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Election Reforms and Final Five: President Closes Busy TBOR Action Week with Keynote Speeches

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

The TBOR Action team completed another lively yet successful week with President John Pudner’s keynote speeches on key election issues across Wisconsin. Following his recent Fox News radio tour across our Republic, traveling from Memphis, to Birmingham, to McAllen, and beyond discussing the White House’s response, or lack thereof, to the recent conflict in Israel, John addressed groups in Ozaukee and Grant Counties on how they could not only affect change in their communities, but also how common-sense reforms, such as targeting faith-based voters and focusing on consensus issues, could also aide in their efforts.

One reform John notes in particular is the implementation of Final Five, a system that was recently voted on and approved by Nevada voters that encourages citizen legislators to rise up and take charge in their communities while also disincentivizing the the need for expensive, dirty, and divisive primaries, benefiting all candidates to, instead, focus solely on the big issues at play, giving them the best chance to win in both the primary and general election, not just one of the two. This is also notable as one such reform currently going through the legislative in Wisconsin, as five legislators - three Republicans and two Democrats - recently introduced legislation to implement this for the state’s Congressional elections.

To listen to John’s address, please click on the image at the top of this post or here to download.

The following transcript from his speech is presented in it’s entirety with minor edits:


vote, Wisconsin, win, ballot, Democrats, conservative, candidates, run, state.


TBOR Action President John Pudner.

John Pudner

I want to thank Stacey for closing with saying we need to take back Wisconsin because Take Back Our Republic Action is the group I run. I realized, while giving the speech in Ozaukee last night, that it was the two-year anniversary of me moving to Wisconsin, moving back up here from down south, and for any guys who don't think you'll ever win an argument with your wife, it took me 36 years after graduating Marquette to convince my wife to move back to Wisconsin for the rest of our lives, so you can win an argument if you're persistent. Stay on message like candidates have to. So, anyway, we got back, but I did shoot back south, and I'm going to touch on three things - the third is most important - the rules we have to play by to win this next election, and I want to touch on a few examples leading up to that first.

Back South With Riley Gaines

I do have to say, before going into that, that last week, I was back south for a day with Riley Gaines doing a big event for us. Does everyone know Riley is, the swimmer? True, true warrior. However, proud papa moment, what I said, and we have this posted on, I had my phone up and I say "Hey, Riley, do you remember the first time I saw you swim as a kid? You were 10. My daughter beat you," so that was my proud papa moment. Now, my daughter says I can't say that because Riley Gaines was 10, and my daughter says she was in the 11-12 group by then, I said, "Honey, if I'd beat LeBron James when he was 10, and I was in the 11-12 group, I'd be telling the whole world about it." Riley did not seem very intimidated, but the best line of that speech was, if you've seen the footage of her being surrounded in San Francisco, and being told you're transphobic and all because you don't want a 6'4 guy swimming against you for a championship, which he tied in, one of the most amazing things you've ever seen, and she had a 6'4 guy running at her in San Francisco while police stood by wind up punching her in the face, and the group around her said they were holding her ransom, and that she had to have money wired to them if she wanted to get free, to which she turns the police standing near, God bless them, I'm sure their hands are tied, and says, "I'm not saying you have to use those guns, but should you be getting me out of this?" "Well, we can't look like we're on either side." She's surrounded! But she did add a little levity, said the only good thing in that whole story is she just found getting punched by guy in a dress just doesn't hurt very much. That's a little aside, but I was back down south last week, but I will say quickly, I came to Wisconsin, and I did love it, I said I was gonna live here the rest of my life, I came here from Marquette I went to journalism school, and I'd watched the championship in seventh grade, just silly things, but anyways, I came up and just loved the state, plus I hate the heat, so I always say you can wear more layers. I said I'd say here forever, but Scott Walker came along as a freshman, and we got Marquette Students for Life up to where over half of every student on Marquette University was in Marquette Students for Life. We really, really accomplished a lot there. We took over the school paper, which for every year in history before and after has been called the Lib Trib, When I say we took it over, if you're old enough to remember Robert Bork, he was the first time the Democrats just did a nasty Supreme Court move to disgrace someone. We had a 9-0 unanimous endorsement for Robert Bork from the Marquette Tribune. Our faculty was beside themselves, but to their credit, back then, they didn't try to shut you up. So that was my experience then, but I finally got a girl to say hi to me, which took about 22 years, and and during the second date, I'm really excited, my now wife of 36 years says, "Now, you are moving back south after you graduate, aren't you?", and I didn't realize, in that moment, that there was no third date if I'd said no. She unfortunately is scared of snow, so that's why it took 36 years to get her back, but it's all been great. The only other time I came up here was in 2012 to help Fitz, who was running for US Senate, old speaker, and he was against Tommy Thompson, who was a new man, so yes, a big consultant, I was paid $4,000 for the four months I came up here to work for him. It was a labor of love. The great thing is that I got to speak at 38 County GOP in Wisconsin in 2012, and the reason I mentioned that, when I came back to Madison, I was being introduced, and Eric Bach, the head of AFP, stopped after my one minute intro and said, "Everyone in this room, I want to warn you, John may sound like he's got a little bit of a southern drawl and talks a little slower. That guy rolled in here, we didn't know how to run conventions, he went out and ran a convention and won it on $20,000." I just love conventions, because you get around the whole state, you get to meet people, so that was the early Wisconsin, but just to give you a couple of highlights that I think lead to lessons and how we need to win elections.

How To Beat $5 Million with 200 Door Knockers

I moved to three different states. In every one we were out of power, we were down two to one, the other side had all the money, which is happening again, and we figured out ways to win, and part of it was campaigning early. Back then, campaigns really did seem to start on Labor Day. I mean, the reason Stacy's speaking here months and months before a primary, almost a year, is we have to do that, we have to be out early, it's just grassroots things you have to do to win. And so, we went through three states and took them from 1/3 Republican to majorities. In Virginia, we went to 70-30 by the timebeing outspent dramatically, and probably the biggest example of a race in Virginia... which was actually after I'd moved south, but I got this guy to run against the Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, this guy Dave Brat. To give you a sense for the grassroots we have to use... I went to Dave Brat, and I recruited him, he was a economist, real sharp guy out of central casting. He and his wife are perfect in front of cameras. Got him to run, and I went to him after the first poll, when we had $20,000, and Eric Cantor at $5 million, which seemed a little unfair, but that's just how it works. I ran the first poll, and I think it looks great. I think we're going to win. He said, "What are the numbers?" I said, "Well, Cantor has 66% and you have 8%." He said, "I know you know this political math, but that doesn't sound very good." I said, "Here's the second question. 72% want a committed conservative who will sound their values, 18% want an insider who can get things done for the area." It was kind of we got the beginning of the Trump grassroots, and we had 200 people knocking on doors, and that's my message. Now, in a little more rural counties, I always say you need people finding the places where you can interact, but you need people doing things, people are more valuable than money. We were outspent $5 million, but we had 200 people knocking on doors, and they were free. These kinds of tactics can work, we can win when we're being outspent.

Faith-Based Voters Outreach

The one other thing I'd say is the churches, we really have to focus on faith-based turnout. We kind of take that for granted. In 2020, the lowest turnout of any group in the US was evangelical Christians. This is after three pro-life judges were appointed. In Bush 2000 I was recruited to do the whole nation's faith-based turnout. We had to go out and get church directories, and I just explained this to Rebecca Kleefisch the other day, It's always been 75% of Catholics who've been to church within a week vote conservative 25%. Faith-based voters tend to be very conservative, but if you don't have an effort to get them to vote, and Chairman Schimming was noting that some people are just trying to make sure they do vote, some are trying to convince to vote your way, but when half of the evangelicals sit at home in a close loss, something was missed. What we did is we just started collecting church directories. We had a room about the size of this room of introverted people, who don't like telephones, typing names into directories, and it was like 150 people just sitting there typing. We typed 6 million Catholics and 8 million kind of conservative churches so we can mail them, and phone them, and call them, and get them out. It was an intense effort. 14 million names typed in won an election that you win by 500 votes in Florida. You never know. The thing you're doing today might be the difference. As Chairman Schimming said, we have more close races here in Wisconsin than anywhere else. I mean, my gosh, 30,000 more votes against Ron Johnson, what would happen if people sat home? So that faith base is really important too, and that's something you can do where you don't need suburbs where you can knock on doors. That's an example of another way to go out and reach people. I actually did see Dick Cheney about few years ago, right before Liz kind of really started fighting with Trump, so this is pre that, but I saw him in an event, and so I mentioned to him, and I'm sure he's used this line for a 1000 People, "Yeah, John, you cut it kind of kind of close in Florida. Couldn't have you tried a little harder down there?" But we actually lost Wisconsin that day, and it was my old campus, they left ballot boxes unguarded all day.

Rigged Election Rules, Non-Partisan Commissions, and Early Voting

I just want to close with talking about, from all these lessons over the years, just seeing these wins and losses too, what do we have to do differently? There are a few things. I'm a numbers guy. Fox News, called me Mr. Moneyball on the air, which was great if you're a nerd like me, but I do want to point out a couple of numbers. They're certainly issues where the base is fired up and we have the swing voters, start right there with guys playing girls sports. It's 25% think that should happen. Our base is fired up, the middle is with us, we're good. That's the same number that always supported partial-birth abortion, but on this issue, it's just an issue with us. We have to hit it. You have people coming over who are concerned about women prisoners, and the fact that transgender guys are in women's prisons. Those aren't our natural voters, but it's winning them over on these kinds of issues, so you have those easy ones, but another number Trump on average is winning by about a point, a couple of others are winning by a few more, so the polls are generally pretty good, but I saw one poll that really intrigued me. Washington Post posted a poll you may have seen a couple weeks ago, it was 51% said they're voting for Trump, again, probably a little high, but 29% think the election was stolen, and I say that because the word stolen loses us the whole middle. I just encourage that you can talk about race rules being rigged, and most people will agree with that. They'll agree that letting people vote in parks before it's legal is a way you're rigging results. That Nevada mailing a ballot to everyone in their state who was on a list. People are with us when we say things are unfair, rules were rigged, but that word stolen kills us with the middle, it just kills us, and plus, if you get into machines flipping votes, our people stop voting, and that's what happened in Georgia. It's not semantics. Please talk about rules being rigged, and the ways we secure it, but that word stolen kills in the middle, and that's how you get from 29% to 51% A couple other rules I'll touch on briefly. The non-partisan voting commission. We have an activist Supreme Court that could throw new districts at us, and give people a week to sign-up in their new district, and the incumbent doesn't really sit in the new district they throw at us. We need to go to the Iowa model just because of what's happening, because of how active the Supreme Court is, and the Democrats are hypocrites for now flipping on it. We did that in Virginia, right for the Democrats took over, and it's a there's a reason Virginia flipped. If the Democrats had gotten hold, they would have redistrict so it didn't work, so the Democrats will play with rules all they want to win. This is when you got to have non-partisan commissions, and early voting, we have to do that. I was with Breitbart for years, Steve Bannon hired me, went to my high school in Virginia, and one thing I said in 2020 is that I understood what President Trump was saying on early voting, but we have elderly in Pennsylvania who've always voted early, who are now telling our people, "No, I don't think the President wants to be voting early." Don't discourage voting early, that all I'm saying, I'm not saying if you do have a plan to vote Election Day, do it, but we just can't be getting to halftime in a football game down 35 to nothing because we told all our people not to vote, so we just have to be open more on early voting.

Final Five Voting

The final thing I'll say is spoilers. The Democrats know how to game the system. When I was in Alabama, I was being asked, "Hey, you lived in Wisconsin. Is Trump going to win Wisconsin", I said, "That all hinges on one thing - whether or not Kanye West is on the ballot or not." Doing the math, that was it. I was doing that math two years out, and it's not that we were having an unfair edge if Kanye got on the ballot, and by the way, if I'd known that was close, I would have come up and gotten 2,000 signatures for Kanye West in Milwaukee to get him on the ballot, but it's because you know who was on the ballot to siphon votes away from Trump? The Constitution Party candidate. The Democrats make sure they get on the ballot and get advertising. The pro-life solidarity Party candidate was on the ballot. The Libertarian was on the ballot, and the Democrats are so sophisticated with their money, that if you're pro-life, they're going to hit you over and over and over and say there's another pro-life alternative. There's this other candidate you can vote for instead of the Republican, and they only need a couple of percent. So, what were the results? This has happened in six states, including that race, Biden, 49%, 48% Trump, and 3%, 38,000 votes, that they managed to pull over to one of these other candidates, and their lawyers get the liberal candidates off the ballot. They also throw liberal candidates off the ballot because get that Joe Biden can't lose votes to a liberal candidate. That's why there is this new proposal, Final Five, and I've to debate that, while some conservatives don't like it, I think it's the only way we get away from killing ourselves in a primary, where we have to kill each other going into August, but it also gives you the option of letting people do an instant runoff, and say, "Okay, who's your second choice? Okay, you got your pro-life out of your system. Now, do you want Trump to appoint pro-life judges or Biden?" So, look at this Final Five one too. Democrats will game the system, they will use a new rule anytime it helps them, and so we are gonna have to be open to thinking about how we go about voting, and re-districting, and Final Five to get out of these spoiler candidates, et cetera.

I appreciate Congressman Van Orden for not interrupting my speech. I certainly was ready to turn over the microphone, but I'll also certainly be around for a while. I know you're about at the end of the program but if anyone has questions have you take them after. Thanks, appreciate it!


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