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Dreyfus campaign bus

Lee Dreyfus' campaign bus drew lots of attention as it traveled Wisconsin in the fall of 1978

This State Journal editorial ran on Dec. 13, 1978, a month after Lee Dreyfus was elected Wisconsin’s 40th governor:

Lee Dreyfus used his first appearance as governor-elect before the state Republican Party executive committee to urge establishment of a more open, independent party.

He suggested adopting the name “Independent Republican Party” to encourage the change and to call attention to it.

Others have spoken for broadening the membership and appeal of the Wisconsin GOP, but none has had the unique credentials of Dreyfus.

He was not his party’s endorsed candidate, yet he won the Republican nomination in the primary and handily defeated Democratic Gov. Martin Schreiber in the general election. ...

He wants more than just a new name for the state GOP. He wants a party that welcomes people who believe in these positions:

  • Control of government growth and its intrusion into the life of individuals.
  • Economic growth that will provide more jobs.
  • A broad, open membership policy.
  • Resistance to special interests.
  • A party that is pro-industry and pro-labor in the best sense of providing opportunities for both. ...

The Dreyfus victory is the first major setback for Democratic domination in this decade, but it was isolated. There was no major turn to other Republican candidates as the Democratic Party continued its strong control of the Legislature, congressional delegation and statewide offices.

The GOP needs a new formula. Dreyfus has offered some essential ingredients for one.

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