk or if he rubs some people the wrong way, that in my mind is not a reason to vote against him.
First of all there’s two sides to every story. So he yelled at her and he was acting like a jackass.
Deanna’s putting all this stuff that Steve’s a dink and maybe he is.
My reaction to all that is so what. So he’s a dink.
Is he a good county board member which is a better question and the thing that voters down there need to react to.
Belling went on to say that Logsdon might be the better choice, but he didn’t come close to dismissing Taylor.
The negativity never stopped. Taylor was outspent by a ton and lost as Logsdon captured close to 53% of the vote. Chris Abele’s biggest target, Theo Lipscomb the major difference between the two Taylor/Logsdon races was the $129,069 that Abele’s Leadership MKE spent in support of Logsdon this past spring.
As 2018 comes to a close Taylor hasn’t kept it much of a secret that he will run again.
Meanwhile Alexander has sued Taylor according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel claiming he played a role in getting her fired from a state position. The case is still under under review.
THE TOP 10 FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2018
4) Logsdon upsets incumbent Taylor
5) Police? No. A remodeled City Hall? YES
6) Like it or not Franklin, you’re getting another roundabout
7) Franklin OKs K4
8) Franklin fights but loses on Dark Store loophole
9) Finally Franklin admits they’ve got a developer problem
10) Fun, Fun, Fun in Franklin