As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Assembly Majority Leader Thomas Nelson, a Democrat from Kaukauna, has filed paperwork to get in the race for lieutenant governor. Nelson’s presence in the race (or rumored presence, as of a few days ago) shook up the race, with Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski announcing he is withdrawing from the race for Lt. Governor, citing Nelson’s” elective office experience.”
Jack Craver of the Isthmus notes the shakeup in the Democratic Lt. Governor’s field may not be done, noting “some Democrats are saying is that very soon Barrett will sit down with any other LG candidates and offer them favors in return for clearing the way for Nelson.” I never viewed Tony Zielinski as having a real shot at winning the Lt. Governor’s race (much like I don’t think Spencer Coggs has any chance of winning the race), so I’m not at all shocked Zielinski decided to withdraw from the race. My money’s on Spencer Coggs as the next candidate to withdraw from the Lt. Governor’s race, while I’m betting Madison area small businessman Henry Sanders will stay in the race until it’s all over. Sanders has been busy raising money and garnering endorsements, with Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris being the latest elected official to endorse Sanders in the race for Lieutenant Governor, so I don’t see Sanders dropping out of the race anytime soon. Reached for comment on Nelson’s entry into the Lt. Governor’s race, the Sanders campaign noted, “It’s no secret that jobs is the number one issue in this election. Voters are looking for more than just talk – they want fresh ideas and real solutions to get Wisconsin families back to work. Henry Sanders is the only candidate who brings hands-on, real world job creation experience and vision to the Democratic ticket.”
While I don’t know a lot about Thomas Nelson, he’s got a reputation for being more than a little ambitious, with at least one Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Marlin Schneider, noting, “Mr. Nelson should step down as soon as the session is completed so that a new majority leader can look out for the interests of the caucus as a whole and not use this position as a fund-raising gimmick at the expense of everyone else.” While Rep. Schneider believes Nelson should step down as Assembly Majority Leader while he seeks higher office, Nelson has indicated he plans to remain as majority leader while he runs for Lt. Governor.