Fifty Three to Fifty Six: Leschke Recaps 54th Assembly Race

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Leschke Recaps 54th Assembly Race

Republicans gathered at the Brooklyn Grill Tuesday to support their 54th Assembly candidate, and even though their hopes were as high as the red, white and blue helium balloons adorning the rustic bar, the optimism deflated as the night turned into morning. Julie Pung Leschke accepted defeat at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. She chose not to give a speech to the 15 supporters left. Instead, she personally spoke to everyone while displaying a strong smile and giving the occasional hug.

Leschke said she needed time to think about what she would do next. She has not decided if she will continue in the world of politics. “I had some notions of what running for state Assembly would be like,” Leschke said. “I think in a lot of respects it was a disappointing experience. here is a lot of truth missing in politics; there is a lot of honesty missing in politics. It’s not a very positive process.”

Even though Gordon Hintz received 72 percent of the campus vote, she believed the students did not have a large effect on the results. “I think (my loss) was part of a huge statewide dissatisfaction with Republicans,” Leschke said.

Leschke said that her opponent focused more of his time on campus, stated untruths to gain the edge and made personal attack ads. She also agreed that the “vote no” campaign for the civil unions ban had a large effect on the campus vote. “I think if you do personal attacks, that is an attack ad,” Leschke said. “If you mischaracterize someone purposefully, paint them to be someone they are not, that’s an attack ad. I think if you are talking about issues, it is a very fair way to compare yourself to a candidate.”

Leschke said she was proud to have run a truthful, positive and personal attack-free ad campaign. She said that was what people wanted because they were so sick of negative campaigning, but that it must have not been as important to them as other things. However, Leschke said if she were to run again, she would keep her same campaign strategy.

Former Republican Rep. Gregg Underheim attended the majority of Leschke’s party, lending his support to someone to whom he became a mentor. “He helped a lot, just with advice, volunteer efforts and support in many, many ways.” Leschke said.

“She worked incredibly hard,” Underheim said. “She ran a clean and honest campaign. She talked about why she was a good candidate and she laid out the case. I am proud to be affiliated with that campaign.”

18th District Sen. Carol Roessler echoed Underheim’s opinion, but added that she thinks Leschke brought new people and a new attitude to the Republican Party in Oshkosh. UW-Oshkosh Faculty Senate President Jim Simmons briefly attended the party as part of his travels to all political events in the area.

by Russell Plummer from the UWO Advance Titan, 11/8

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