Lawton bows out of gubernatorial race…

While I know some Democrats (including yours truly) have been less than enthused about the possibility of Lt. Gov. Barb Lawton being the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2010, but I have to admit that I didn’t think Lawton would bow out of the race completely. In an email to supporters, Lt. Gov. Lawton issued the following statement:

“My good friends. You know better than any my confidence in Wisconsin people, and in our resilience in a time of crisis, and in our capacity to innovate new ways to shape a better future for our state.

“My deep commitment to our state is second only to my commitment to my family. For very personal reasons, I will not pursue the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010.

“I look forward to providing active leadership to shape smart decisions for Wisconsin in the fourteen months that remain in my term in office. I will stand with you, as always.”

What’s most interesting to me is the timing of Lawton’s decision not to run for governor, especially on the heels of at least one report that the White House is putting the full-court press on Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to enter the 2010 gubernatorial race, as well as reports Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel may be considering a run. Could Lawton’s decision to drop out be a prelude to Tom Barrett entering the race?

More on this as it develops…


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18 thoughts on “Lawton bows out of gubernatorial race…

  1. Hi Zach,
    Wow! That is big news. I was at a fundraiser for Tammy Baldwin on Saturday. In attendance were Tom Barrett along with Doyle, Kagen, Feingold and Kathleen Sebelius. There was a pretty high powered group celebrating Baldwin’s 10 years in the House. Barbara Lawton was one of the sponsors, but not in attendance. Seeing Tom Barrett there made me think that he will decide to jump into the race.

    1. Paul, I think they’re clearing the field for someone, and the only someone who I can think they’d clear the field for is Tom Barrett. If he does end up jumping in without credible Democratic opposition, it would seem increasingly likely Democrats would hold on to the governor’s office.

  2. See, I don’t want us to lose Barrett as our mayor. A successful run for governor would mean that we’d have a new mayor… which isn’t bad, in the sense that regularly refreshing leadership can be good. I think he’s doing a good job here, and I want to keep him for our benefit. It’s a selfish view on the city-wide scale.

    1. Jason, there’s no denying that losing Tom Barrett would be a loss for Milwaukee, but think of all the good he could do as governor.

  3. In your opinion Zach, if Barrett doesn’t jump in, eho do you think wouild qualify of all the Wisconsin Democrats?

    1. Well, being qualified and being interested are two different things. I think Rep. Ron Kind would have been a good candidate for the Democrats, and I still think Dick Leinenkugel would be an interesting candidate.

  4. I don’t think Barrett is running people….I think it’s going to be Gov Walker in office in 2010……

    1. I think the road to the governor’s mansion will get much more difficult for Scott Walker if Tom Barrett does jump into the race.

      1. Nothing like stating the obvious there, huh? 🙂

        I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Walker, Neumann, Barrett, Kind or just about anybody else, it my book they’re all a substantial improvement over Doyle. Certainly I have my preferences – but I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy at an incumbent bowing out.

        1. :p

          Locke, though there are a few things Doyle’s done that I’m appreciative of, I’m generally not a huge fan of his, so I’d have to agree that Barrett or Kind would be a substantial improvement over Doyle.

    2. Well I guess we shall see. It’s going to be a close race. I still don’t think the Mayor is going to enter the race, nor do I think he would do a very good job, since he’s a lame duck in Milwaukee.

  5. I am not amused by Lawton leaving. It seems no ‘guy’ thought she could win. Here we finally had a qualified woman to run and she still got shoved out of the way by Doyle.

    Perhaps being Barrett’s old college roomy has a bit to do with the visit to DC by one time congressman Barca this last week.
    I tell ya though, getting money out of Lawton supporters may be tough for another candidate to get.

    1. While her boss certainly wasn’t doing her any favors, I think you’re putting the real blame on the wrong guy. Seems very clear the White House doesn’t think she can win, and very much wants Barrett in the Governor’s mansion. We might as well just let the Prez appoint him & be done with it.

      One thing I find interesting though. Don’t you have to wonder about a guy who has to be pushed to run? Clearly Barrett doesn’t want the job that bad or he’d be out there already. As unelectable as Lawton was, at least she was committed to trying to get the job.

      1. Locke, I don’t know that Barrett doesn’t want the job; I just think he’s trying to make sure a 14 month statewide election is really in the best interests of his family. I can’t really fault a guy for wanting to take some time and not rushing into making a decision that’s going to have a tremendous impact on his family.

        1. I can certainly understand that if that is the case. To some extent, the state of politics & elections being what it is, you almost have to be a sadist or just not care about your family in order to run – because the two major parties no longer seem capable of running elections on the issues and it’s all gotcha’ & negative all the time.

          Back to whether or not he really wants the job though…It’s not like he hasn’t run for office before, considering he’s run for Congress and the Governor before, it shouldn’t be that tough of a call. It’s been a long time since Doyle bowed out (and Kind too) – what’s he waiting for? Though I suppose, it’s not like he’s going to have a hard time raising money so why hurry?

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