According to a report by Matthew DeFour of the Wisconsin State Journal, the answer is yes.
Vinehout’s odds of winning the nomination are considered slim, given an expected fundraising disadvantage against Madison School Board member Mary Burke, the only announced Democratic candidate so far. Whoever becomes the Democratic nominee would have to spend money early on but could benefit from the elevated profile.
“If I were Mary Burke, I would be delighted by having this race,” said Mordecai Lee, a UW-Milwaukee political science professor and former Democratic lawmaker. “For her organization it’s an opportunity to learn what works, what field operations are effective, what mailings are effective, which volunteers are effective. It’s almost like a dry run for November.”
What DeFour’s article got wrong is the fact that regardless of whether Sen. Vinehout jumps into the gubernatorial race, there will likely be a Democratic primary, as there are currently at least three Democratic candidates (Burke, Hari Trivedi, and Marcia Mercedes Perkins) who have already declared their candidacy.
However, I do think there is some validity to the argument that a Democratic gubernatorial primary will only serve to make the eventual Democratic nominee stronger and more organized leading up to the general election against Gov. Scott Walker. A primary gives the Democratic candidates an opportunity to fine-tune their ground games as well as their messages, and it will only serve to energize those voters who in many cases have been largely disengaged since Gov. Walker prevailed in the 2012 recall election.