- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Democratic Party convention Friday at times felt more like a roast of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Democratic officeholders made Trump the brunt of jokes, pointed political jabs and the focus of a video highlight reel. U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee, even brought out a Trump bobblehead doll as a prop in her speech where she compared him to villains in Grimm fairy tales.

The focus on Trump at times overshadowed the biggest Wisconsin race this year - the rematch between Russ Feingold and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Feingold blasted Johnson and Trump while also pledging to be bipartisan.

But he and other Democrats also piled on against Trump.

“We cannot allow a person like Donald Trump to be an occupant in the Oval Office for one minute,” said U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, who joked about Trump being married three times.

Trump is a “loose cannon” who “lacks the temperament to hold the most important job in the world,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning at the start of the convention that brought bringing together about 1,000 party activists, officeholders and candidates.

Peter Barca, the Democratic minority leader in the state Assembly, noted U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s endorsement of Trump this week and predicted that all of the state’s top Republicans would soon fall in line and get behind “the Trumpster.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, of Madison, showed comments made by Trump and other Republicans that Pocan dubbed a “collection of intellectual incoherence.” Calling on the crowd to say Trump’s name after listing several of his most controversial policy proposals, Pocan joked that the Democrats had said “Trump” more times than state Republicans did during their entire convention.

Most Republicans did not refer to Trump by name at their convention last month.

“We can’t let Donald Trump and the Trumpettes win this fall,” Pocan said to loud cheers.

Democrats pledged to unite to defeat Trump, even as their own primary fight between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton drags on. Video footage of both Sanders and Clinton on the campaign trail elicited loud cheers from supporters of each, with no audible booing.

“It’s time to turn the page and unite, vote and win in November,” Laning said in a call for unity.

Her Republican counterpart, Brad Courtney, issued a statement branding Feingold and Clinton as “decades-long career politicians championing yesterday’s policies.” He said Feingold was running a “desperate campaign to return to Washington” while Clinton represents the “Washington status quo.”

Feingold also called for unity.

“But we won’t pay our bills with anger and insults,” he said. “Complaining doesn’t create good-paying jobs. Showing up all the time on Fox News doesn’t clean our drinking water. And sitting behind a desk deciding which ethnic or religious group to blame today won’t move Wisconsin or the United States forward.”

Feingold said people in the state are ready to unite and are not “hopelessly divided.”

“I will do the hard work every day to reach across the aisle and get things done,” Feingold promised.

Feingold’s rematch against Johnson is one of the most closely watched races nationally and outside groups on both sides have already spent millions on television ads. Democrats are eyeing the seat as vulnerable in a presidential year, while Johnson argues that Feingold was fired six years ago and doesn’t deserve his job back.

Wisconsin hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984, providing a bump for Democrats in down ticket races.

On Saturday, convention delegates were to debate a resolution that calls for doing away with presidential superdelegates. Those are the party insiders who can vote for whichever candidate they wish, no matter who won the state’s primary.

The resolution is advisory only and even if adopted would not require Wisconsin’s 10 superdelegates to change their votes. Six have said they support Clinton, one is for Sanders and three have not said. Sanders won Wisconsin’s April primary by 13 points.

Feingold has not said whether he voted for Clinton or Sanders in Wisconsin’s primary, but said he’d be happy with either as the nominee. This week he also voiced displeasure with the superdelegate system - a common complaint from Sanders backers - but said any changes should not take effect this year.

Johnson has said he supports Trump, but does not endorse him.

___

Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP and find more of his work at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/scott-bauer


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