Wisconsin ‘committee’ wagers on elections over fish, beer

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — Former politicians and political experts in western Wisconsin are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to elections.

The group, which touts itself as the Select Committee on Election Predictions, has been meeting for nearly 50 years in the La Crosse area to bet $5 on local, state and national elections, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

The eight-member group includes former La Crosse mayor and state Rep. John Medinger, former state Senate President Brian Rude and University of Wisconsin–La Crosse emeritus political science professor Joe Hem.

Walter Baltz of West Salem is the committee’s last living founder. He said he formed the committee after he grew tired of arguing with people over politics.

“The only way to get people to be honest about it is to put some money on it,” he said.

Members meet before each spring and fall election to place their bets. Medinger said politics might be more civil if people with different viewpoints sat down and talked like the committee.

“With this group, we’re here to be honest, and that’s why sometimes when we go down this list of people running for office, we wind up picking people that we don’t even like at all, but we figure that they’re going to win,” Medinger said.

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