It’s Not Just Election Day

If you haven’t done so already, go vote today and then reward yourself with a nice donut. It’s Paczki Day, people!

Let’s talk about the election first and get that out of the way. There may be other things on the ballot where you live, but here on Monroe Street in Madison there are just two items: state Supreme Court and Madison Mayor.

For the Court I’d be shocked if Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz didn’t come out on top and by a significant margin. She’s the liberal favorite, she’s had more money than God, and she’s been spending it on lots and lots of TV ads. The other liberal in the race, Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell, never got his campaign in gear. I don’t think he’ll win even in his home county.

Two conservatives are also running. It’s clear that the liberals (read Democrats) would much prefer former Justice Dan Kelly. Kelly had been appointed to the Court by Gov. Scott Walker, but was knocked off by current Justice Jill Karofsky when he ran for a full 10-year term in 2020. His conservative opponent is Waukesha Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow. A shadowy liberal group calling itself “A Better Wisconsin Together” has been running attack ads against Dorow, charging that she’s been soft on crime.

This is a strategy Democrats have employed since last fall when they boosted the campaigns of several Republican primary candidates who they thought would be easier to beat in the general election. It worked for the most part, but I’m skeptical of the strategy in general and I’m especially skeptical in this case. I think it’s a close call between Kelly and Dorow as to which is more beatable and neither is the kind of absolute bat-shit crazy candidate that the Dems have promoted in other primaries.

What I’ll be watching is the total vote for the liberals versus the total for the conservatives. I have a hunch that the libs will come out on top, which will bode well for April. It looks to me like it will be all about abortion and that plays to the Democrats.

For Madison Mayor it has been a sleepy race to say the least. It looks like incumbent Satya Rhodes-Conway will cruise to first place. Her challenger, Gloria Reyes, needs to get well into the 40’s to make any case for a credible run in the general election. I hope she does that simply because I think a spirited race for mayor gives the community a chance to have a good conversation about our future.

Okay. Fine. Now for the real excitement. If John Kennedy had gone to Warsaw instead of Berlin he would have proudly declared, “I am a paczki!” The paczki is the Polish equivalent of the berliner, only much better. The paczki isn’t just a jelly donut. It’s a heavy, dense jelly donut and if you’re going to do it right the filling needs to be prune.

Paczki Day is always on Shrove Tuesday, today. Paczki Day has become a thing now, even in places without a lot of my people. Here in Madison, filled with Norwegians, you can get them at Metcalfe’s. My wife, a Norwegian herself, came home with a box of them on Sunday. I scoffed. Madisonian’s don’t know a paczki from a berliner. But these are actually very good. Not as good as those from National Bakery in Milwaukee (the paczki capital of North America) but not half bad.

And finally this is another reason I expect Protasiewicz to come out on top. Her primary election day fell on Paczki Day. It’s written in the stars, or at least in the prune filling.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

4 thoughts on “It’s Not Just Election Day

  1. Try Niles Polish Deli, in Niles, Il. On Saturday, I passed on the pacski, but the plum butter is wonderful, as is the spicy sausage.


  2. I agree with everything in this post except for the surname of Jennifer Dorow. She’s no relation to car dealer/failed US Senate candidate Russ Darrow.


  3. We on Milwaukee’s South Side do appreciate the shout out to National Bakery (not bad for a kid from Stallis). When I was a kid, they were still open on Sundays for hot ham/rolls. I concur with all your points once again. Not sure that I agree with or like the strategy of Dems engaging in GOP races. “A Better WI Together” is an odd outfit and ran some of the lousiest TV commercials I have seen in my life during last year’s US Senate race. Wish they put their resources into developing an actual agenda that indep/swing voters along with moderate and leaning conservative, anti Trump Republicans could at least somewhat tolerate if not outright buy into. HINT: That kind of agenda would involve shelving a truckload of the DPW platform and this out of control incorrect premise that: Every single one of life’s shortcomings deserves a government response if not beaucoup taxpayer dollars. This obscures the real work of things like antitrust laws, smarter tax policy, and the disproportionate chunk of public spending that goes to the bureaucracy instead of into people’s hands. Think about how many people whose quality of life has been improved or maintained thanks to Social Security, which has .4% to 1.9% admin overhead. Compare that with child care, housing, TANF or food stamps–which range from 8-16%. Those latter programs should be consolidated with EITC and turned into a basic income program, saving hundreds of millions that could be used to reduce income inequality instead of hiring more govt paperpushers


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: