A tale of two campaigns, or how the DPW plays favorites

In Wisconsin’s 7th Assembly District, “Democratic” State Rep. Peggy Krusick has a challenger in the form of Scott Dettman, who had been rumored as a challenger to State Rep. Jeff Stone before moving into Krusik’s district. Dettman was last spotted running the failed 2008 campaign of Glen Brower, who tried to unseat Republican State Rep. Mark Honadel in the 21st Assembly District. I don’t know much (actually, anything) about Dettman, as his campaign website is blank, other than a link to his ActBlue fundraising page. Presumably Dettman will run to the left of Rep. Krusick as a progressive candidate, in the same manner that Milwaukee County Supervisor Chris Larson is running to the left of incumbent Democratic State Sen. Jeff Plale in the 7th Senate District.

However, Dettman’s candidacy against a Democratic incumbent is interesting for one important reason: Dettman has received the support of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW), while Chris Larson was told by Democratic Party insiders not to challenge Sen. Plale. I’ve confirmed Dettman’s campaign has received “tacit support of the DPW and the county party,” as well as receiving access to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s “votebuilder” database, and I’ve also confirmed that County Supervisor Larson has not received access to the “votebuilder” database. I tried to get some clarification from the DPW on their involvement with or support of Dettman’s campaign, but I wasn’t able to get a straight answer from anyone within the DPW.

While the Democratic Party of Wisconsin certainly has the right to pick and choose which Democratic candidates it will or won’t support, it’s mind-boggling to me that the DPW would choose to support Scott Dettman in his primary challenge to Rep. Krusick while denying the same measure of support to Chris Larson, who’s unquestionably a more qualified and proven candidate than Dettman, and who it could be argued would be a far more valuable asset to the Democratic Party as the State Senator in the 7th District than Sen. Plale.


Related Articles

7 thoughts on “A tale of two campaigns, or how the DPW plays favorites

  1. The party should provide equal access to voter lists. Unlike the GOP, Wis. Dems do not endorse in primaries.

    Another case: Until July 1, a candidate for LtGov, Henry Sanders, was allowed to rent space in the Dem party’s state office. Maybe it would have done. But it could certainly give the impression that Sanders had the party’s backing, when in fact the state party is neutral.

    As someone who would like to have seen a primary for Dave Obey’s seat, I keep wondering what is wrong with letting the voters decide.

    1. xoff, I keep wondering what’s wrong with letting the voters decide as well.

      As to the Sanders situation, I’ll just say that the party should have handled that differently, so as to avoid the perception that they’re playing favorites. However, I think it’s abundantly clear that the DPW does have their favorites, and Chris Larson clearly isn’t among them.

    2. xoff, sounds like Dems are doing just that — endorsing in primaries, only its behind the scenes by a few part officials, rather than party members at a convention. By the way, this post is about candidates running for state senate and assembly seats and I don’t believe the GOP endorses primaries at that level.

  2. XOff, I agree with you completely on this one. Everyone should be allowed equal access to party resources if they’re running as real Democrats (there’s always the occassional wolf in sheep’s clothing, of course…that’s another story.) On the subject of office space, I remember a time not too long ago when candidates and their campaigns were being begged to locate at the Democratic Party headquarters and other Democratic offices around the state. It seemed like it all came down to cash then, primaries or not. I think your original point probably makes sense there, too. If anyone can rent space, why not keep the money in the family? Doesn’t ruling out primary candidates just send that money to (likely Republican) corporate landlords?

  3. Hmm, well, Peggy is a Republican in Democrat clothing. She’s been there for 25 years and even when she claims that healthcare and senior issues are most important to her, Mt. Carmel has had 7 lawsuits filed over the last year regarding issues such as neglect-in her own backyard. Peggy is out of touch and out of time, maybe a Republican should replace her, but definitely not the wishy-washy actual Libertarian candidate Brad Sponholz-who is now this time running as a Republican. (Why can’t people decide what they believe and run an honest campaign…where’s that lady who ran against Peggy last time?)

  4. As a former county party chairman (Kenosha), I can speak to support the party can provide to candidates. Per the voter database, the ADCC supports Assembly campaigns and the SSDC supports Senate campaigns.

    We had a primary in 2008 for AD66, and the ADCC wouldn’t provide assistance to any primary candidate unless they were unopposed unless they were willing to pay for it, and the price was rather significant. Once the primary is over, however, the access to the voter database is in-kinded (contributed by value) to the candidate from the appropriate campaign committee.

  5. ADCC wouldn’t provide assistance to any primary candidate unless they were unopposed unless they were willing to pay for it, and the price was rather significant.

    Makes me think of an idea I’d love get started but lack the time and political experience right now…create an organization that helps prevent unopposed races. It would be non-partisan in that it would encourage challengers of any party for any race with only one candidate. The idea would be to list all of the races for an upcoming election and highlight the ones with less than two candidates – and provide info on who to call, what the requirements & filing deadlines are for the race.

    The fun thing about it is that I’d imagine a lot of good people of all different points of view would be interesting in helping – something all of us who actually give a damn about representative governance can agree on, is that the more strong candidates we have the better. And regardless of how much you like some one, running unopposed is not a sign of a health democracy.

Comments are closed.