The Dairyland Decides: The Pivotal Battleground of American Politics

Charles Cook, Craig Gilbert & Charles Franklin moderated by Gerron Jordan

UW–Milwaukee – UWM Union Wisconsin Room
@ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Doors Open 11:30 am, Program & Luncheon 12:00 pm–2:00 pm

Register Here

Join us for an enlightening discussion and luncheon during the Republican National Convention, featuring an all-star team of political commentators. Delve into the dynamic political landscapes of Wisconsin and across the United States as our experts dissect current trends, predict upcoming shifts, and analyze the impact of recent policy decisions on future elections. This session promises to offer a deep dive into the critical races and key battleground states that could determine the balance of power. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain unique perspectives and valuable insights into the evolving American political scene.


  • Charles Cook, Cook Political Report
  • Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Charles Franklin, Marquette Law School Poll


  • Gerron Jordan, WISN-TV

More about the Panelists

Charlie Cook is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on U.S. elections and political trends. He founded the independent, nonpartisan Cook Political Report in 1984, serving as Editor and Publisher for 37 years, stepping down in 2021 and transitioning ownership and management of the venerable newsletter to Amy Walter. Charlie remains with the renamed Cook Political Report with Amy Walter as a contributor. In addition to lecturing, Charlie continues to write his weekly column for National Journal, while also serving as a political analyst for the publication. He is also a co-author of the 2020 and 2022 editions of The Almanac of American Politics.

Charlie has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and on ABC’s This Week. Over the years, he has served as an Election Night analyst for CBS and CNN. In 2010, Charlie was the co-recipient of the American Political Science Association’s prestigious Carey McWilliams award to honor “a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics.” In 2013, Charlie served as a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Craig Gilbert is a political columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a Lubar Fellow at the Marquette Law School. Gilbert served as the Journal Sentinel’s Washington Bureau Chief for more than 20 years. He has covered every presidential campaign since 1988 and chronicled Wisconsin’s role as the nation’s most enduring electoral battleground.

Gilbert has written extensively about the battle for the swing states of the industrial Midwest, the region’s shifting political map, its increasingly polarized political culture and the deepening urban-rural divide. His work has been recognized by Editor & Publisher, the National Press Foundation, the National Headliner Awards, the Milwaukee Press Club, and the Columbia Journalism Review, which called him the “most political science friendly reporter in America.”

Gilbert was a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan and a writer in residence at the University of Wisconsin. He is a past and current fellow at the Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center, where he works with pollster Charles Franklin, analyzing polling and voting trends. Gilbert previously worked for the Miami Herald, the Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman and was a speechwriter for New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He holds a B.A. in History from Yale University.

Charles Franklin is Professor of Law and Public Policy at Marquette Law School,
where he has directed the Marquette Law School Poll since 2012. The Marquette Law School poll is ranked 3rd of 539 pollsters nationally by the website, and the only poll with a perfect 10 score for transparency in reporting methodology and results.

Franklin was Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin Madison for 22 years before leaving to join the Marquette Law School in 2012. He is past president of the Society for Political Methodology and an elected Fellow of the Society. From 2002 to 2020 he was a member of the ABC News election night Decision Desk. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

Gerron Jordan is an Emmy and Murrow award-winning journalist at WISN-TV in Milwaukee. He anchors 12 News This Morning and 12 News at 11 weekdays, and co-hosts WISN’s politics and public affairs program–UPFRONT–which airs weekly across Wisconsin. He joined the 12 News team in November 2021.

Prior to Milwaukee, Gerron worked as an anchor and reporter in St. Louis, Missouri and at stations in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While working at WVLA-TV in Baton Rouge, Gerron launched the station’s “Candid Conversations” series, reporting on issues like mass incarceration and environmental racism, and its disproportionate impact on communities of color. His reporting on “cancer alley” was honored with a 2021 regional EMMY nomination.

While working at KTVI-TV in St. Louis, Gerron covered the 2016 presidential debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. He extensively covered the search for missing Berkeley woman Monica Sykes and was the first reporter on scene when her remains were found. Gerron traveled to his hometown of Chicago to report on the Cubs’ historic 2016 World Series title. In 2017, Gerron filed exclusive reports live from the scene in New Orleans when a St. Louis resident was hospitalized after a drunk driver plowed through Mardi Gras crowds.