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May 20 / Elizabeth DiNovella

Who Started Wisconsin’s Civil War?

Richard De Broux runs a courier business in Brown County, Wisconsin. I caught up with him at the GOP state convention on May 12. He was casually dressed in a red polo shirt, and jeans, and had gray hair.

“The other side says Scott Walker started a civil war,” says Richard De Broux of the Brown County Republicans. “I disagree—it was started by the Democrats who fled.”

Brown County is the fourth populous county in Wisconsin. It’s a crucial swing district and one of the reasons the Republicans hosted their state convention there. Being in the shadow of Lambeau Field is another. Green Bay is the county seat.

It’s a pretty conservative district. In 2004, the county went for Bush, but in 2008, Obama won.

Brown County had a big turn out for Scott Walker in the May primary. Walker got more votes than all the Democratic candidates combined (31,953 votes for Walker vs. 24,499 total Democratic votes).

“And that was an unsolicited vote,” De Broux told me. “I think the people of Wisconsin, what I call a ‘silent majority,’ not the people who are out with the vuvuzelas and their intimidation tactics, all those anarchists, basically, that were out there. This was the first time that majority of the people who keep quiet, do their jobs every day, had a chance to express their opinion in the way that they do best. They keep their mouths shut, but when it comes to voting, that’s when they showed their strength. And that was a primary that was meaningless for Scott Walker. A million and a half votes for Walker in the June election would not surprise me at all.”

De Broux said the Brown County GOP didn’t do much organizing before the May primary. “It was assumed that Scott Walker had minimal opposition,” De Broux said, referring to Arthur Kohl-Riggs. “So there wasn’t a big get out the vote drive or anything. Keep the powder dry for June 5th.”

I asked him if he was upset by the recall. “The fourteen who fled upsets me more than anything,” he said.


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