WisDems: still a hot mess!

This is why Wisconsin Democrats just can’t have nice things…

When officials from the state Democratic Party show up for their convention in Green Bay in a couple of weeks, they may have to pay in cash.

That’s because they still haven’t paid the full bill from their 2009 convention at the same hotel.

Records filed earlier this month with the Federal Election Commission show the state Democratic Party still owes $5,807.34 to the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center — Green Bay.

The total bill for the event was just over $15,000, according to federal reports. It appears that the party last made a payment for $7,350 in January 2011 but has coughed up zilch since then.

The fact that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin still has unpaid bills from 6 years ago underscores why I have little to no faith that the party will be able to win back the governor’s office or majorities in the State Senate and Assembly, because a group that can’t do something as simple as pay its bills certainly can’t be counted on to do something more complex, like put together a winning electoral strategy.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin pays $23,000 fine for campaign finance violations

Well isn’t this special….

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has paid a $23,000 fine to federal regulators for campaign finance violations during the recall campaigns of 2011 and 2012.

Those violations include failing to keep required payroll logs in 2011 and 2012 and underreporting its spending in 2011 by about $185,000, according to an agreement between the state party and the Federal Election Commission. It was first reported by the Center for Public Integrity.

The violations occurred around the same time as the historic recall elections involving Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and 13 state legislators.

It’s reports like this that make me glad the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has turned the page on the Mike Tate era.

Chris Abele continues to hire former DPW staffers

As reported by Don Behm of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has hired Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff to serve in a similar role in his office.

Wisconsin Democratic Party spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff will be leaving party headquarters in Madison next month to take a similar job with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Abele’s current spokesman, Nate Holton, is being promoted to deputy chief of staff to better use his policy research experience, Abele said Wednesday.

Holton, an attorney, joined Abele’s staff in March. He previously worked for the Milwaukee Community Justice Council.

Abele said Baldauff will help his administration increase use of digital and social media as part of her communications duties. She starts work in Milwaukee on Sept. 14.

There’s been a lot of speculation that Abele is eyeing up a gubernatorial run in 2018, given that he previously hired former DPW Chair Mike Tate to do some consulting work for him. This latest hire will do nothing to quell that speculation, and given the fact that Abele has ties to DPW Chair Martha Laning (he was a strong supporter of hers when she ran for the State Senate), I fully expect that if Abele does want to run for governor, he’ll be the “chosen one” of the Democratic Party, despite his strongly conservative fiscal policy and what many believe is a very strong anti-union streak.

While activists protest right to work in the Capitol, Mike Tate raises money

I think this blog post sums up why so many progressive activists in Wisconsin are so fed up with Mike Tate and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is in danger of becoming the 25th “right to work” state by early March, with hearings held today, a Senate vote coming later in the week, an expected Assembly vote at the beginning of March, and an assured signature from the governor as soon as possible after that.

It’s possible to convert one of the Republican Senate votes so that it doesn’t pass and one would think that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin would be doing everything they could to make that happen and to educate the public and encourage contact with legislators.

One would think.

Instead, I got the following e-mail today from Mike Tate, chairman of the state party:

“It’s today, Callen.

“The state Senate is set to take up legislation that would make Wisconsin a right-to-work state. They’re attacking our state’s working families. We HAVE to fight back before Scott Walker and his GOP allies succeed.

“But we can’t fight back alone. We need your help. We have to raise $5,200 before COB today if we want to keep the pressure on the GOP to stop them from passing right to work legislation.”

That was followed by several links allowing me to instantly donate money to the cause and then a signature of “Solidarity, Mike”.

Now perhaps Mike Tate pulled himself away from sending out fundraising emails in order to join those activists who were making their voices heard at the State Capitol in opposition to the Republican right to work proposal, but I haven’t seen any mention of it.

Cliche’ Fest

Mike Tate goes out with a dizzying array of cliche’s. He’s going to ” leave it all on the field ” the next DPW chair has to ” move the ball forward ” he’s not going to be a ” shrinking violet ” he’s going to hold Walker’s ” feet to the fire “,  the Chair job has ” a lot of moving parts ” he’s going to see that the DPW continues ” firing on all cylinders ” etc. God almighty, please stop.

But the most dreadful part of the tale is his characterization of the job. It’s like running a multi-million dollar business, Tate says, and the next Chair must see that the DPW is an ” added value ” and ” a service provider. ”  Can you get any more more bloodless with your terms, Mike? Jeeeez.

This must be what happens to your lexicon when you spend all day, every day, begging wealthy people for money.


Mike Tate to step down as WisDems Chair

This isn’t really that surprising.

Mike Tate, the face of the state Democratic Party for the past six years, will step down as party chief at the end of his current term.

“This is not a job you do for a career, but one you have the honor of holding for a short period of time where you try with all your might to do everything you can to grow the party and help elect Democrats,” Tate wrote in an email obtained by the Journal Sentinel.

“Accordingly, today I am announcing that I will not seek another term as chair at our convention in June.”

There should be no shortage of candidates to replace Tate, and while some bloggers have already been quick to start attacking some of the potential candidates, I’m going to reserve judgment until I’ve had an opportunity to hear what the candidates have to say on how they’d do things if elected Chair.

DPW Chair Mike Tate Wants To Hear From You!

From the inbox comes this missive from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s Chairman, Mike Tate:

Thanks for your membership in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and your work on behalf of Democratic candidates this fall. Even though the midterm elections were hard on Democrats in Wisconsin and around the country, we should all be proud of the work we put in. We fought hard and left it all out on the field.

Now that the dust has settled, I wanted to reach out for your feedback. I’m especially interested in hearing from members and activists like you – the backbone of this Party. Through constructive dialogue and analysis, I believe the Party will come out of this election stronger and more organized than ever before.

A committee has been formed to identify what worked well this campaign cycle and what can be improved for future elections. Our 2nd Vice Chair, Jeff Christensen, will head up this committee comprised of members, activists, county party leaders, and congressional district officers.

Jeff and the Election Review Committee would appreciate receiving feedback from as many people as possible. Please click here to complete a feedback form. All submissions will be sent to the committee for analysis.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication.


Mike Tate
Chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin

Although this letter is addressed to a party member, the questionnaire in the links asks if you are a party member or not…so if you have some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism for the party…please feel free to submit your ideas.

Dave Obey: Democrats’ problems more national than local

In an opinion piece published yesterday, former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey shared his view that the problems that led to the lackluster election results here in Wisconsin on November 4th were more a product of poor messaging on the part of the national Democratic Party, and not because of the failures of Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

There is no question that when a political party suffers losses of the magnitude experienced by the Democratic Party on Nov. 4 a serious review of events and operations is required.

But if we are to draw the right lessons from those losses, we first should heed the well-known physician’s warning: “first do no harm.” Such a review must be rooted in pragmatic analysis, not predictable scapegoating.

That is why I have significant concerns about a number of comments I have seen since the election that suggest the culprit is Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

I have no doubt that the mechanics of the state party effort need to be reviewed and analyzed. In fact, Tate will certify that I have been a long-term nag on that score. But it is essential to put things in perspective.

So let me ask several questions:

Does anyone seriously believe that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman has the slightest capacity to overcome the weaknesses of the national Democratic message on the central issue of sagging wages and expanding income disparity? In fact, week after week, the national Democratic Party was knocked off stride as numerous issues — the Islamic State group, immigration, Ebola — pushed the economy, wages and jobs into the back seat. If the White House and national party leadership could not regain focus on those issues, why is that the fault of any state party chair?

Having read the post-election thoughts of Dave Obey, John Nichols, and a host of others, I’ve come to realize that while I’m certainly angry and upset at the results of the 2014 elections here in Wisconsin, my blame of Mike Tate as the main culprit behind the lackluster results of the 2014 elections was misplaced. It’s clear there’s plenty of blame to be shared by Mike Tate, the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee (ADCC), the State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC), and a host of other folks within the political establishment in Wisconsin.