Mary Burke answers questions about why she decided to run for governor

In a really well-written piece in the Isthmus, Judith Davidoff notes the lengths Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke is going to to respond to skeptics who believe her run for governor has been completely orchestrated by Wisconsin’s Democratic Party establishment.

Then Biensdell got down to business. There are grassroots activists around the state, he told Burke, who are “concerned that you’re the latest product of the Democratic Party trying to ordain the candidate.”

“What is your relationship there and response to that kind of populist suspicion?” he asked.

Burke, at the moment the only declared Democratic challenger to Walker, rejected any suggestion of a preemptive move by the party establishment.

“The decision I made to get in this race is solely my own,” she said. “It’s not tied to anybody putting me forward. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Burke said she entered the race after determining that there was a path to victory. She said she conducted polling that showed she could win and spent a couple of months traveling around the state to see how people felt about her as a candidate. Then she made sure she could put together a strong campaign team and raise the necessary money.

“That’s how I became a candidate for governor,” Burke said firmly.

On a related sidenote, I’ll have my own thoughts on Mary Burke early next week, having had a chance to sit and talk with her about her candidacy and some of the criticisms of her thus far.


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11 thoughts on “Mary Burke answers questions about why she decided to run for governor

  1. Zach, thrilled you snagged an interview with Ms. Burke. Looking forward with great interest to reading it.

  2. What doesn’t make sense to me is Ms. Tate doesn’t have any legislative or executive experience and the only elected office she has held is on the school board and somehow she is “qualified” to be Governor. What, she woke up one day and decided to run for Governor. She had to be talking with political leaders before taking that step. Those leaders certainly weren’t Republicans. There is no doubt in my mind the Jim Doyle and Mike Tate are two of the main players that convinced Burke to run. Finally, the only reason she is a “serious” candidate for Governor is because she is a millionaire. If she becomes the Democratic challenger, will I support her? Of course. Can she beat Walker? I doubt it. Are there better Democrats out there? Yes, but they are not millionaires and cannot self finance a primary run. At the same time the Democratic Party abhors all the money spent on elections, they do the same and wonder why nothing changes. Good candidates win elections. Yes, they need money but how much is enough? Unfortunately the Wisconsin Democratic Party believes that the candidate with the most money wins. Period. End of debate. How many elections do we have to loose before they change their thinking?

    1. Ms. Tate?

      Ms. Burke.

      Now that we’ve settled that, are you trying to say that candidates for elected office must have prior elected experience in order to be “qualified” to serve?

      1. Sorry about that! I believe that anyone can be a “representative” but being an executive is another story. Someone who has been around in the legislature and is familiar with state budgets and the whole process in general would be a better qualified candidate. Barca, Erpenbach, Vinehout and many others would fit the bill in my opinion.

  3. Joe Zapecki has been on the DPW payroll since June and has been telling people that he was going to be working on the Burke campaign since around the same time.

    1. Hi Shelly,

      Not sure of the law but I don’t think Joe Zapecki can be both paid DPW staff and Burke’s campaign spokesperson. Maggie Brickerman left her party position to join, “team,” Burke.

  4. I’ll tell you exactly why Mary Burke even contemplated running for governor…she has very little chance of wining re-election to the Madison School Board given that her voting record includes voting against raising teacher pay, etc.

    Also, Mary Burke admitted to being guided by opinion polls and not a core of conviction. Her biggest weakness politically is the fact that, for the most part, she lacks a core of conviction.

    1. FWIW,

      One way to influence both parties is through ballot initiatives. I’m not sure about the process in Wisconsin, but in California, a wealthy conservative claims he’s going to throw his money beyond getting a $10.00 minimum wage on the state ballot.

      I’d like to see it higher, but it’s the kind of thing we could look at here in Wisconsin.

      Instead of financially supporting candidates, another option is to contribute to blogs who share our values and do the hard work of figuring out who is lying the most on a given piece of legislation.

  5. Mary Burke in my opinion could become a winning candidate if she became intense about certain issues. I personally think she needs to bring in a couple people outside the DPW/DC political establishment. The staff she has are good in some ways for raising money and gaining endorsements, but to beat Walker she needs a team of rivals on her staff that can get her traction on a winning dialect. Ultimately though it comes down to her standing up for peoples Rights if she wants to win.

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