Most observers agree that Ron Johnson, who has money and GOP backing, is likely to get the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. But in Dane County, there are signs of support for another candidate: Dave Westlake. (Also running is Stephen Finn, a Milwaukee construction worker.)
Westlake, the more conservative candidate who plays well with the Tea Party crowd, scored an endorsement from an unlikely place - the left-leaning Capital Times, which called Westlake the only candidate "in touch with reality." And he's been a regular guest on radio guy Sly's WTDY show.
UW-Madison professor Charles Franklin, who helped develop Pollster.com, which monitors and compares political polls, says that "because there's absolutely no polling on the primary that's public, we're really just left to conventional wisdom" to figure out who's ahead.
"Westlake has staked his campaign on a belief that by not being a conventional politician and going out and shaking hands he can pull a big upset against the money and clear party endorsement," says Franklin. "To every candidate in second or third place, you have to have that faith."
"But," he adds, "it's very hard to see how he pulls that upset."
David Canon, another UW-Madison political science professor, agrees the money issue is huge, noting that Johnson has about $4 million to Westlake's $100,000. "The only way to get name recognition in a statewide race is through TV ads," Canon says. "And [Westlake] hasn't had any money to get on TV."