Mark Harris declines run for governor

Well, it looks like the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2014 is going to end up being Madison School Board member Mary Burke, as Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris announced earlier this morning that he won’t seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014.

“Entry into the race as an underfunded candidate may not be helpful to bring the policy extremes of the current administration to an end,” he said in a statement emailed to reporters.

While I certainly understand that Harris would have faced some issues raising money given he doesn’t have the deep pockets of Mary Burke, I was intrigued by what I had read and seen of Harris. I think he certainly has a valuable perspective to add to the dialogue as Democrats look to unseat Gov. Scott Walker, and it’s a disappointment he chose not to run.

Harris’ decision gets Mary Burke one step closer to the uncontested Democratic primary that DPW Chair Mike Tate is hoping for.

H/T to Wisconsin Soapbox.


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7 thoughts on “Mark Harris declines run for governor

  1. Absolute bummer. I was looking forward to his platform and ideas for Wisconsin. Why does Mike Tate have all the power to decide over the people of Wisconsin?

    1. Yes, he’s quite the powerful guy – no money, few friends, and a circus of wild-eyed Democrats second-guessing him at every turn insisting they could make a much better job of it but of course, they don’t actually build a strong resume, run, convince other Democrats of their abilities, and dig deep for the courage to lead. No idea why he does it – he could make a lot more money and have a much easier time of it in the private sector. Guess he actually gives a damn about the state or something.

  2. There’s two scenarios that I know of in which Mary Burke could not be the Democratic Party’s nominee for Governor of Wisconsin:

    1) Burke declines to run against Walker (likely not happening, but I wouldn’t put anything past anyone these days)

    2) Burke runs, some obscure candidate files to run against Walker as a Democrat, manages to win over Wisconsin progressives who don’t like Burke, raises enough money to run a statewide campaign (probably about 1/10th of what Burke will raise), and runs a grassroots campaign to defeat Burke in the primary. (also not likely, but, again, I wouldn’t put anything past anyone these days)

    1. Aaron, there’s absolutely no way Mary Burke doesn’t run. She’s got the backing of the Democratic establishment in Wisconsin, and a good amount of money has already been spent to grease the skids for her run.

      As to your second point, the only way I could see someone “coming out of the woodwork” to beat Burke is if that person had some decent name recognition out of the gate but simply hadn’t been thought of as a gubernatorial candidate. Name recognition is the only way someone could beat Burke, and even then it would be an uphill battle.

      1. Zach, I think the strategy Democrats in Wisconsin are using to clear the field for an unknown, not vetted candidate is a mistake. Republicans in fact had a strong primary challenge for Scott Walker in 2010. You are right that a primary candidate would need name recognition to beat the establishment but that is not unprecedented. If a Democrat from the state legislature runs, I can see them gaining a lot of traction.

        Politically Mary Burke is an unknown, running state-wide she is going to meet people outside the Madison bubble. If she wants to ban concealed carry, or supports a similar gun law to the one that passed in Colorado, no way she wins the general election.

  3. Having seen what Harris has done up here, I’m disappointed. But if he with his background and contacts has determined there’s no money to run state-wide, then there’s likely no money. If Kathleen feels differently then we’ll have a primary, I assume. She’ll figure out pretty quickly now if “$5, $10, or whatever you can chip in” donations can even buy enough gas to get around the state to speaking engagements and community events. Walker sure knew what he was doing when he destroyed Democratic funding. Too bad there were so few strong sources remaining – speaks volumes to the evils of narrow messaging to a few protected, traditional groups.

  4. How about Harris for lt. gov.? The Fox Valley and a band of counties across central Wisconsin are where the election will be decided. Maybe Harris can help there.

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