Secretary of State Doug La Follette

 

Democracy Hanging in the
Balance

Wisconsin narrowly avoided a catastrophic shift in power in 2022 by re-electing Wisconsin Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette. Our video “Democracy Hanging in the Balance” helped push him over the edge and he won by 0.29% of the vote.

The Challenge: Guide a Candidate Used to Sleepy Races Through a Newly Competitive Fight. Doug La Follette had been the elected Wisconsin Secretary of State since 1974. With the La Follette name being legendary in Wisconsin and Secretary of State being a relatively low information office, La Follette hadn’t had to run a serious campaign throughout his time in office. But after the Donald Trump-led voter fraud claims in the 2020 Presidential, the Secretary of State position was suddenly no longer a sleepy down-ballot position that could be won on a famous name alone.

 

Our Solution: Raise the Alarm With Targeted Video Education. Lacking campaign infrastructure, we utilized scarce resources to produce and hyper-target a video message online. This video, “Democracy Hanging in the Balance,” highlighted Wisconsin Republicans’ corrupt and expensive right-wing investigation of the 2020 election results, linked La Follette’s extreme Republican opponent, Amy Loudenbeck, to those investigations, and highlighted La Follette’s goal of ensuring fair elections. This video was a Reed Award Finalist and Regional Pollie Award Winner in 2023.

 

The Result: A Critical Win. This video pushed La Follette just over the line. La Follette beat Loudenbeck by 0.29%, meaning La Follette avoided a recount by just .04%. La Follette retired from the Secretary of State position in early 2023, clearing the way for Democratic Governor Tony Evers to appoint Sarah Godlewski, the Democratic State Treasurer from 2019 – 2022, to succeed La Follette as the new Secretary of State. Godlewski now has the opportunity to build up the name recognition that will be necessary to win re-election in 2026. Had it not been for Doug La Follette’s victory, Loudenbeck and her Republican cronies could have engaged in even worse state-sanctioned partisan electioneering than has already taken place in Wisconsin, potentially altering the state’s non-partisan election apparatus altogether.

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