The race is to replace Spencer Black, an environmental crusader who has served for 26 years and decided not to seek reelection. The district includes part of downtown Madison and much of the city’s west side, including the UW campus, as well as Shorewood Hills and part of Middleton. It is largely affluent and liberal.
“There are Republicans out there, but it’s pretty few and far between,” says Hulsey.
Hulsey, a 12-year veteran on the Dane County Board, was the first to declare his candidacy when Black announced his retirement last spring. His early start — and hard work campaigning — helped him defeat four others in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, with 44% of the vote.
Hulsey’s campaign last week released poll results claiming to have about 63% support to Manski’s 13%. Manski says his own poll, done Monday evening, shows him in the “thick of it,” with Manski garnering 29% to Hulsey’s 46%, with 25% undecided.
And Manski says the average respondent was 58, meaning most young voters, where he expects to do best, were not counted. “If I get 60% of the student youth vote, then I win,” he says. “I’d say at this point it’s neck and neck.”
Manski grew up in the 77th District (and recently moved back to it in order to run for office). He’s been politically active since before he could vote, helping to organize a student walkout at West High in 1991 to protest student harassment by police (see “The Kids Are All Right,” 8/23/1991).
A 2005 UW Law school graduate, Manski is now a public interest lawyer and executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation, a progressive democracy group. He’s also been active with the Green Party and says he’s worked with many local legislators to help draft legislation.
Manski recently worked with Black on Assembly Bill 203, which would require the governor to review and approve any deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard, to prevent “unlawful deployments.” Manski says his involvement on the bill prompted him to run for the seat.